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  Erik Morales Never Fails To Amaze, Captures  Record Breaking Feat In Typical Morales Fashion

By Bret "The Threat" Newton
Photo: Marlene Marquez

 


When Erik "El Terrible" Morales (52-7, 36 KO's) stopped previously unbeaten Pablo Cesar Cano on the "Star Power" undercard, he became the first Mexican fighter to win titles in four divisions, breaking a record created and held by the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. A record that was coincidentally created in 1989 in a rematch against Roger Mayweather, uncle to Floyd Jr. Chavez would win by stoppage when Mayweather was waived off in his corner after the 10th round, becoming the first Mexican three-division champion.

Chavez Sr. would try for a fourth division title against Pernell Whitaker in 1993 that ended in a controversial draw (with the majority having felt Whitaker deserved the victory), and against Oscar De La Hoya in their 1998 rematch in which Chavez was stopped after the 8th round. Both fights were for the WBC Welterweight Title.

Since then, there have been 4 other Mexican fighters to attain titles in three divisions: Juan Manuel Marquez, Fernando Montiel (if you count the WBO), Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales.

Morales would win his first World Title in 1997 against Daniel Zaragoza. Morales would stop Zaragoza in the 11th and attain the WBC Super Bantamweight Title. Morales would successfully defend that title 9 times, which would include a twelve-round war against Wayne McCullough and the historic first-of-three, "fight-of-the-year of 2000", battle against Marco Antonio Barrera.

One year later, Morales would win the WBC Featherweight Title by unanimous decision against Guty Espadas in 2001, another twelve rounds of crowd-pleasing action. Morales would make one successful defense of that title, against In-Jin Chi, a fight that turned out to be another back-and-forth, bloody war for Morales. Morales would dig deep to win a unanimous decision with both of his eyes having been badly cut.

Morales would then lose the 2002, highly anticipated, rematch against Barrera that was nearly as action packed as their first thrilling bout. In his very next fight, Morales would once again win the WBC Featherweight Title, after it had been vacated, with a twelve round, one-sided, victory over Paulie Ayala. After 2 more successful defenses and a rematch against Espadas Jr., Morales challenged Jesus Chavez for the WBC Super Featherweight Title in 2004, winning a lop-sided unanimous decision and becoming a three-division champion.

Morales made one successful defense of that title against Carlos Hernandez, also picking up the IBF Super Featherweight Title with the unanimous decision win. Morales would then lose the third fight with Barrera to close their epic trilogy.

Next up was Morales' first fight with the one and only Manny Pacquiao. To this day, this would go down as the last time Pacquiao would lose in the ring, A fight that was a war from start to finish and saw Pacquiao's face a bloody mess. Morales won a close, hard fought, unanimous decision.

All those wars would appear to catch up with Morales as a four-fight losing streak would follow, which included fights with Zahir Raheem, two more fights with Pacquiao, and a controversial loss against David Diaz.

The fight against Diaz in 2007 would have marked the four-division world record for Morales as it was for the WBC Lightweight Title. However, due to some questionable scoring (a 10-8 round for Diaz in a round where there were no knockdowns or point deductions, and a 10-9 round for Morales in a round he scored a knockdown in), Morales promptly retired after the fight. Morales had a great career and no one could complain about his decision.

Morales would return three years later in 2010, compiling three consecutive, comeback wins before facing tough Marcos Maidana in 2011. Not many had given Morales a chance to win after seeing how less of a fighter he was in his return. Morales would fight with one eye being swollen shut in the opening round, for the remaining eleven rounds, losing a close twelve-round majority decision. Most media and ringside observers had felt Morales deserved the win, but more importantly, could not believe how Morales once again would capture the audience with ease after another gutsy and amazing performance. Morales had already given a few "performances of a lifetime", how could he possibly have had another one left? There would be at least one more...

Morales would then be scheduled to fight Lucas Matthysse for the WBC Light Welterweight Title on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz this past September 17th. After an eye infection, Matthysse was forced to pull out. In came the unbeaten, 22-0-1, with 17 KO's, 21 year old, Pablo Cesar Cano. Morales, at 35, and looking much past his prime, went right in, made the crowd cheer, and gave everyone their money's worth in another typical Morales-style, action fight. Even at this stage of his career, Morales was able to bloody and pound an undefeated, younger prospect to win yet another world title in another weight class. Although the record books considered this the fourth division Morales had won a title in, to us it was really his fifth. Morales would stop the game, yet fully covered in blood, Cano after the 10th round.

Other than winning the title and officially breaking the Mexican record, there was one significant moment for me in this fight that really made me smile. Morales showed one trademark sign in this fight with Cano from his younger years that I will never forget. It was his right hook feint to the body, then connecting with the right to the head. Morales had knocked out Angel Chacon in 1999, undercard to Oscar De La Hoya vs. Ike Quartey, with that very punch. Morales would fake a right to the body in which Chacon dropped his guard from high to protect his midsection, expecting a body shot, to which Morales quickly switched up and went upstairs, connecting with a knockout right hand to the chin. One of the most amazing punches thrown that resulted in an instant knockout that I have ever seen. Morales threw that very same feint and landed that exact same punch against Cano in the fourth round of their fight.

Congratulations to Erik Morales: Champion at Super Bantamweight, Featherweight, Super Featherweight, and Light Welterweight. (and unofficially at Pound4Pound.com: at Lightweight)



 

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