Morales-Pacquiao: Ready for a brawl!

19.03.05 - By Marcio Brenes: On Saturday night, Erik Morales of Mexico and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines will meet in a Super Featherweight bout that could be a potential fight of the year honors. Pacquiao, 26, is a southpaw (39-2-2, 31 KO’s) who thrives on his ability to get inside on his taller opponents and use his superior hand speed, which is unrivaled in the super featherweight division..

He used that ability with great effectiveness when he stopped the talented Marco Antonio Barrera in the 11th round on November 15, 2003. However, Barrera appeared to play into Pacquiao’s hands by trying to slug it out with him instead of using his height and reach advantage to keep the smaller Pacman away. In my opinion, I feel Barrera would not make the same mistakes twice if he were to fight Pacquiao again, and I could see him easily out-pointing the one-dimensional fighter from the Philippines.

Morales (47-2, 34 KOs) was recently defeated by Barrera last November in a hard fought 12 round battle that could have gone either way. Before losing to Barrera, however, Morales had held both the World Boxing Council featherweight and super featherweight crowns.

In Pacquiao’s last bout, he made short work of Fahsan Por Thawatchai, (aka "3K Battery") stopping him in the 4th round by TKO. The fight was a total one-sided beating with Pacquiao knocking down the outclassed “3K Battery” four times before the fight was ultimately stopped.

Prior to that bout, however, Pacquiao fought to a twelve round draw with Juan Manuel Marquez on May 5, 2004. As usual, Pacquiao came storming out in the 1st round of the fight, looking for an early knockout and caught Marquez cold, sending him to the canvas three times. At that point, many people at ringside figured the fight would be over in the 2nd round. However, Marquez quickly came back to take charge of the fight after realizing that Pacquiao only has one dangerous punch in his arsenal, a left hand. Over the rest of the bout, Marquez continually jabbed and countered Pacquiao, causing him to back off completely. It was if he had faced down the schoolyard bully and caused him to turn tail and run. At the end of the bout, the judges ruled the fight a draw. However, if it were not for the three knockdowns in the first round, Marquez easily would have won this fight, as he proved that Pacquiao was a limited one handed fighter who doesn’t like to be punched to the body. For people who witnessed the fight, one look at Pacquiao’s battered and bruised face told them who the real victor was on this night.

The key to the fight for Morales, is for him to use his superior ring experience and try to take Pacquiao into the late rounds where he can wear him out with jabs and body shots. Pacquiao has a high percentage of knockouts in his record with most of them coming early on against marginal opposition.

Against Marquez, Pacquiao seemed to tire out after the 1st few rounds, as if he had shot his load and was no longer the dangerous puncher as he was early on. It’s almost as if Pacquiao is like the equivalent of Mike Tyson in the latter part of his career. He can put you away early if you stay in front of him and choose to slug, but if you can stay in the fight, there’s an excellent possibility you can tire him out and stop him late.

As far as my prediction goes, I see Pacquiao rushing out wild-eyed, swinging for the fences in the first few rounds, while Morales easily picks him off with precise jabs and right crosses, causing Pacquiao to become frutatated and ultimately unglued.

Article posted on 18.03.2005

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