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The Big Debate: Erik “El Terrible” Morales vs. Zahir Raheem

debates15 The Big Debate: Erik “El Terrible” Morales vs. Zahir Raheem Well fight fans we are gearing up for another great boxing weekend as this Saturday night, HBO brings us a super feather doubleheader featuring Erik “El Terrible” Morales taking on Zahir Raheem. The once beaten Raheem will attempt to shock the world by

out-classing and out-boxing a true legend in Erik Morales. Many say that Erik is older, slower, and ready to be taken. I emphatically disagree! Although Raheem is not an easy mark, I still believe that the young pugilist from Philadelphia, PA, is in over his head and will be sent running back down to the 126-pound division. Here is how “El Terrible” is going to get it done on September 10th.

People say that Morales has too many miles on his boxing odometer and that it will show against the younger, faster and fresher Raheem. I turn that around and say that Erik is too vastly experienced to lose to such a young pug. “El Terrible” has forgotten more about boxing than Raheem will ever learn. Erik has seen it all in the ring as his opponent’s list is a who’s who of fighter from 122 to 130-pounds, spanning over the past eight years. I seriously doubt that Zahir will be able to befuddle Morales with anything, unless he grows a third arm and the commission allows him to use it. That experience allows Erik to pace himself as he is well aware of when to pressure, and when to move. Speaking of pressure, Raheem, although a very experienced amateur fighter, has never, ever felt the kind of intense pressure that he will feel on Saturday night as “El Terrible” is a tyrant in the ring. You can only run from Morales for so long because, eventually, he will catch up to you. Also, it is hard to convince judges of victory if you are constantly moving in reverse.

As for power, Morales is tops in this category as well. Although not the murderous puncher he was at the lower weights, Erik is heavy-handed enough at 130-pounds to keep such fighters like Jesus Chavez, Carlos Hernandez, and Manny Pacquioa at bay. He is also a very sharp puncher who possesses one of the most beautiful uppercuts of all time. His straight right-hand is also a force to be reckoned with and it is shot with a sniper’s accuracy. Include the super human aggression that those punches come with and Raheem is in for a hard night.

The young charge from Philadelphia will be tested in every physical and mental category possible, and I just feel that he is not ready for this exam. He, like so many before him, will fail at the hands of a legend. Morales will come out and assert himself early, wage a war of attrition inside, punish the body and head, and will apply so much mental pressure that Raheem will meltdown and be stopped by no later than the ninth round.

What’s your take on this fight Curtis?

You make some very good points Sergio and have cut off the ring, so to speak, quite well in this case. As you point out, the gulf in experience here is tremendous. In regards to name opponents in or close to their prime, Raheem has only faced Rocky Juarez and had a great deal of difficulty early on in that bout until he realized he needed to use a stick and move approach. Fighting Rocky Juarez and fighting Erik Morales are two very different things but
Raheem needs to apply the lessons learned in the Juarez fight when he steps in with “El Terrible”.

Standing in front of Morales will earn an opponent a beating at best and I take it for granted that Raheem will be on his bike from round one. Aside from being the younger and likely quicker fighter, Raheem shares something with the foes who have given Morales the most trouble; height. Checking back on some of the opponents who have given Morales difficult bouts (McCullough, Espadas, Chi, Zargoza) they are all at least 5 foot 7, as is Raheem.
At under 5 foot 7, an opponent has to be supremely talented (Barrera, Pacquiao) to give the 5 foot 8 Morales difficulty.

I see the height coming into play as sort of a neutralizer to the two punches of Morales that you mentioned, Sergio; the uppercut and the right hand. It’s generally more difficult to put an uppercut on a taller opponent and Morales’ right is most effective when coming over the top on shorter opponents.

If Raheem can withstand the tremendous pressure that he’ll be placed under and can use constant movement along with his southpaw stance to make Morales miss and pay with sharp counters, he may have a chance. Raheem should have the size to compete with the Mexican legend but he’ll need to be in tremendous shape to stick and move for 12 long rounds.

To pull off the upset, Raheem will have to produce a perfect fight and certainly the best of his career. He’ll have to frustrate Morales into forgetting his boxing skills and into looking for one big punch, losing rounds in the process. I’d say it’s a longshot at best but although he now lives in Tulsa, Raheem is a Philadelphia fighter and I believe he has the heart to win this fight.

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