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.

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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

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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.