Almost everybody (writer included) wrote Erik “El Terrible” Morales (51-7, 35 KOs) off after receiving the worst beating of his career, a 3rd – round KO loss to future Hall-of-Famer and current WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao in their trilogy-ender back in 2006. The man who is responsible for giving the latter his last loss was surely headed for retirement ville. A foiled attempt to snatch then WBC lightweight champion David Diaz in 2007 was only a confirmation.
So Morales, a living boxing legend who was one-third of a Mexican triumvirate of boxing superstars of his generation (the other two being Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez) and have held world titles in three weight classes, retired. But like all prizefighters who hang their gloves and tried to stay away from entering the squared circle again, the itch to remain active, that incurable itch to prove something, refuses to go away.
That itch – to become Mexico’s first ever four-division world champion.
Against an ill-advised comeback, Morales returned to the ring in 2010, after more than three years of inactivity. While many are ready to write him off yet again, Morales proved the opposite. Against a decent opposition in former WBA lightweight titleholder Jose Alfaro, Morales began his mission.
Three wins and one loss later, Morales, now 35 years old, is just hours away from a date with destiny. A victory on Saturday night will give him the WBC light welterweight crown.
Morales’ stumbling block, or at least he will try to be, is Pablo Cesar Cano (22-0-1, 17 KOs), an undefeated hard hitter who boasts of youth and reckless eagerness. Cano, a quick replacement for a much more solid opposition Lucas Matthysse, is 14 years Morales’ junior and has never fought a top tier fighter, nor anyone near Morales’ class for that matter. Cano is a serious downgrade from Mathysse, who withdrew because of health issues.
While Cano may be game as all Mexican fighters come, he is a lamb to the slaughter, simply put.
Morales will cruise to victory come fight night and achieve what no other Mexican boxers have ever done. Which is quite surprising considering Mexico is a boxing powerhouse that has produced world champions and Hall-of-Famers by the tens and hundreds.
Just another highlight to Morales’ rebirth.
Photo credits: Vanguardia
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