Erik Morales To Face Jorge Barrios July 17th?

by James Slater - Talk about a match-up that would both surprise and excite a good number of fans if it actually came to pass! According to Spanish news outlet, Esto Online, Mexican legend Erik Morales, who came out of a long retirement to defeat the much younger Jose Alfaro by decision back in March, will continue his comeback on July 17th, against, wait for it - Jorge Barrios!

As hard as it may be to believe that this fight will take place - after all, "La Hiena" was arrested earlier this year, for killing a pregnant woman in an automobile crash; the court finding Barrios guilty of manslaughter - it is also up as happening on the usually-reliable The fight is scheduled to take place in Tijuana, Mexico on July 17th, and WBA minimum-weight champ Roman Gonzalez may also be in action, defending his belt against Morales country-man Jesus Silvestre.

It will surely be the ten-round light-welterweight clash between "El terrible" and the always-colourful Argentine (who has been out on bail for the hit-and-run incident for a while now) that will grab the lion's share of fan attention, however (if the fight actually goes ahead, and I have to say, I have my doubts).

Barrios, 33-years-of age like Morales, is a former super-featherweight - the weight at which he gave one of his most exciting performances, when he was stopped in the 12th-round of a wild fight with defending WBO champ Acelino Freitas in 2003 - and he has never boxed as high as 140-pounds. The warrior from Buenos Aires, came back from the Freitas loss to capture the WBO 130-pound belt in 2005, and he defended it successfully three times. A move up to lightweight came in August of 2009, and Barrios has won two fights at 135-pounds.

Stepping up again, even against a somewhat faded (yet still full of heart and proud) Morales may be a leap too far for Barrios - especially as he is sure to be ring-rusty; having fought just twice since Rocky Juarez TKO'd him in the 11th-round in 2008. Still, Barrios is as tough as they come, he did manage to win his last two bouts, and his at times unpredictable style may be able to give the former three-weight Mexican great some problems.

The weight issue aside, this is an intriguing match-up; one that could produce serious fireworks. Indeed, if the two men were the same size, we would be perhaps looking forward to something of a classic - even if both guys have seen better days.

Morales, who must be a pretty big favourite to win on July 17th, almost certainly has more wear and tear on his body than does the 49-4-1(35) Barrios. For even though he has had exactly the same amount of pro outings as Barrios at 55 bouts - Morales is currently 49-6(34) - "El Terrible" has been in some terrific wars in his time; even more than has the shaven-headed Barrios.

If Morales were still able to make lightweight these days the upcoming fight would be fought on a much more even playing field, yet up at a career-high 140, the 5'6" former 130-pound titlist from Carlos Monzon country could wind up being bullied and out-muscled. It remains to be seen how much of his speed and power Barrios has retained at age 33, whilst boxing in a new weight class, but if he hasn't slowed down too much, and if his fists still have some pop in them, we may get a good fight; for a few rounds, anyway.

Morales boxed up at welterweight against Alfaro in March, and he must have been working hard if he is now able to come in and fight whilst weighing seven-pounds less. This could be bad news for Barrios! "La Hiena" won't go down without a fight, and he may even surprise us and take Morales the full ten-rounds. My money, though, is on a Morales stoppage win - his first since 2003!

Article posted on 13.05.2010

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