Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter set to Battle in the Barclays Center

Championship boxing returns to New York on Saturday with a slew of key fights that will shape divisions.

Updated: Sept. 6, 2018 • 1:30 PM ET

New York's Barclays Center will host championship boxing on Saturday.

Championship boxing will invade the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Saturday, as Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter will square off for the vacant WBC welterweight title. Both are former champions with undeniable resumes and an ultimate desire to reach the top of a loaded welterweight division.

Garcia is 34-1 with 20 knockouts and coming off a ninth-round TKO of Brandon Rios is February. His lone loss came to champion Keith Thurman in March 2017, and Garcia will hold the speed and accuracy advantage over Porter. Yet, he’ll have his hands full, as Porter is a tough guy who is more than willing to exchange blows. Garcia, though, is aware and not worried.

“I’m coming to fight,” Garcia said at the fight’s introductory press conference in July. “I’m stronger than him. I got bigger punching power than him. I’m faster than him. I’m a better all-around fighter than him.”

Garcia will be in his ninth title fight on Saturday, holding a 7-1 record in those previous bouts. The 30-year-old Philadelphian had five successful title defenses at 140 pounds, but none at 147. He has defeated key fighters such as Rios, Robert Guerrero, Paul Malignaggi, Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse, Zab Judah and Erik Morales (twice).

Porter has rebounded well since his unanimous decision loss to Thurman in 2016 with a TKO of Andre Berto and a unanimous decision victory over Adrian Granados in November. Porter will enter his fifth title fight on Saturday (2-2 previously) and is the former IBF champion, having defended the title once. He has collected key wins over prominent fighters, including Adrien Broner, Malignaggi, Devon Alexander and Julio Diaz.

Garcia represents the win that could send Porter into a championship realm, leading to ultimate opportunities against the division’s best, such as a rematch with Thurman or fights with Errol Spence Jr. and Terrence Crawford. But he must get by Garcia first, which as most of his opponents have discovered is no easy task.

Porter, however, feels he is well-prepared for the fight.

“That belt, that’s all I want,” Porter said. “I want the WBC title. I’ve said for a long time, it didn’t matter who I had to go through to get it. I really wanted it.

“It puts more icing on the cake that is happens to be this gentleman (Garcia) right here next to me, because him being one of the top fighters in my division for a long time now, to be able to win this belt against someone like this guy, it just kind of solidifies me and what I’ve been trying to do for a very long time, and the sky’s the limit.”



Co-main event

Saturday’s co-main event will be a welterweight title-eliminator between Yordenis Ugas and Cesar Barrionuevo. The winner of Ugas vs. Barrionuevo will earn the WBC's second mandatory position to the winner of Garcia vs. Porter.

Ugas is 22-3 with 11 knockouts and has won seven straight after consecutive losses in 2014. He most recently defeated Jonathan Batista by TKO in June and from August 2016 to August 2017, the Cuban boxer won five fights that made him one of the busiest fighters in the sport.

"I'm very excited to be part of such a great card,'' Ugas recently said via ESPN. "This is a huge opportunity to put myself in position to fight the best fighters in the welterweight division, and that's my goal. I don't know much about my opponent, but he is a power-punching Argentine, and I have to be 100 percent ready come Sept. 8.

“This will be my second appearance on 'Showtime Championship Boxing' and I look forward to making another huge statement. I'm going to close the show in New York like my friend, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman."

Barrionuevo (34-3-2, 24 KOs) has won 10 straight fights since losing in 2013 to Ramon de la Cruz Sena. The Argentinian is wildly popular in his home country, and this will be his first time fighting in the United States.

"I am proud to be fighting in the United States, and fighting on Showtime is a dream come true,'' Barrionuevo said. "Argentine boxing has a long history of great champions, from Carlos Monzon to Sergio Martinez and most recently Marcos Maidana. I am looking to become one of those great Argentine fighters of this era and it starts on Sept. 8. I bring the power and the heart of my country with me and expect all the Argentine flags to be out at Barclays Center."

Ugas represents the biggest challenge of Barrionuevo’s career, and a victory could open him up to a title shot.


Heavyweight showdown

The main card will also feature a heavyweight bout, as undefeated Adam Kownacki will take on former IBF champion Charles Martin.

The Polish-born Kownacki is 17-0 and a quick-rising contender in need of a marquee win, which is what Martin would represent. Kownacki has finished his last four fights, most recently defeating Iago Kiladze by sixth-round knockout in January. Fourteen of Kownacki’s 17 wins have come by KO, and the 29-year-old who fights out of Brooklyn will enjoy a taste of the hometown advantage at Barclays Center on Saturday.

Martin is 25-1-1 with 23 knockouts and has rebounded well since losing the IBF belt to Anthony Joshua in 2016. He has won two straight by TKO over Byron Polley and Michael Marrone, respectively. The southpaw St. Louis native is looking for another chance at a belt, and it all starts with handing a surging contender like Kownacki the first loss of his career.

• The main card can be seen on Showtime at 9 p.m. this Saturday.

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