Barclays Center will be part of boxing’s return to the airwaves with a nationally televised bout in April in an event with an undercard packed with local fighters.
The home of the Brooklyn Nets will be the venue for an installment of “Premier Boxing Champions” on NBC — one of the first boxing events the network has broadcast in 30 years, the arena announced at Junior’s Restaurant on Feb. 23.
The card will feature undefeated Danny Garcia facing Lamont Petterson, and middleweight world champion “Irish” Andy Lee will take on the unbeaten Peter Quillin. The broadcast will be called by Marv Albert, Sugar Ray Leonard and Al Michaels. It is a big showcase for boxing at Barclays Center.
“Going on network TV it enables the sport to grow up a little bit,” said Brett Yormark, the chief executive officer of Barclays Center. “It enables the sport to have a better promotional platform and bring in the casual fan.”
The non-televised undercard will feature a heavy presence of Brooklyn fighters, highlighted by World Boxing Association middleweight champion Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs in his first fight since winning the belt.
The Brownsville brawler, who will fight Minnesota’s Caleb Truax at the Barclays event, said developing a national television audience is critical to building the appeal of boxing and making its champions household names, especially with the added attention to the sport following the announcement of Floyd Mayweather taking on Manny Pacquiao.
“You look at basketball. You look at the NFL. You know them, even the people on the bench,” Jacobs said. “They know the whole team. In boxing, you don’t even know the world champions. You are giving people the opportunity to know some of the guys from the start to the finish of their careers.”
Also fighting on the undercard will be Heather “The Heat” Hardy of Gerritsen Beach, Sunset Park fighter Gabriel Bracero, and Staten Island’s Marcus Browne. Their opponents are still to be determined. This is Bracero’s first time fighting at Barclays Center.
The undefeated Hardy fought in the first women’s bout there in June 2014, and is proud to be part of an undercard filled with locals.
“I worked so hard for that fight to sell tickets, did a lot of press and promotion, hoping to get back,” Hardy said. “To have all that recognized and be invited back is huge. It’s such a big Brooklyn undercard too.”
For Barclays Center, this event is exactly what was envisioned when it committed to promoting boxing and local fighters.
“In addition to growing and nurturing so many of the careers of the local fighters, we also want fights that have national significance,” Yormark said. “Garcia and Lamont Peterson, that’s kind of the nice filter for national exposure with other fights that have a lot of Brooklyn flavor to them.”
“Premier Boxing Champions” airs on NBC on April 11, 8:30 pm.