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MSG salutes boxing this week

Here's a release from MSG

New York City and Madison Square Garden have been the epicenter of boxing for generations as many of today’s legends made their way to the Big Apple to go fist-to-fist with the very best in the sport. MSG Network will dedicate a week of programming to boxing from Sunday, May 8 to Sunday May 15, including a MSG original documentary, matches between the NYPD and FDNY, top fights from “Ireland’s John Duddy,” classic professional bouts from The Garden, and the “2011 Golden Gloves Finals,” a six-part series featuring the best amateur boxers in New York.

MSG Network will ring the bell on boxing week with the original documentary “The Mecca of Boxing” on Sunday, May 8 at 5:00 p.m. The film looks back at the countless heavyweight championships, world title bouts and epic boxing matches held at Madison Square Garden since the late 1800s. The film features esteemed boxing historians, journalists, fighters and referees as they weigh in with memories from the best fights, as well as Joe Frazier as he reminisces about his famous battle with Muhammad Ali on March 8th, 1971 at MSG.

Throughout the week, amateur boxing in New York City takes center stage with six all-new episodes of the “2011 Golden Gloves Finals,” starting with a tribute to Mother’s Day with an all-female card on Sunday, May 8. The series features a number of bouts with fighters looking for wins to propel them to 2012 Olympic qualifications.

Boxing week will also feature “Battle of the Badges” where boxers from the NYPD and FDNY, in eight different weight classes, step into the famed Madison Square Garden boxing ring to fight not only for New York City bragging rights, but also to help raise money for many deserving charities. The “Battle of the Badges” rivalry between the two departments dates back to 1982.

MSG Network will also telecast the eight-part series “Fight Night Classics,” which examines the storied boxing history of The Garden and includes footage from classic boxing matches from the 1930s through the 1980s. In addition, the network will show some of the top fights from “Ireland’s John Duddy,” including bouts with Yori Boy Campas and Anthony Bonsante.

Below is a schedule for the week of boxing programming:

MONDAY, MAY 9

6:00 p.m. - “Battle of the Badges: Part 1”

7:00 p.m. - “Fight Night Classics: Episode 2” George Foreman vs. Gregorio Peralta, February 16, 1970 – Foreman was undefeated going into this fight with Gregorio Peralta, a former amateur champion in South America, and with Muhammad Ali on the sidelines, the boxing crown was up in the air.

George Foreman vs. Luis Pires, October 29, 1971 – A fight between two participants whose careers were headed in different directions; Foreman was undefeated, with the bulk of his victories coming by knockouts, and Pires had seven losses, including two in his previous five fights. It didn’t take long for Foreman to show he was the better fighter; although he was never knocked to the canvas, Pires did not come out for the fifth round, giving Foreman a TKO over his Brazilian opponent.

8:00 p.m. - “MSG Fight Night In 60: John Duddy vs. Yori Boy Campas”

9:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 2: Returning champs and close friends Louis Cruz and Marcos Suarez duke it out in the 132-pound open division. The fan-favorite super heavyweight division features NYC club bouncer Elijah Thomas, last year’s novice champion.

TUESDAY, MAY 10

6:00 p.m. - “Battle of the Badges: Part 2”

7:00 p.m. - “Fight Night Classics: Episode 3” Rocky Marciano vs. Rex Layne, July 12, 1951 and Joe Louis vs. Rocky Marciano, October 26, 1951 – Although he was an undefeated 35-0 going into this bout against Rex Layne at the Garden, Rocky Marciano was considered the underdog. These fights illustrate the youth and power Marciano possessed in his prime and why he is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time.

Joe Louis vs. Rocky Marciano, October 26, 1951 – Two-and-a-half years before this fight against Rocky Marciano, longtime heavyweight champion Joe Louis had announced his retirement. But, financial concerns made this retirement short-lived and he decided to climb back into the ring. He lost the first bout of his comeback, but then scored eight-consecutive victories. Marciano’s youth and power wore out the former champ and in the tenth round a hard right to the jaw knocked Louis through the ropes. Marciano remained undefeated and Louis never fought again.

8:00 p.m. - “MSG Fight Night In 60: John Duddy vs. Anthony Bonsante”

9:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 3: Junior Olympics runner-up Jaime Estrada, who just turned 17, makes his Golden Gloves debut in the 123-pound open division. Also on the card, an under-20 battle between Cristino Cebello (17) and Patrick Day (19) in the 141-pound open division.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11

6:00 p.m. - “Battle of the Badges: Part 3”

7:00 p.m. - “Fight Night Classics: Episode 4” Roberto Duran vs. Ken Buchanan, June 26, 1972 – “Hands of Stone” Roberto Duran wins his first world title against the Scotsman Ken Buchanan.

8:00 p.m. - “MSG Fight Night In 60: John Duddy vs. Dupre Strickland”

9:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 4: Twenty year-old Marcus Brown, a two-time Golden Gloves champion, PAL national champion and 2012 Olympic trials qualifier, takes on DeVaun Lee in the 178-pound open division.

THURSDAY, MAY 12

6:00 p.m. - “Battle of the Badges: Part 1”

7:00 p.m. - “Fight Night Classics: Episode 5” Floyd Patterson vs. George Chuvalo, February 1, 1965 – Dubbed the 1965 “Fight of the Year” by Ring Magazine, both fighters wanted to prove they were contenders for the heavyweight crown – and to prove it, the two men battled each other for 12 punishing rounds. Newly-crowned World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali served as Don Dunphy’s ringside analyst on television.

8:00 p.m. - “MSG Fight Night In 60: John Duddy vs. Alessio Furlan”

9:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 5: The battle of 2009 Golden Gloves novice champions as NYPD officer and two-tour Iraq veteran Mark Sinatra encounters Queens youth counselor Joseph Williams Jr. in the heavyweight open division. The card also features Herve Duroseau, a six-time Golden Gloves competitor who had never made it to the finals, in the 165-pound open division.

FRIDAY, MAY 13

6:00 p.m. - “Battle of the Badges: Part 2”

7:00 p.m. - “Fight Night Classics: Episode 6” Rubin Carter vs. George Benton, May 25, 1963 – Known in his boxing days as the “new” Sonny Liston, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter had an intimidating stare that, to his opponents, made his 5’8” heavily-muscled frame seem much larger.

8:00 p.m. - “MSG Fight Night In 60: John Duddy vs. Prince Aaron”

9:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 6: An all-female card featuring two-time Golden Gloves champion and Long Island nanny Christina Jensen versus 2009 Golden Gloves champion and stuntwoman Jennifer Egan.

SATURDAY, MAY 14

4:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 6

5:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 5

6:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 4

7:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 3

8:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 2

9:00 p.m. - “2011 Golden Gloves Finals” – Episode 1

SUNDAY, MAY 15

4:00 p.m. - “Fight Night Classics: Episode 7” Emile Griffith vs. Nino Benvenuti, April 17, 1967 – This middleweight title bout was named the 1967 Ring Magazine “Fight of the Year” – and for good reason. The epic battle was the third defense of Griffith’s title and Benvenuti was a hard-hitting Italian that only had one loss to 56 wins.

5:00 p.m. - “Fight Night Classics: Episode 8” Hector Camacho vs. Jose Figueroa, July 24, 1981 and Hector Camacho vs. Anthony Murray, November 5, 1981 –These two fights at the Felt Forum were significant in Camacho’s career – he was establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the boxing world.

Hector Camacho vs. Rafael Lopez, March 31, 1982 and Hector Camacho vs. Refugio Rojas, May 21, 1982 – Two more fights at the Felt Forum for the still-undefeated Camacho – the first against a formidable opponent, the 16-1 Rafael Lopez, and the second against super featherweight Rojas for the title.

Here's a 30-second clip of what MSG will show.

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