Magnificent Morales Comes Oh, So Close To Upsetting Maidana!

Marcus MaidanaBy James Slater - Even though he came up just a little bit short on the cards of the judges (one judge had the fight a draw, two “gave” the verdict to Maidana by a too-wide margin of four points), Erik Morales proved once again last night what a very special fighter he really is. Despite boxing with a closed right eye for practically the full fight, the amazing 34-year-old, after a glacially slow start, rolled back the years and took it to the much younger, much harder hitting and much faster Argentine known as “El Chino.”

Forcing seasoned observers of the sport - the same ones who had predicted nothing but a painful, embarrassing night for the comebacking Mexican - to watch the fight with their mouths agape, “El Terrible” gave the world a thrill. But should Morales have gone home empty handed? Whenever we witness an old marvel, one who is given next to no chance on the way into the fight, put on an odds-defying display, there is always the tendency to want to award him with the victory - even if the fight has been desperately close; as was the case last night.

For what it’s worth, I had the fight a dead-level draw, with Morales winning six rounds and Maidana winning the same. So, as much I and others feel Morales’s incredible effort makes it hard for anyone to refer to him as a loser, there was no robbery last night (even if you agree with me in thinking the two scores of 116-112 were way too wide).

But Morales won something much bigger than the interim WBA light-welterweight title last night: he won the RESPECT of the entire boxing world. Not that Morales, 51-7(35) didn’t have this before. He has it twofold now, and he always will.

Rocking the lethal Maidana on a number of occasions, to the extent that it was the younger man who looked far closer to ever being stopped than did the veteran, Morales surprised us even more with the way in which he was able to take Maidana’s best shots. Surely possessing one of the most reliable chins in the entire sport of boxing, Morales rumbled with the man who had previously halted 27 men. It was indeed a lot like being taken back in time to the late ’90s, early 2000s last night, so great was the old Morales’ performance of old.

Even waving Maidana on on occasion, defying him to best him, “El Terrible” had the fans firmly on his side. In the end, Morales’ mountainous effort was deemed to have been slightly less than enough. But who now is perhaps willing to rank the Tijuana star as THE best fighter to have ever come out of Mexico? High praise indeed it would be to rank Morales above the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, but some experts may feel the urge to hand such praise to Morales today.

That’s what a breathtaking, odds-defying performance can do to you!

Thanks for the great career, Erik, and enjoy that retirement. This sign off, of course, is assuming “El Terrible” decides to now call it a day. After the show he gave us all last night, that is very much his call. Could we even see a Morales-Maidana II?

Article posted on 10.04.2011

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