It's a fight that almost didn't happen or probably should've taken place several years ago.
We're talking about the Paulie Malignaggi-Zab Judah scrap at Barclays Center Saturday night.
When they were growing up, Malignaggi and Judah, two Brooklyn-born boxers, had dreams of representing their hometowns on a big stage. Both have done it on many occasions, but never in their own backyard. And it might not have happened if not for the emergence of Barclays Center.
The opportunity for hometown bragging rights presented itself Saturday night and Malignaggi grabbed it, scoring a 116-111, 117-110, 117-110 win over Judah in front of a crowd of 9,363.
Judah scored a second-round flash knockdown, but that didn't deter Malignaggi, who was much more active working from the outside. Malignaggi controlled Judah with the jab, outlanding him 122-67. Malignaggi also landed more power shots (98-54).
"It was an emotional win for me. It definitely allows me to continue boxing,'' Malignaggi said. "With a loss, I don't know if I would've wanted to continue.''
Both boxers gave kudos to Barclays Center for making the bout possible. "Before this arena, I didn't think I'd fight Zab,'' Malignaggi said. "But I also didn't think this arena would be here. But life throws you a lot of surprises.''
Judah said being able to display his skills for a hometown audience so close to his home represents "another chapter'' in his life. "I know that this is a special opportunity for me. It's the opportunity to crown yourself the king of your city,'' Judah said.
The birth of Barclays Center also has allowed both fighters to extend their careers. Judah's last fight was a loss to Danny Garcia at Barclays Center. In his last bout, Malignaggi fell to Adrien Broner in a split decision.
"My last fight was a setback to Garcia, but I still signed to fight here against Paulie,'' Judah said. "Who does that? Who gets a big fight right after a loss?''
Brooklyn rulesThe night started out perfectly for local fans as Brooklyn boxers were victorious in the first two bouts on the Showtime card.
Juan Dominguez improved to 16-0 with a unanimous-decision win (78-74, 79-73, 79-73) over Camilo Perez (9-2) in a featherweight bout. Welterweight Sadam Ali (18-0) was victorious over Jesus Selig (12-2-1) with a sixth-round stoppage.
Staten Island light heavyweight Marcus Browne (8-0), a 2012 Olympian, scored a first-round knockout of Kevin Engel (20-9). Sakio Bika (32-5-3) retained his WBC super middleweight title after battling Andre Dirrell (26-0-1) to a split-decision draw (114-112, 116-110, 113-113). Super welterweight Julian Williams (14-0-1) scored a third-round TKO over Orlando Lora (29-5-2).
Shawn Porter (23-0-1) topped Devon Alexander, 115-113, 116-112, 116-112, and became the new IBF welterweight champion. Alexander is 25-2.
Trout loses decisionWhen Austin Trout agreed to fight Erislandy Lara at Barclays Center, he knew having a chance to regain the WBA junior middleweight title wasn't going to be the only thing on his mind.
Trout, a native of El Paso, Texas, who resides in Las Cruces, N.M., has a strong connection to Brooklyn. His mother, MJ Johnson, and his late grandmother, Wilhelmina Johnson, grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Sheepshead Bay High School.
Unfortunately for Trout (26-2), his Brooklyn connections couldn't carry him to victory. Lara (19-1-2) used his quickness and a solid jab game to score a 118-109, 117-110, 117-110 win.
Said Trout, "My preparation was fine. He was just a really slippery fighter. I had trouble getting my shots off . . . I'm coming right back. Who can say they fought high-caliber fighters like Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez and Lara back-to-back-to-back? . . . His style is tricky, but I don't sign up for easy fights.''