The soon-to-open Barclays Center snagged the Golden Gloves amateur boxing finals from Madison Square Garden, dealing its world-famous rival in Manhattan a big blow in the budding rivalry between the two high-profile arenas.
The nation’s best young boxers will slug it out at the $1-billion arena on Flatbush and Atlantic avenues next year instead of at the aging but recently-rehabbed Manhattan venue — marking the first time in the contest’s 86-year history that fighters won’t take their corners in the squared circle at Madison Square Garden, officials at Barclays announced on Tuesday.
“We are excited to host such a New York institution,” said Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. “There’s such a rich heritage of boxing in Brooklyn, and we are thrilled to make the sport a major part of our new arena.”
Poaching the celebrated boxing championship from Madison Square Garden is only the latest big coup for the 19,000-seat Barclays Center, which is the centerpiece of developer Bruce Ratner’s contentious Atlantic Yards mega-project.
The future home of the Brooklyn Nets also snatched up:
• The Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, a popular college basketball tournament that’s been played at Madison Square Garden since 1998.
• A concert by opera star Andrea Bocelli, who spurned the city for the Barclays Center.
• The New York Masters, the area’s first horse-jumping contest since the National Horse Show left MSG in 2000.
The Barclays Center will host other top-notch basketball tourneys including the Atlantic 10’s conference championship and the Legends Classic, pulling them away from regional arenas like the Prudential Center, Izod Center, and Boardwalk Hall, all in New Jersey.
Pugilists, equestrians, and basketball fans crowed that the Barclays Center is already outshining its competition, though it has yet to open.
“MSG still considers itself the mecca of boxing but the Barclays Center could light a fire under the Garden,” said Bruce Silverglade, the owner of Gleason’s Gym, the legendary DUMBO workout space. “It’s going to be terrific for Brooklyn.”
Rap mogul Jay-Z will christen the Barclays Center with concerts starting on Sept. 28. In addition to music and pro hoops, the arena will also host the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, Disney on Ice, a pre-season hockey game between the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils, and a college basketball match-up between Maryland and reigning champs Kentucky.
The Nets will begin regular-season play at the Barclays Center in November.