All eyes in the boxing world will be on Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia Saturday night when they face each other in a highly-anticipated welterweight championship showdown. The fight at Barclays Center, which airs in prime time on CBS, may be the most compelling matchup of the year.
In what is becoming a trend, the arena is hosting another high-profile bout that solidifies its position as one of the East Coast’s premier boxing locales. Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, has made a committment to staging big money fights outside of Las Vegas.
“He’s very passionate about the sport and thinks there’s a lot of opportunity and growing interest in the market place,” said Mandy Gutmann, senior director of communications for BSE. “And beyond loving attending the fights himself, he really enjoys the audience and sees the passion and thinks it’s a perfect fit for the venues we operate.”
Saturday’s card may be the arena’s biggest yet. Ticket sales are threatening to surpass last month’s UFC 208 as the arena’s highest grossing non-Nets event, according to Gutmann. That event generated a total gate of $2.28 million, according to UFC officials.
Garcia will be making his sixth appearance at Barclays, while Thurman has competed there twice before.
Barclays also acts as a hub for local talent. Brooklynites like Daniel Jacobs, Peter Quillin and Heather Hardy have used the arena to propel themselves to new levels of popularity.
“We’ve had some fighters that have really built their careers in our ring,” Gutmann said, “and we take a lot of pride in that.”
Since opening its doors in 2012, Barclays Center has been the sight of a number of acclaimed fights. Last year, the arena hosted two fights widely considered Fight of the Year candidates, one of which included Thurman as he battled Shawn Porter to a thrilling decision victory in June.