Alan Dawson – London
In a contest more competitive than the judges’ scorecards may suggest, unbeaten Philadelphian boxer Danny Garcia extended his undefeated streak and added a guaranteed future hall-of-famer to his resume as Mexican great Erik Morales was knocked down then out-pointed at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas on Saturday, March 24. Morales failed to cope when Garcia changed gears, giving credence to the notion that Morales’ battling performance against Marcos Maidana last year was the exception, rather than the rule of his comeback in the sport.
Official verdict: Garcia wins unanimous decision (117-110, 116-112, 118-109).
Danny Garcia was thrust into his first world title challenge and was given a stiff welcome to Texas as Morales thudded an overhand right into his jaw. Garcia may have been wayward with his jab, but midway through the fight he attached second and third punches onto the lead shot and began to land. The opener, though, seemed typified by Morales’ precision, craft, patience, ability to parry and occupation of the centre of the ring.
Morales jabbed to the body in round two, controlled the pace of the fight while Garcia paid the price for allowing Morales to fight his type of fight. In the stanza’s final minute, Morales impressively landed a succession of three straight uppercuts direct onto Garcia’s chin. One. Two. Three… before stepping back and watching Garcia engage in an act of bravado.
Any hint Garcia had been hindered by intimidation in the first two rounds was taken away in round three. Having taken heed of his father/trainer Angel Garcia’s advice: that Morales was just another opponent, not a ring legend, Garcia upped the tempo of the bout and forced Morales to absorb a multitude of right hands. In the fourth, he landed with the left hooks, however, the advantage he had in the third – landing bursts of punches – was not apparent in the next as he reverted back to firing single shots, which thus allowed Morales to regain the status of the aggressor.
If Garcia relinquished the ten score in round five, he beat his way to it in the sixth, backing Morales up, sticking the right hand onto him but Morales refused to bow out of the stanza and fought in kind, slugging toe-to-toe, feinting with the right hand to make Garcia flinch, then attacking him with a barrage of blows. In a tight round, it was Garcia who edged it.
The momentum was all Garcia’s during the middle rounds as he paid particular attention to the veteran’s body in an attempt to make Morales feel every one of his 35 years. In the ninth, he landed a one-two combination, to the head then to the body and, when operating behind the jab particularly, showed he could threaten to out-box Morales who had, as the last third of the fight got underway, slowed and saw his accuracy lull.
In round ten, Garcia enjoyed the upper hand throughout most of the round but the best punch – and move – of the entire night was landed by Morales who dented Garcia’s nose and caused the challenger to leak claret from the nostrils with a power punch launched from deep. In the 11th, Garcia looked to his corner in desperation while Morales jabbed away at the nose, angering the leakage. Just when the tide seemed to be turning, Garcia cracked Morales with a left hook to the chin, dropping the tough Mexican to the floor, to his knees, where he remained for a large portion of the count.
Morales fought sluggishly in the final round, drifting toward a decision defeat as Garcia became the newly-crowned super lightweight champion of the WBC. With victory, the man from the city of brotherly love – who was buoyed from the fatherly love advice of coach Angel – rose to 23-0-0, 14ko. Morales dropped down to 52-8-0, 36ko.
All photos: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Ring legend Erik Morales, 35, was stripped of his world championship at 140lbs by the WBC as he failed to make weight but warned super lightweight rival and challenger Danny Garcia that, even though he [Morales] has been written off this week, he will show his critics they are wrong come fight time. The Mexican added that he’ll change his name from El Terrible to The Professor as he hands out classes so often. The two war on March 24 at the Reliant Arena in Houston.
Photos: Box Latino
Current WBC super lightweight world championship incumbent Erik Morales, 35, from Tijuana, Mexico but fights out of California, USA, makes the first defence of his recently-acquired world title when he takes on unbeaten Philadelphian challenger Danny Garcia in a high profile card at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas on Saturday, March 24. Ahead of fisticuffs, the ring legend, whose record is 52-7-0, 36ko, engaged in a workout session at the Savannah Boxing Club.
A four division world titlist having enjoyed previous reigns atop the super bantamweight, featherweight and super featherweight divisions, Morales interrupted a three-year mini retirement to return to the sweet science in 2010 and, in his fourth fight back, boxed a 2011 classic with big-hitting Argentinean; Marcos Maidana.
Morales suffered a grotesque swelling the size of a half-cut tennis ball in the opening stages yet overcame the injury to box effectively and well enough to warrant a tight points verdict, or a draw at least, yet the judges at ringside awarded a majority decision to Maidana, who left Las Vegas with the interim WBA belt as a result.
Morales, dubbed El Terrible, was not setback by the loss and was thrust into a full world title fight with late replacement Pablo Cesar Cano for the vacant WBC belt. Morales retired the marked-up youngster in the tenth round of their September, 2011 bout.
The Mexican’s training camp for his upcoming examination has mostly been spent in his homeland, particularly the Otomi mountain region near Temoaya, with father/ trainer Jose Morales, assistants and sparring partners as he prepares to box a prizefighter 11 years his junior.
His weekend opponent, Garcia, is challenging for his first world championship but, regardless of his relative inexperience at elite level, is a highly-acclaimed 24-year-old who deserves the shot with wins over Ashley Theophane, Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt. An orthodox boxer-puncher, Garcia (22-0-0, 14ko) has good speed, evident power and a left hook signature shot.
Having already made the trip to Houston, Morales is winding down the final part of his training camp in Texas as fight night rapidly approaches and, at the Savannah this week, the blood-and-guts warrior shadow-boxed, entertained photo-happy fans by skipping rope (middle left), manipulated the heavy bag (top left) and went through his punch routines with his coaching staff (bottom left).
Having attended a public workout session on Wednesday, Morales’ media duties now include a final press conference at the Reliant Arena on Thursday, the official weigh-in at the Americas Mall on Friday and, of course, the HBO: World Championship Boxing card on Saturday.
Supporting the main event is an intriguing undercard bout between brutal super welterweight James Kirkland (30-1-0, 27ko); one of the most exciting fighters in modern boxing who is coming off the back of a career-best victory; a sixth round stoppage over fellow headhunter Alfredo Angulo. Kirkland, a Texan, takes on Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 6ko) in an official WBC eliminator. The winner will be aligned with Vanes Martirosyan in a final eliminator to provide Saul Alvarez with a mandatory challenger.
On The Beak – Admin
WBC super lightweight world champion Erik ‘Terrible’ Morales (52-7-0, 36ko) is heavily entrenched in the Otomi Mountains of south central Mexico on the second leg of his training camp for his upcoming first defence of his title when he faces undefeated Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (22-0-0, 14ko) of Philadelphia, PA. The twelve round bout will be held at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, March 24.
Since 1996, Morales has made the Otomi Ceremonial Center near Temoaya his permanent training camp. He is joined by his father/ trainer Jose Morales, assistant trainer Fernando Fernandez, personal assistant ‘Choko’ Murrillo and super flyweight Ivan Morales, Erik’s younger brother who will make his stateside debut on the undercard. Early next week, Morales begins sparring, flying in several sparring partners from different points of Mexico.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
The WBC have sanctioned a super lightweight world championship contest between their reigning champion at 140lbs; Erik Morales (52-7-0, 36ko), and their number two ranked contender; Danny Garcia (22-0-0, 14ko), an undefeated Philadelphian fighter with good wins over Kendall Holt, Nate Campbell and Ashley Theophane. The two box at the Reliant Arena in Houston on Saturday, January 28 in an event supported by a mouth-watering undercard fight…
“The Mexican boxer will make the defence of his WBC Super lightweight title against the American, Danny Garcia next January 28,” a statement released by the WBC read.
The Texas event will be supplemented with a sterling choice as co-support as fan-friendly fisticuff slugger James Kirkland takes on fellow super welterweight Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 6ko) in a non-title fight. Boxing in his home State, Kirkland (30-1-0, 27ko) is undefeated under Ann Wolfe as his sole loss – to unheralded Japanese prizefighter Nobuhiro Ishida – was sustained when the pair had temporarily parted ways.
They are, together, coming off the back of their strongest win as a team; a 2011 classic war with Alfredo Angulo where both fighters exchanged knockdowns in the opening stanza with Kirkland winning a sixth round technical knockout.
Molina, meanwhile, enjoyed a commendable 2011 having taken Cuban technician Erislandy Lara the distance in March, obtaining a debatable draw, before trumping Allen Conyers and Kermit Cintron.
Regarding the main event, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer commented: “Morales is one of the best and most experienced fighters, he’s back and he will face a young and tough fighter like Danny Garcia.”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Of the options available to Floyd Mayweather Jr should a Manny Pacquiao punch-up continue to prove elusive, a meeting with middleweight honcho Sergio Martinez – who has actively used the press to publicise his desire to box Floyd – is not on the short-list, according to Floyd’s uncle and trainer Roger Mayweather. Roger, instead, regards Marcos Maidana to be an intriguing option, whilst not discarding the attractiveness of a Saul Alvarez match-up.
Rising super welterweight sensation ‘Canelo’ Alvarez recently trounced Kermit Cintron by way of fifth round knockout at the Monumental Plaza in Mexico City on Saturday, November 26.
The victory capped a strong year for the Mexican, who had won the vacant WBC championship in March due to a one-sided decisioning over England’s game 147lb prizefighter Matthew Hatton. Alvarez (39-0-1, 29ko) then defended the honour against Hatton’s countryman Ryan Rhodes (and won a late stoppage), as well as obtaining a sixth round technical knockout triumph over Alfonso Gomez.
Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar de la Hoya had said pre-fight that, should his emerging superstar win convincingly over Cintron, then he would release Canelo with the division’s toughest fighters in 2012. On fight night in November, with Cintron slayed and the official announcement made, Saul expressed his eagerness to pit his boxing wits against the mitts of the Money man.
Despite an apparent advantage of seven pounds in weight over Floyd, Roger Mayweather insisted that an Alvarez versus Mayweather Jr (42-0-0, 26ko) fight – at this stage – remains a mismatch. According to a statement released by the WBC, Roger said: “He might want to fight Floyd but he’s no match for Floyd anyhow Floyd is willing to fight with him”.
Alvarez is not the only Mexican who has been gunning for Mayweather as four division champion Erik Morales has, since Floyd announced the reservation of the Cinco de Mayo date at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas next year, been speculatively linked with the undefeated welterweight.
This fight, though, was discounted by Roger, who was more welcoming of a war with hard-hitting Argentinean slugger Marcos Maidana (31-2-0, 28ko). The WBC statement indicated that Roger said a fight with Maidana “can be done”.
Related article: Roger Mayweather and Floyd Sr on Manny Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Reigning WBC welterweight world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr will return to training camp in the coming weeks as he will be boxing in February, 2012. The revelation comes on the heels of reports that indicated May 5/Cinco de Mayo would be the date the American next fights and that Erik Morales would be his chosen opponent, however, the defensively-blessed pugilist has quashed both stories with his latest statements.
“Floyd Mayweather is fighting in February so I’m about to go into training camp soon,” confirmed Mayweather whilst on the Z104 (WNVZ) radio show on Saturday, November 12, prior to 147lb rival Manny Pacquiao’s debatable majority decisioning of Mexican hotshot Juan Manuel Marquez.
“I’m fighting in February,” the 34-year-old reiterated.
Mayweather (42-0-0, 26ko) interrupted a 16-month absence from the sweet science to take on a game Victor Ortiz in September. At the time, Ortiz was a young and hungry world champion who had just recorded his most significant victory by bullying then-world titlist Andre Berto in a high-charged entertaining back-and-forth brawl. Mayweather disposed of Ortiz in the fourth round and snared the WBC belt from his possession.
Prior to victory over Victor, Mayweather had fought just twice since 2007 (one-sided points trouncings over Marquez and Shane Mosley). Responding to pleas from his large fan-base, the Money man is ready to become an active fighter who puts on regular shows: “We’re looking at fighting in February because we’re looking at being active,” he said.
Since his knockout of Ortiz, there has been escalating speculation over whom he will pick as his next opponent. The WBA/IBF unified champion of the super lightweight division, Amir Khan, has long expressed his eagerness at leaving the 140lb weight class and moving north, to welterweight, where he wants to challenge Floyd. And, due to the Cinco de Mayo statements made by Leonard Ellerbe, Bob Arum spoke of how Erik Morales would be Mayweather’s next challenger.
“We’re not fighting Erik Morales,” said Mayweather, definitively. “He’s okay, he’s champion again I truly believe.”
Because Pacquiao has been fighting twice a year, combined with his very recent hard-fought 12 round battle with Marquez last Saturday, it is unlikely that Manny will return to the ring in three months. One other candidate who also stands out, though, is Sergio Martinez.
Perhaps an indication into the calibre of opponent that Mayweather will be facing, he closed the segment with DJ Shaggy by stating: “I think I wanna go in there and give the fans a little bit more.”
Related article – Who should Floyd Mayweather Jr fight next?
Related article – Pound for pound profile: Floyd Mayweather Jr
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
The announcement that Floyd Mayweather Jr had put the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on hold for May 5, 2012, combined with the declaration that he intended to box ‘the little fella‘, sparked innumerable reports that it was only a matter of time before Mayweather Promotions re-entered negotiations with Top Rank Boxing over a fight with Manny Pacquiao, however, Bob Arum has claimed ‘Cinco de Mayo‘ is a ploy to lure Erik Morales into competition.
A national holiday in Mexico and one also celebrated by Mexican-Americans, Cinco de Mayo (May 5) has also become synonymous with big-time boxing as it has a history of hosting fights such as Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo I, a clutch of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr outings and Oscar de la Hoya held fights as close to the date on certain years also.
In 2012, Mayweather Jr (42-0-0, 26ko) is eager to continue that tradition as it falls on a Saturday. The ‘little fella’ that chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe, was speaking of, however, was not Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38ko) but Erik Morales, according to Arum.
He told the Manila Bulletin: “You know who the little fellow that they already approached? It’s Erik Morales. And Erik will confirm it – absolutely. Erik has been approached to make the fight. He’ll take it for the money. I’m sure he’ll take it for the money. Why wouldn’t he?”
Arum continued: “[Mayweather] was on television last night. They say, ‘Why don’t you fight Pacquiao?’ And he says, ‘Take the test, take the test.’ What is he talking about? Everybody knows that’s not an issue anymore. He will not fight Manny Pacquiao. And who cares. There are some better guys out there for Manny to fight. They got MGM to get the date, to get May 5. So they cut us out of getting May 5. But we don’t need May 5 because we’re not fighting a Spanish guy next. But they want May 5 because they’re fighting Morales.”
Mayweather Promotions, though, are yet to confirm or deny what is currently speculation. The initial rumours were sparked when Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Eric Gomez was questioned by Mexican press whether a Morales and Mayweather fight would be possible, to which he replied it would be, that Morales would welcome the challenge.
Alan Dawson – London
Kell Brook is stepping up a level at the Ponds Forge Arena on Saturday, October 8 as he takes on experienced European fighter Rafal Jackiewicz who will provide the Englishman with a “good test“, according to British super lightweight champion Ashley Theophane. Furthermore, Theophane, who has fought on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, believes he has separated himself from the domestic pack and will land a 2012 world title shot.
Speaking highly of his countryman, Theophane exclusively told On The Beak editor Alan Dawson that: “Kell will have too much skill for Jackiewicz.”
Trained by Brendan Ingle, who shaped the careers of renowned fighters like Herol Graham, Prince Naseem Hamed, Clinton Woods and Junior Witter, Brook (24-0-0, 16ko) attracts considerable commendation for his ring craft. However, Theophane (30-4-1, 8ko) was not as impressed as boxing scribes were with Brook’s dismantling of former opponent Lovemore N’Dou.
The 40-year-old veteran of the fight game has mixed it with the world’s elite having shared a ring with Miguel Cotto, Paul Malignaggi, Phillip N’Dou, Kermit Cintron and Saul Alvarez. Whilst Brook’s victory over N’Dou was as convincing as Alvarez’s, Theophane made the allusion that Brook was matched with The Black Panther in order to look good as he was fighting a stationary target who is not as good as he once was.
Ashley, nicknamed Treasure, told me: “[Jackiewicz] is a good test for him as Ndou is now a walking punch bag. That [fight] was a formality.”
Theophane, too, has been in a number of high-profile fights that includes a 2008 points victory over DeMarcus Corley, a 2010 majority decisioning of Delvin Rodriguez and a close split decision loss to Danny Garcia. Boxing exclusively in Britain in 2011, Theophane became British champion at 140lbs (10 stones) when he trumped popular worker Lenny Daws. He followed that triumph with a stunning stoppage of Jason Cook.
“No one in Britain except Amir Khan is a challenge for me,” said Treasure. “I would love fights with Marcos Maidana, Erik Morales and Lamont Peterson. Those are my three tops fights other than Timothy Bradley. I think I will get a world title shot next year as I have missed out on three title eliminators over the past 12 months for various reasons.”
An erstwhile self-managed and self-promoted prizefighter, Theophane signed terms with Hatton Boxing in September. He is due to defend his Lonsdale belt in December against mandatory challenger Nigel Wright.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Mexico’s only four-weight world champion, Erik Morales, is speculated to partake in a lightweight foray that, if successful, would see him become a champion of five divisions where he would be keeping company with fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather Jr. El Terrible, though, is rumoured to make a first defence of his WBC super lightweight title against Anthony Crolla.
Morales (52-7-0, 36ko) had already made history and confirmed his legacy as a Mexican legend by emerging triumphant against young and game Pablo Cesar Cano on September 17 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas… a bout that had the vacant WBC title at 140lbs on the line and one that gave Erik a major honour in a fourth weight division.
According to Boxrec, the 35-year-old – a veteran of 59 professional contests, will take on Crolla (22-2-0, 9ko), a champion of the British lightweight title, in his first defence of his recently-acquired WBC belt in Tijuana on December 10. Crolla had already been aligned to box Morales in September, however, the Briton was replaced by Jorge Barrios, Lucas Matthysse and, finally, Cano.
Crolla, though, retained his spot on the Star Power card and fought on the untelevised segment against Juan Montiel, a contest he was made to labour in to receive a split decision nod.
Boxing Scene, meanwhile, speculate that Morales will drop a decision following his fight with Crolla in order to campaign at lightweight and, ultimately, challenge for a further world title. That championship will, most likely, be the WBC title at 135lbs which is currently vacant and will be awarded to the winner of an October 15 fracas between Antonio DeMarco and Jorge Linares in Los Angeles.
A celebration of Morales’ achievements can be found here.
An introduction to Crolla’s style and trainer is here.