I was expecting and looking forward to covering the eagerly anticipated clash between Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez. However, due to financial negotiations and Marquez being unhappy with the contract put forward to him and his team, Morales now faces the dangerous Marcos Maidana.
34 year old Morales retired from the sport back in 2007 after losing out to a decision against David Diaz for the then vacant WBC Lightweight Title however since his comeback last year has won all of his three fights.
It is clear that Erik Morales is a shadow of his former self and to put it in a technical Boxing term is ‘shot’ however he still has the heart and ambition to win fights and looks like he is on a mini revival with recent fights.
Morales’s opponent for this April World Title clash Marcos Maidana is a dangerous one however is coming in to this fight on the back of a defeat at the hands of Amir Khan last November and will be looking to rectify this quickly. Maidana put on a great display and at one stage late on in the fight appeared to have Khan dead and buried, and but for a courageous display from Khan would have probably ran away as the winner.
Many feel that a different referee would have stepped in with Khan out on his feet, which makes it even harder to swallow for Maidana.
Maidana now comes into this fight with two losses and both of them decisions. His first defeat came at the hands of Andriy Kotelnik in 2009, a Split Decision in a fight that was for the WBA World Light Welterweight Title and obviously the most recent defeat to Amir Khan. On the exception of these he has a remarkable 27 KO’s in 29 wins which really is a superb KO ratio… does Morales still have the resistance to handle such power should Maidana catch him cleanly?
It has to be said that the Erik Morales of today is nowhere near in the same class as Amir Khan and if Maidana was able to stand toe to toe with Khan and perhaps be unfortunate in the end not to win the fight (a fight that was voted as fight of the year) then you would expect this to be an easy night for Maidana.
Although as previously mentioned Morales is coming in to this on a small resurgence of 3 victories his performances in those fights have not been breathtaking and the same could be said about the opponents; Jose Alfaro, Willie Limond and Francisco Lorenzo all travelled to Mexico perhaps as slightly hand picked opponents to set Morales on his way to a much bigger and better fight. Morales still has fast hands but chooses his shots more rather than letting his hands go.
His skill is still undeniable thus switching from head to body effectively which was notable in the Willie Limond fight, where he put him down first in the 6th round and then eventually ended the fight due to crushing body shots. Again, these opponents were not World class and definitely not in the same league as Maidana however it will inevitably leave Morales brimming with confidence knowing he still has the power and accuracy to match.
So for Morales this fight is absolutely everything; it is a major World Title fight against a dangerous opponent. Should he lose there really would be nowhere to turn and he would have to retire once and for all. If Morales can somehow defeat the big puncher from Argentina he would set the stage for a big pay day and Title fight against an even bigger opponent.
For Maidana he is looking to prove that it really was misfortune against Amir Khan and he does have what it takes to be in there with the best. Although a crushing defeat, Maidana looked good and showed signs of real skill and power, even if perhaps guilty of letting his opponent off the hook at times. He will want to set the record straight and launch himself back into the big time; a big performance here would serve positively for both men.
It is going to be an interesting fight and one that means a tremendous amount to both fighters. Critics are disregarding this fight as a non important fight however I am one eager onlooker.
Maidana is going to be dangerous and let’s face it, livid after his defeat and looking to reconcile his last loss and Morales, just like all fighters fighting past their prime will be trying to convince the World he is not shot and still has a lot to offer. A hard career takes its toll and age catches up with us all eventually, not least if you’re a top class Professional sportsman who has had a long career.
Something has to give and that has to spell pure entertainment for any Boxing fans.