Boxing

Morales vs Hernandez at the MGM this Saturday Night

28.07.04 - By Matthew Hurley: Forget Mike Tyson and his umpteenth comeback, the real boxing story this weekend is the return of “El Terrible”. Erik Morales, the most under appreciated great fighter of the last decade, takes on Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez this Saturday on HBO pay per view. Make no mistake, this is no walk over for the great little man from Tijuana. Hernandez, out of Los Angeles, is a formidable foe. But a quick glimpse at Morales’ record and his notorious bent for abandoning his boxing skills in favor of machismo make all of his fights dangerous.

This corner has to admit right up front that Erik Morales represents everything I love about boxing. Never have I been let down by a Morales fight. In that sense he reminds me of my all time favorite fighter, Thomas Hearns. I know when I put my money down that Erik will respond with an effort that will enhance his warrior reputation and make me sit back in my beloved leather recliner and pump my fist in exasperated reverence. Morales does that for me. Every boxing fan has that one fighter who simply transcends the excitement of fight night. For a true fight aficionado every fight brings out that inexplicable passion, but it’s those special fighters that raise the experience to ethereal heights.

When Thomas Hearns was in the midst of his career I lived and died with the “Hitman”. I’ve never experienced such an absolute love for an athlete since. The closest I’ve ever come was when this Guinness swilling Irishman was cheering on Larry Bird and the Celtics when they slammed up against Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. Back then basketball meant something to me. When those two teams played at the old Boston Garden everything stopped. It was that intense. In my much smaller boxing world, when Thomas Hearns fought the world stopped spinning. Such was my absolute love for the fighter out of Detroit that I would literally get sick with anticipation and fear on fight night. When he fought I would rock back and forth on the couch, quietly talking to the television set – willing Tommy to victory. When he lost I lost. I’ve never felt anything so intense since.

But Morales comes close. He embodies all that Tommy represented in a smaller package. He’s going to leave it all out there, not because he’s worried about his place in history but because he loves his fans. Tommy, so gifted, was never able to separate his love for his fans from his profession. It cost him. He always wanted to be seen as a warrior and he always wanted to thrill the public. He represented the working class. Morales is exactly the same. He negates his tremendous natural talent when things get rough and simply lets go with the leather. He can’t help it. It’s who he is and it’s what makes his fans adore him.

Hernandez is no pushover but he bleeds more than a hemophiliac donating blood to the Red Cross. Also, Morales is in a new weight division and despite his previous win over Jesus Chavez he nearly got floored in the process. It was a tough fight, something Erik is used to, but for how long? Fighters only have so many tough fights in them and Erik has been in endless battles because of his warriors mentality. At some point the well is going to run dry.

Look for a tough fight early, but Erik should break through Hernandez’ defenses mid-fight and bust him up. Regardless of what happens, enjoy this great fighter while you can. He brings everything to the table, cashes in all his chips with every hand and is almost too willing to blow it all on one big gamble. Greatness belongs to him and it will eventually lead him to the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota but his luck will eventually run out. He’s sacrificed too much already.

Morales TKO 7 Hernandez

Article posted on 28.07.2004



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