By Jeffrey “Italian Medallion” Cellini
Two dynamite boxers. Two legends. One Hall-of-Famer and one soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer. Jeff Fenech and Erik Morales were two great warriors who won multiple titles in different weight classes. Both were world champions at the featherweight division during their illustrious careers. Unfortunately, boxing fans can only wonder what these two all-time greats would have done if they met in the ring. So, based on their resumes, who was the more accomplished champion, and who would have won if these two fierce fighters clashed in the ring?
Jeff “The Marrickville Mauler” Fenech, 29-3-1, 21 KO’s was one of the toughest fighter during his era. Born in Sydney, Australia, Fenech was a well-conditioned fighter who swarmed his opponents from the opening bell to the end of the fight, which usually occurred when the referee had to intervene. The Australian won titles in three weight classes in the span of 20 fights over a forty-two month stretch. In only his seventh professional fight, Fenech captured the IBF Bantamweight title by crushing defending champion Satoshi Shingaki in nine rounds on April 26, 1985.
He defended his crown three times, including wins over Shingaki in a rematch (TKO 4) and American Steve McCrory (TKO 14). On May 8, 1987, Fenech brutally destroyed WBC Super Bantamweight champion Samart Payakaroon (TKO 4) and successfully defended his title against American Greg Richardson (TKO 5) and future Hall-of-Famer Carlos Zarate (Tech.Dec 4). Then on March 7,1988, Fenech destroyed Puerto Rico’s Victor Callejas (TKO 10) to win the vacant WBC Featherweight crown becoming the first undefeated fighter to claim titles in three divisions.
Erik “El Terrible” Morales, 52-9 36 KO’s was the first Mexican-born boxer in history to win world titles in four different weight classes. On September 6, 1997, he won his first world title by stopping WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Daniel Zaragoza (KO 11). In September 1998, in another landmark fight, Morales knocked out former two-weight world champion Junior Jones. In October 1999, Morales fought and defeated former WBC Bantamweight Champion Wayne McCullough of Northern Ireland. In February 2000, Morales defeated Marco Antonio Barrera to win the WBO Super Bantamweight title, in a fight that is considered one of boxing’s classics. Morales won the fight by a controversial 12-round split decision. After nine successful title defenses, Morales chose to vacate his WBC Super Bantamweight title and his newly won WBO title. In February 2001, he defeated WBC Featherweight champion Guty Espadas, JR., by 12-round unanimous decision to win his third world title in two divisions. After vacating his WBC Featherweight title, “El Terrible” moved up to the super featherweight division. On February 28, 2004, Mor.ales captured the WBC Super Featherweight title by unanimous decision over Jesús Chávez.
Jeff Fenech had a record of 11-2-1, 9 KO’s in world title fights. His list of victims on his resume include Satoshi Shingaki (twice), Jerome Coffee, Daniel Zaragoza, Steve McCrory, Samart Payakaroon, Greg Richardson, Carlos Zarate, Victor Callejas, Georgie Navarro, Marcos Villasana, and Tyrone Downes. Fenech fought Azumah Nelson three times, but failed to defeat “The Professor” in two world title fights. “The Marrickville Mauler” was robbed in their first encounter, settling for a very controversial draw in the battle for the WBC Super Featherweight crown.
Erik Morales had a record of 18-5,11 KO’s in World Title fights. and record of 16-8, 6 KO’s against former or current world titlists. ”El Terrible” list of victims included Kenny Mitchell, Hector Acero-Sanchez, Daniel Zaragoza, Jose Luis Bueno, Junior Jones, Wayne McCullough, Marco Antonio Barrera, Kevin Kelley, Guty Espadas, JR. (twice), In-Jin Chi, Paulie Ayala, Jesus Chavez, Carlos Hernandez, and Manny Pacquiao.
In a fantasy matchup, Fenech would attack with relentless pressure, and Morales would likely use his superior boxing skills. Based on his three-fight trilogy with Marco Antonio Barrera, Morales is capable of enduring a battle with the “The Marrickville Mauler” over twelve rounds. However, Fenech dominates most of the action and walks away with a split-decision victory.
Erik Morales’ career was longer than Jeff Fenech’s, and victories over Barrera and Pacquiao give him the edge though as the more accomplished champion.Contact the Feature Writers