Boxing

What if Erik Morales fought Ricky Hatton next?

by Geoffrey Ciani - It had been more than two and a half years since we last saw Erik Morales inside the squared circle. Going into his fight against former WBA lightweight champion Jose Alfaro this past Saturday most observers were unsure what to expect. After all, not only had “El Terrible” been out of the ring since losing a disputed decision against David Diaz in August 2007 but he also lost five of his last six fights. Considering he lost just once in his first forty-one contests, it is understandable that most observers felt his best days were behind him. Additionally, he never fought north of the lightweight division and his fight with Alfaro was scheduled to take place at welterweight..

All things considered, Morales looked surprisingly good and proved he still has something left to offer. His body frame may have looked a bit thicker and softer than we are accustomed to seeing but Morales was still able to exhibit a solid skill set and warrior mentality. Through the first half of the contest Morales was clearly in control and showed little in terms of ring rust. At times, he even showed brief glimpses of brilliance which were reminiscent of the “El Terrible” of old. Down the stretch, however, Morales seemed winded at times and it was obvious he still needs some work on his conditioning if he intends to resume fighting at an elite level. In rounds nine through eleven, Morales was getting caught flush more and more frequently as his offensive volume dwindled. In the twelfth round, he came on strong and showed the championship heart fans have long admired. At the end of the night, he was awarded a unanimous decision victory with scores reading 117-111, 116-112, and 116-112.

The question becomes, where does Erik Morales go from here?

When Morales appeared on a recent edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio prior to his fight with Alfaro, Jenna J (the show’s radiant Hostess) asked “El Terrible” about his future plans if he was successful against Alfaro. Morales explained that he wanted the fans to evaluate his performance after the fight and make suggestions about who he should face next. We discussed these possibilities on the latest edition of On the Ropes and we all agreed that ideally, Morales is not best suited for the welterweight division. There are, however, a slew of potential opportunities available for him in the talented rich 140 pound weight class. With guys like Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander, Nate Campbell, Amir Khan, Paulie Malignaggi, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marcos Maidana, and Victor Ortiz currently campaigning in that weight class, there are many possible directions for “El Terrible” to turn.

An obvious choice for Morales would be a showdown against fellow Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez. Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, and Marco Antonio Barrera represent a fine quartet of pugilists, all of whom competed in a similar weight range during the same period. Out of all the possible match ups that could be made from this fearsome foursome, the only pairing that never happened is between Morales and Marquez. They are both Mexican fighters, they are both future Hall of Famers, and both are on the downside of their respective careers. A fight between Morales and Marquez at junior welterweight seems like a logical path to pursue for “El Terrible” and would be good for Marquez, too.

Jenna J brought up another interesting possibility on today’s show—one that I had previously not heard any mention of—the possibility of Erik Morales facing former 140 pound champion Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton. In some ways, this fight actually makes a lot of sense. Like Morales, Hatton has been inactive for a long duration. In fact, we have not seen him inside the ring since he was blasted away in two rounds by Manny Pacquiao. Furthermore, like Morales, Hatton’s weight has far exceeded his best fighting weight during his time off. This could help provide for a somewhat level playing field. Beyond that, each fighter is looking for a way to help rejuvenate and reignite his career. A win for either fighter against the other would surely go a long way towards doing this and a fight between the two would be sure to generate a lot of buzz amongst boxing fans.

On one hand, Hatton might represent a more difficult fight for Morales because Hatton is naturally bigger and stronger. He hits hard and has spent the majority of his career competing at 140 pounds. On the other hand it is equally possible that Marquez represents the tougher challenge because despite being older, he has more left in the tank. After all, before being dominated by Floyd Mayweather (in a match Marquez had no business fighting in the first place) he was widely regarded as the number two pound for pound fighter in the world.

Whatever Morales chooses as his next big move, whether it be a fight with Hatton, Marquez, or someone else entirely—it is probably best advised if he takes another fight or two to help improve his conditioning.

Who do you think Morales should fight next? Please share your comments here or you can call in to the next edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio and share your thoughts on the air with Jenna and me.

***

To learn more about On the Ropes Boxing Radio please visit our official website:
http://www.ontheropesboxingradio.com

To contact Ciani or Jenna J:
ontheropes@eastsideboxing.com

To read more by Ciani or Jenna please visit The Mushroom Mag:
http://www.eatthemushroom.com/mag

Article posted on 30.03.2010



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