Garcia’s Energy Overtakes Morales

Kieran Mulvaney

Danny Garcia, Erik Morales - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Once, Erik Morales possessed a combination of skill, power and fighting spirit that enabled him to break down and defeat one opponent after another. Now, at age 35 and after 60 professional fights, that combination is no longer enough for him to defeat the one opponent who ultimately prevails over all fighters.

Morales deployed experience and guile against Danny Garcia in Houston on Saturday night, and in doing so was able to keep the fight close against a younger, faster opponent. But he was fighting Father Time as well as Garcia, and the tandem proved too much, as Morales fell to 52-8 and the undefeated Garcia lifted the WBC super lightweight title.

>Read More at HBO.com

Fans Weigh In: Fans Picks Morales, But @DannySwift Has Other Ideas

Erik Morales, Danny Garcia - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Generally speaking, boxing fans and Vegas have a similar idea of who's going to win a fight. Most of the times we ask for fight predictions they match up pretty closely with the official odds—but not this week. Erik Morales, despite officially being a slight underdog to Danny Garcia, is the overwhelming favorite in your hearts, securing 85% of the 1246 votes cast on our Facebook page. The 24-year-old Garcia took only 187 total votes. This might have to do with the legions of Mexican fans that Morales has thrilled throughout his Hall-of-Fame career, or maybe it's because of Morales's performance in his hard-fought battle against Marcos Maidana. One person who doesn't see things that way is Twitter user @DannySwift aka Danny Garcia. Garcia, who is extremely active on the social network, called out Morales for his inability—or unwillingness, as the case may be—to make weight, writing: "Papa morales came in 2lbs over weight, disrespect to the sport, that puts a extra 50k in my pocket!"

In the undercard bout, fans have flocked to the resurgent James Kirkland, picking him over Carlos Molina by a margin of nearly 3 to 1.

Here's more of what you had to say:

  • I think Morales knocks out Garcia and Kirkland goes the distance with Molina and wins the decision - @eve505 (Twitter)
  • If I were Danny Garcia, I have to be at my best not only physically, but also mentally. It will be a fatal mistake to look past Erik. Its easy to think that Morales will employ his boxing knowledge against a younger foe. But once the crowd gets involved into the fight, El Terrible will have no other choice but to oblige. All hell will break loose, and it will be the most thrilling part of the match. I actually like Erik's chances in catching Danny with his right maybe to the temple or to the jaw. – E.Corales (HBO.com)
  • Morales by UD; Kirkland by KO round 10 - @potlurisuneel (Twitter)
  • Don't believe the hype about Morales being back. So he held up against a one dimensional Marcos, doesn't mean he's back. Have Garcia winning. On the undercard can't say i've ever watched Molina fight, but have seen enough Kirkland fights to know his potential. Kirkland by KO – V. Varricchio (HBO.com)
  • Predictions for Saturday's @HBOboxing fights: @DannySwift Garcia TKO8 Erik Morales. Garcia too young and too hungry. #MoralesGarcia - @myuros (Twitter)
  • Kirkland has one of the weakest chins in the division - @locmyster (Twitter)
  • I think Garcia may squeek out a very close SD. I give Kirkland the edge, but definately wont sleep on Molina –  Riky Ricardo (HBO.com)
  • Garcia doesn't have many technical flaws for Morales to exploit. Add youth & stamina, too much for Morales to overcome. Garcia UD - @alexp4p (Twitter)

Garcia Hopes to Leave No Room for Doubt

By Eric Raskin

Danny Garcia - Photo Credit: Will HartThey say everything’s bigger in Texas. And that includes the size of the controversy when puzzling scorecards are handed in.

The Lone Star State has developed an unsavory reputation of late when it comes to the scoring of fights. The two most prominent recent examples are Tavoris Cloud’s unfathomable decision over Gabriel Campillo in Corpus Christi last month and Juan Diaz’s outrageously scored nod over Paulie Malignaggi in Houston in 2009. At this point, nothing any ring announcer can say at the end of a fight in Texas should surprise any fight fan.

Danny Garcia is no stranger to head-scratching scorecards, as he heard one announced at the conclusion of his most recent fight, a (seemingly) one-sided win over Kendall Holt in Los Angeles. Fortunately, Garcia got the victory, but it was a split decision in a fight that wasn’t even close.

“I was like, man, how can two judges give me nine rounds out of 12, and this judge gives him seven?” Garcia recalled. “I guess that judge was just watching [Holt] and not me. Maybe he had a better outfit on than me or something!

“That fight served as a reminder to me that you have to try to knock guys out. It happened a lot to me in the amateurs, I thought I won, but I left it in the judges’ hands and I lost. So my mindset when I turned pro was to knock guys out. But as I moved up in competition, guys started blocking shots, guys started taking better shots, so my main focus was just to box. Now I need to get back to scoring knockouts. I have to tell myself, ‘I’m not letting nobody take this from me.’”

On Saturday night in Houston, scoring a knockout won’t be easy, since Garcia’s foe, Erik Morales, has only been KO’d by one opponent in 59 pro fights, and that opponent was Manny Pacquiao. Also, as a beloved Mexican veteran, “El Terrible” is almost certain to be the crowd favorite. And we know how crowd reactions can influence even judges who have the best of intentions.

Garcia has a massive challenge in front of him in the form of a resurgent future Hall of Famer. And he may have an even bigger challenge than that awaiting him if the fight goes the full 12.

Veteran Morales Aims to Teach Young Garcia a Lesson

By Kieran Mulvaney

When Danny Garcia fought his first professional fight, Erik Morales had already retired. He'd had a hugely successful career that included winning world titles in three weight divisions, as well as the adoration of Mexican fight fans and the admiration of followers of the sweet science everywhere.

But Morales, who hung up his gloves in 2007 after five defeats in his last six bouts, couldn’t stay out of action for long. He returned to the ring in 2010, and on Saturday night, he faces Garcia in a junior welterweight title fight. He will be looking to draw on the experience of 59 pro fights to beat back the young man’s challenge.

Among the pick of the crop his lengthy career:

KO11 Daniel Zaragoza, September 6 1997

In his first world title fight, Morales showed the strengths and weaknesses that marked his early career and made him such a popular fighter. The 21-year-old took more punches than he needed to against the game veteran, and his footwork could have done with some refinement, but over the second half the fight, uppercuts and punishing body shots dropped Zaragoza and sent him into retirement.

 

W12 Marco Antonio Barrera, February 19 2000

Erik Morales vs. Marco Antonio Barrera - Photo Credit: Will HartThe first fight of Morales’ epic trilogy against Barrera was probably the best, and highlighted both Mexicans’ willingness to stand and trade blows. In an epic see-saw slugfest, Morales survived a knockdown (which he argued was a slip) to eke out a close win.

 

 

 

 

W12 Manny Pacquiao, March 19 2005

Erik Morales vs. Manny Pacquiao - Photo Credit: Will HartAs Morales aged, he focused less on face-first brawling and more on technique. He used that technique to overcome a still relatively-raw Pacquiao, frustrating the Filipino by jabbing and moving away from the southpaw’s big left hand. It was Pacquiao’s last defeat, and the last win of Morales’ pre-retirement career.

 

 

 

L12 Marcos Maidana, April 9 2011

Erik Morales vs. Marcos Maidana - Photo Credit: Will HartThe transition from young fighter to veteran boxer was in full effect against the hard-hitting Argentinian. Maidana’s fists caused the Mexican’s right eye to grotesquely swell early on, but Morales showed guile, subtle defense and superior technique to outbox the younger man for much of the fight.

 

 



Garcia’s hands are much less heavy than Maidana’s, but he is more skilled than the Argentinian. The question is, can he be as skilled as Morales? Will youth be victorious or will experience prevail?

Erik Morales Poses a Forbidding Challenge for Young Danny Garcia

By Hamilton Nolan

Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia - Photo Credits: Will Hart, GoldenboyErik “El Terrible” Morales is timeless. Seems that way, at least. Though he’s not the oldest prize fighter in boxing – at 35, he’s the same age as Floyd Mayweather, and three years younger than Juan Manuel Marquez – Morales’ permanent look of grim resolve and unbreakable chin give him the air of a grand old man, one who ceased to be surprised a long time ago. But in boxing, the old men always break sooner or later. And the young men are the ones that do the breaking.

Danny Garcia is a young man, a fighter on the cusp. At 23 years old, he’s got more than 100 amateur fights to his name, and he’s already been a pro for more than four years. He is the most dangerous sort of young boxer: the polished sort. After running his record to 20-0 against relatively light competition, Garcia dominated the declining but savvy veteran Nate Campbell last year and then followed that up with a split decision win against the knifelike puncher Kendall Holt last fall.

Garcia himself is a calm boxer-puncher with a high guard and above average power, especially in his right. He covers up and patiently waits for the chance to kill. He is fully capable of hurting his opponents. And he’s earned his ticket to prime time. For Danny Garcia, a win over a legend like Erik Morales would mean everything – it would pay his admission to boxing’s upper echelon and open the door to a long and lucrative career. That’s enough to make any fighter hungry

Read More at HBO.com

CompuBox Analysis: Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia

By CompuBox

The past quarter-century has witnessed a handful of improbable comebacks. Sugar Ray Leonard's shocker over Marvelous Marvin Hagler was one. George Foreman's campaign that eventually led to a heavyweight title 21 years after winning his first was another. And no one could've ever guessed that Vitali Klitschko would return from a four-year retirement to regain a belt in his first fight back, much less run off eight defenses -- and counting.

On Saturday, another one of today's best comeback stories will create another chapter when Erik Morales defends his WBC super lightweight belt against undefeated Danny "Swift" Garcia. Will the old man produce another inspirational performance or will Father Time channel himself through a 23-year-old Philadelphian? Their respective CompuBox pasts yielded these results:

> Read more CompuBox analysis of Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia on HBO.com

CompuBox Analysis: James Kirkland vs. Carlos Molina

By CompuBox

Kirkland is an ask-no-quarters bomber fresh off a sensational sixth-round TKO over Alfredo Angulo while Molina has strung together an impressive 11-0-1 record after going 0-3-1 between December 2005 and February 2007. Which man's career will continue on its upward path? Their recent CompuBox histories yield these clues:

> Read more CompuBox analysis of James Kirkland vs. Carlos Molina on HBO.com

Carlos Molina Is Comfortable in His Role as Underdog

By Kieran Mulvaney

Carlos Molina - Photo Credit: Chris CozzoneWhen Carlos Molina enters the ring against power-punching James Kirkland in Houston on March 24, he will do so as the underdog.  That’s unlikely to bother him; the junior middleweight has been there plenty of times before.

He was the underdog last May against Erislandy Lara, the undefeated and highly-touted Cuban southpaw. That didn’t prevent Molina from taking the fight to the favored prospect, appearing to outwork and outland the Cuban over ten rounds, but ultimately having to share the spoils in a majority draw.

He was the underdog two months later when he faced former welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron. But he dominated from first bell to last, Cintron’s body language betraying awareness of the inevitability of defeat early in the contest, and Molina this time rewarded with the victory he had earned.

And yet, after both performances, a frustrated Molina was obliged to watch: first as Lara was rewarded with a bout against Paul Williams – one which Lara appeared to win comfortably but in which he wound up on the wrong end of one of the most jaw-droppingly dreadful decisions of recent times; and then as Cintron was granted a title shot against Mexico’s Saul Alvarez, only to be blown out inside of five rounds.

Much of the reason for being looked at as an underdog, and then looked over entirely, is Molina’s record: at 19-4-2, it does not scream greatness in the way of, say, Floyd Mayweather’s mark of 42-0 or even Kirkland’s 30-1. But three of those four defeats came in the space of 12 months from February 2006 to 2007, in successive setbacks against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Wayland Willingham, and Mike Alvarado; all three of those opponents were undefeated at the time, and Chavez and Alvarado remain so.

Since then, Molina has gone 11-0-1, and now he is getting another opportunity to upset the applecart of a more celebrated foe. The Houston fans will surely be cheering for fellow Texan Kirkland, and the majority of HBO viewers will almost certainly be watching in anticipation of the kind of exciting, heavy-hitting performance that the man from Austin displayed last time out, against Alfredo Angulo.

Molina won’t care. He'll block out the crowd, ignore Kirkland’s favored status, put down his head, get to work, and look to secure another unexpected victory.

After all, that’s what he’s done plenty of times before.