A look at key takeaways from Saturday night's PBC triple-header on SHOWTIME.
Boxing returned to Brooklyn on Saturday night as PBC on SHOWTIME featured a triple-header in the first boxing card of 2020 at Barclays Center.
Fight fans were hungry for a knockout but far bigger storylines played out in each bout. On the surface, Danny Garcia dominated Ivan Redkach. And Jarrett Hurd was too much for Francisco Santana. Stephen Fulton dismantled Arnold Khegai. But that’s not all that can be gleaned from Saturday night. Here’s what we learned:
A BK-Philly Connection
Philadelphia native Danny Garcia calls Brooklyn his second home. He may want to consider a move. Garcia christened the Barclays Center, headlining its first ever boxing show versus Erik Morales in October 2012. In March 2017, Garcia and Keith Thurman drew 16,533 to the arena, the largest ever attendance for a boxing match at Barclays.
A boisterous crowd of 8,217 were on hand at Barclays Center to show love for the former two-division world champion. He did his best to stop Ivan Redkach (23-5-1, 18 KOs), but the Ukraine southpaw was gritty and resourceful while lasting the distance.
Afterward, Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) again reiterated his desire to face WBA World Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao or unified WBC/IBF Champion Errol Spence Jr. He also mentioned a potential rematch versus former champion Thurman. Thurman won a split decision over Garcia in that 2017 showdown. Should Spence and Pacquiao decide to face each other, a Thurman-Garcia rematch at the Barclays could ignite Brooklyn.
Redkach takes a bite in the Big Apple
Ivan Redkach didn’t come close to defeating Danny Garcia, but he did get close enough to bite him on his neck/left shoulder region toward the end of round nine.
"He bit me. He said 'Mike Tyson' when he bit me," Garcia said. "I said 'Ref, he bit me.' I thought I needed stitches or something. That's my first time ever getting bit in a fight. Things happen though. I've been in a street fight before, so I did it all."
The bite might have thrown Garcia off his game a little as Redkach came on toward the end of the fight. Garcia believes other factors were at play.
"I'm not gonna lie, I felt good, but I didn't feel my best," Garcia said. "I did lose a lot of weight for this fight, so maybe that played a factor [in not getting a knockout] -- from a long layoff, and just losing so much weight.”
.@Swift_JHurd talked about his uppercut being a weapon in this fight and with his massive size advantage, he's able to throw it from any distance. #HurdSantana #PBConShowtime pic.twitter.com/WOrqozvQT2— PBC (@premierboxing) January 26, 2020
A New Jarrett Hurd
Coming off multiple Fight of the Year candidates where he gave as good as he got, Jarrett Hurd recognized that it was time for a change. Hurd parted ways with trainer Ernesto Rodriguez and linked up with US Olympic coach Kay Koroma.
Koroma has spent the past six months tweaking Hurd’s style. Those changes were apparent on Saturday night as Hurd comfortable cruised past Francisco Santana to win a 10-round unanimous decision.
It wasn’t the all-out brawl fans expected—and Hurd is still a work in progress as far as his new style of boxing—but there was plenty to be optimistic about. The former unified super welterweight champion relied heavily on his long jab. In the past, he was often a sitting target as he waded in. Against Santana (25-8-1, 12 KOs), Hurd resembled James Toney at times, rolling and slipping punches in and out of range.
“There was definitely no frustration in there,” said Hurd, now 24-1 (16 KOs). “We didn’t want to go toe to toe and we didn’t want to make this a risky fight.”
A knockdown of Santana late in the 10th shows Hurd can still muscle opponents if needed. If he continues to refine his new style, and blend in his old one, he’s as good a bet as any to emerge as the top man in the stacked 154-pound division.
Stephen Fulton is a Future World Champion
Undefeated super bantamweight Stephen Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) may have stolen this show with his clinical 12-round unanimous decision over Arnold Khegai. The previously unbeaten Khegai proved to be a tough customer, walking Fulton down and unloading in close quarters.
But “Cool Boy Steph” lived up to his moniker, staying calm under pressure and completely disarming Keghai (16-1-1, 10 KOs) with lateral movement, a pinpoint jab and fast combinations up and downstairs.
"I felt great against a tough opponent," said the 25-year-old Fulton. "I stayed on my game plan, kept him off his game and pulled a victory out. I knew he was a rough and tumble customer, so I just had to keep my composure. That's what I do. I use my jab. I tried to utilize the jab all night and win the fight behind the jab. I showed that I'm ready for a world title next.”
For a closer look at Garcia vs Redkach, check out our fight night page.