BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Tempers flared at the weighin ceremonies Friday afternoon after enraged RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia got in the face of living legend Erik “El Terrible” Morales at the scales, exclaiming multiple times “You’re a f___ing cheater, I’ma f___ you up,” before being restrained by Golden Boy Promotions executive Bernard Hopkins.
The 24-year-old Garcia (24-0, 15 knockouts) was likely upset due to reports that surfaced yesterday evening that the 36-year-old Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) had failed a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) pre-fight screening, with his “A” sample testing positive for clenbuterol, a decongestant agent sometimes used to lose weight.
Both made weight, with the Philadelphia-bred Garcia checking in at 139.8 pounds, while a nude Morales, of Tijuana, Mexico, came in at 139.2 pounds, for the main event of the inaugural boxing event at Barclays Center on Saturday, which will be televised by Showtime. Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar de la Hoya could be seen clenching his chest as Morales’ weight was announcing, then subsequently breathing a sigh of relief.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said that Garcia-Morales was the only fight on the card that was subject to USADA testing, adding that it was the prerogative of the fighters to request testing beyond what the New York commission offered. Schaefer said that Morales submitted the sample on Oct. 3, but the results weren’t made available to the promoter until late Tuesday evening. On Wednesday morning, the teams and commission were notified.
Schaefer is still confident that the fight will go through.
“That’s the way it looks like,” said Schaefer, who said it would be up to the New York Athletic Commission.
Angel Garcia, the father and trainer of Garcia, who had unleashed a verbal tirade on the Morales team at yesterday’s press conference, told THE RING that if Morales’ “B” sample (which is expected to come in tonight) tests positive, the fight is off. “It’s not about money, it’s about rules,” said Garcia.
Schaefer refused to discuss alternatives should Morales not be allowed to fight.
“I really don’t want to speculate, it doesn’t do any good. Let’s see what happens. I’m very happy that USADA is leading the process, they are the gold standard in that and I’m going to let them do their job.”
Schaefer said that he was told by a USADA rep that the levels of Morales’ sample “looks consistent with food contamination.”
Meanwhile, the co-featured bout pitting WBA welterweight titleholder Paul Malignaggi and Pablo Cesar Cano also encountered speed bumps as Cano stepped on the scales at 148.4, a pound and a half over the weight limit.
Cano (25-1-1, 19 KOs), of Atizapan de Zaragoza, México, was given an hour to return to make the weight, but didn’t shed any poundage an hour later.
Malignaggi’s trainer Eric Brown said the fight will continue as a non-title bout and Cano will be fined, but added that they are still working on a weight agreement for a morning-of-the-fight weighin.
Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KOs), from nearby in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, weighed in 146.2 pounds. The former junior welterweight titleholder won this second world title earlier this year.
There were no similar issues with the weighins of the two other televised title bouts. Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (159.2), of New York, and Hassan N’Dam (159), of Pantin, France, both came in on weight for their vacant WBO middleweight title fight, while IBF welterweight titleholder Randall Bailey of came in at 147 pounds and former junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander came in at 146.8.
The Bailey-Alexander fight was scheduled to take place on Sept. 8 but was postponed due to an injury to Bailey’s back. Alexander’s record is 23-1 (13 KOs), with his only loss coming to Tim Bradley, while the two-division titleholder Bailey is 43-7 (37 KOs). Quillin (27-0, 20 KOs) and N’Dam (27-0, 17 KOs) are both fighting in their first world title bouts.
In what might be the “feel good” story of the night, former world title challenger Danny Jacobs (22-1, 19 KOs), of Brooklyn, weighed in at 161.2 pounds to Josh Luteran’s 161.8. Jacobs, who is fighting for the first time since last March, is coming back from a battle with cancer.
Former welterweight titleholder Luis Collazo (31-5, 16 KOs) weighed in at 146.8, the same as his opponent Steven Upsher (24-1-1, 6 KOs).
Former world title challenger Dmitriy Salita (34-1-1, 18 KOs) also had issues on the scale, weighing in at 150 while his opponent Brandon Haskins (16-2-1, 8 KOs) came in at 147.2.
The four title fights will all be televised on Showtime Championship Boxing, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.