With Erik Morales scheduled to take on David Diaz tonight, I got to thinking about just how bad things have gotten for "El Terrible".
Morales entered 2004 with a remarkable, 48-1 (34), but the worst was yet to come. Morales has since fought seven times, compiling a 3-4 record and being brutally stopped by Manny Pacquiao in his last two fights.
Morales has had an excellent career, however there is something about the fact that in both of the unforgettable trilogies that he has been a part of, he has come up short.
Both times he won the first bout, beating Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera by decision, but was figured out and pretty much dominated, especially by Pacquiao, in their second and third fights.
I would love to see Morales score a nice victory and retire with a win, unfortunately he picked a tough opponent. David Diaz is no slouch and if Morales looks anything like he did against Pacquiao, he will get stopped again.
Morales always brings a punchers chance with him to the ring but my feeling is that his reckless style, much like that of Diego Corrales, has taken its toll.
Here is a look back at the last fight Morales took part in, the finale to a great three fight series between Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao.
Morales vs. Pacquiao III: "The torch has been passed"
Morales took the first meeting by winning a decision, Pacquiao redeemed himself by knocking Morales out in their rematch. Their third meeting would determine who would come away the superior fighter.
He looked over toward his corner, searching for his father, shook his head and made no attempt to beat the count. Uncle! Something I thought no man could get "El Terrible" Erik Morales to say, Manny Pacquiao forced out of him in 3 rounds. His bruising style and fearless nature in the ring may finally have caught up with Morales. Pacquiao appeared too strong and floored Morales twice before finally putting him down for good. Pacquiao was in clear control for the entire bout.
That being said anyone who enjoys boxing and appreciates what a great fighter Erik Morales has been for so many years could not have seen any reason for the fight to continue. There was no doubt that he could have answered the count but clearly as Morales said after the fight sometimes a man needs to know when he is beaten.
Being a big fan of Morales and his no nonsense style of fighting I was actually hoping for a stoppage before the final knock down was recorded. I see absolutely no reason for an icon such as Morales to be beaten into the canvas. And believe me I love a bloody, hard fought battle as much as anyone but when Morales stopped fighting back I watched the rest of the fight with my hands covering my face, hoping for an end that didn't involve Morales getting taken away in a stretcher.
The most surprising part of this trilogy of exciting fights is just how Erik Morales managed to win their first meeting. Much was made of the gloves the fighters would wear and I can see punchers gloves making a difference but Pacquiao simply looked to be unbeatable for anyone in the Super Lightweight division.
In my experience most times when a fighter loses to an opponent he has previously beaten it happens for one of two reasons. 1. The fighter underestimated what his opponent would bring to the ring that given night. 2. Something happened during the fight to rattle the fighter's confidence (A big punch, flash knockdown etc.). From my perspective neither was the case in this instance. Morales was just overmatched against a younger, stronger and maybe even hungrier fighter with more to prove at this point in their careers.
Regardless of outcome "El Terrible" will remain an All-Time Great, remembered for his eagerness to fight the best and never backing down whether it was in his best interest or not. Manny Pacquiao conversely has been catapulted to a whole new level with such a dominating performance and while already being recognized by boxing insiders as being in the top 3 in pound for pound rankings should now be recognized by the casual fan as one of the best the sport has to offer.