Morales too much for Paquiao!

22.03.05 - By Karen Belford - Erik Morales won a unanimous twelve round decision over Manny Pacquiao from the Philippines's in their super featherweight showdown on Saturday night. At the end of the grueling twelve round bout between Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao, the much hyped star from the Phillipines had been reduced to a bloody, excuse-ridden mess by the talented Mexican star.

From the opening bell, Morales jabbed, and out punched Pacquiao, the miniature destroyer from the Philipines, from pillor to post at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night. Morales controlled the fight with an effective jab and straight right hand, which he used with precise accuracy to make mincemeat of Pacquiao’s right eye. Morales used his size and reach to his advantage.

As bad as Pacquiao looked, he was effective for short periods of the fight, but didn’t have the size or strength to impose his will on the bigger Morales, who was never bothered in the least by Pacquiao’s fast punches. While Pacquiao fought inside with quick flurries, they had little effect on the steel-jawed Morales, who would blankly stare back after getting hit by the flurries. Morales would then answer back with big right hands that would drive Pacquiao back, as if he were hit by a truck.

However, for the life of me, I can’t believe how little Pacquiao knew about boxing, even with one of the best trainers in boxing (Freddie Roach). Morales seemed to be the ring general out there, while Pacquiao was like his unskilled pupil, swinging wildly with desparate punches, most of them missing badly.

Going into the fight, I thought that Pacquiao would be too much for Morales, who had been through three ring wars with Marco Antonio Barrera, and had seemed to be slowing down. Erik hadn’t looked the same, and people were beginning to whisper that he might be nearing the end of his career. However, once the fight started, Morales was all over Pacquiao, and it was clear to all that he hadn’t slipped a bit.

Perhaps, the fight was more interesting because both fighters had previously fought Barrera. While Morales had lost twice to Barrera, Pacquiao had savagely beaten Barrera, stopping him in the 11th round in an impressive display of raw punching power. However, if boxing expert’s had looked closer, they would have seen that Barrera basically gave the fight away to Pacquiao when he abandoned his boxing game early in their bout and elected to try and slug in close quarters, a move that favored the smaller, faster Pacquiao. On that night, Barrera’s macho instincts got the better of him and he suffered the consequence for doing so.

In the fifth round, Morales cut Pacquiao above the right eye. There’s some question as to whether it was from a punch or a clash of heads. However, ringside officials ruled the incident was caused by a punch. That being said, the cut didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the fight.

In the 12th round, Morales suddenly turned southpaw and let Pacquiao land some really big shots, as if letting him know that his punches have no effect, which they didn’t. Morales landed some big shots of his own that round, and even though he was clipped more often, his punches had the bigger effect on the bleeding and bruised face of Pacquiao.

Judges Chuck Giampa, Dave Moretti and Paul Smith all scored the fight 115-113, as Morales improved to 48-2, with 34 knockouts.

Afterwards, Pacquiao, stated that if it had not for the cut, things would have been different.

"I couldn't see out of my right eye, only my left eye for most of the fight," he said.

If that wasn’t enough, Pacquiao complained bitterly about the gloves that were used in the fight. Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roche, said the outcome that set the fight apart was the gloves. Pacquiao had to wear a brand of gloves he doesn't like, which is a softer glove. However, in my opinion, if Pacquiao had gotten his wish and used the smaller gloves, he would have likely been stopped in the first half of the fight by the crisper punching Morales.

Overall, Pacquiao’s excuses made me feel sorry for him, because it appears to be habit for him after poor showings in fights. After his fight with Marquez, he complained about blisters on his feet from new boxing shoes. I can’t wait to hear what his next excuse will be when he attempts to step it up again and fight a talented fighter in the future.

The fact of the matter is, Pacquiao needs to learn how to box better if he wants to compete with the best in the super featherweight division. Clearly, he doesn’t have the same power at this higher weight that he did when he fought at featherweight (126) or at super bantamweight (122). Pacquiao can start with learning to develop his right hand better, which lacks any real power or sting. Previously, he could get by with only having a big left hand in the lower weight divisions. However, his power has much less effect in the super featherweight division, so he will need all his skills if he wants to remain at the top. He also needs to learn to use more head movement, since he was unable to slip any punches by Morales all night long. Once Morales relised this, it was essentially target practice for him, and his accuracy was deadly with such a stationary target that Pacquiao presented.

Nevertheless, I think he’s making a big mistake by trying to stay at Super featherweight, because I think the other fighters have figured him out after his draw with Marquez, and especially now that Morales has exposed him as being a limited fighter with only one weapon in his arsenal.

Article posted on 22.03.2005

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