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Garcia stops Morales in 4th round to keep lightweight titles

NEW YORK -- American Danny Garcia stopped Mexico's Erik Morales at 1:23 of the fourth round on Saturday to retain his WBC and WBA super lightweight belt in the first boxing event at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Garcia (25-0) beat Morales for the second time this year, though this one was much easier than the unanimous decision he won from the 36-year-old in Houston on March 24. After a quiet opening two rounds, Garcia began getting the best of Morales with a series of body blows in the third.

Garcia continued firing blows at Morales in the fourth and ended it quickly it for this 16th career knockout. He hit Morales on the right side of the head with a sharp left hook, and climbed the ropes in triumph while awaiting the official announcement.

The 24-year-old Philadelphia native had his second fourth-round knockout in three months. On July 14, he stopped Amir Khan in his first title defense.

Morales (52-9) failed two random tests this month because of the diet supplement clenbuterol. He blamed the results on tainted meat, then passed a third test this week and remained on the card.

Morales, who has held the super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight and junior welterweight titles, was fighting for the first time on the East Coast and lost for third time in his past four fights.

The fight marked the return of championship boxing to Brooklyn for the first time in more than 80 years and the card had a Brooklyn feel to it. Leading into the main event was an undercard featuring Brooklyn natives Paulie Malignaggi and Peter Quillan, who each won their fights.

According to Showtime boxing analyst and historian Steve Farhood, these were the first title fights in Brooklyn since Aug. 5, 1931, at Ebbets Field when light-heavyweight champion Maxie Rosenbloom retained his title with a 15-round decision over Jimmy Slattery.

Brooklyn natives Mike Tyson and Zab Judah were in attendance.

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Danny Garcia, right, punches Mexico's Erik Morales during their WBC and WBA super lightweight title bout at the Barclays Center, New York, Saturday, Oct. 20. Garcia knocked out Morales in the fourth round. (AP)

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