22.01.06 - By Wray Edwards: Philippine superstar Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao engineered sweet revenge tonight for his UD loss to Erik Morales last March. With superior punching power, a better chin and tighter conditioning, the twenty-seven year old slugger was just too much for the aging Mexican. As the song goes, “What a difference a day makes…twenty-four little hours.” In this example it was ten months. Teenagers often refer to those over thirty as “OLD”. In the case of Super Featherweight boxers they have a point. Morales is perilously close to the big Three-O and it was obvious. Additionally, a case might be made that fifty-two professional boxing matches have taken their toll to make it an old thirty for Erik.

Even though Manny is on a similar pace, his physiology seems more suited to the rigors of the sport. He is shockingly tough. Marquez hit Pacquiao so hard a worm-hole formed around his head threatening to warp him into a parallel universe. All that did was cause Manny to try harder. What happened in this fight appeared to be a minor changing of the guard at 130. Though the Pacster showed his usual balance problems, he obviously had a new arrow in his quiver: the straight right which Morales ate like Doritos all night long..

ROUND ONE was a bit of “talking over old times” for the two. They danced around and threw a few as their bodies warmed to the task.

ROUND TWO saw Manny throw a withering left which sent Erik staggering back, grasping at the ropes with his right glove to keep from going down. That punch was a harbinger of doom for Morales. It was almost good enough to send him to the cloth…and would have been pretty much a first for Erik. Manny had served notice that he was going to be much more of a challenge this time.

ROUNDS THREE, FOUR AND FIVE were back-and-forth as attrition was the name of the game. Manny dominated the moving ahead action while Erik demonstrated more of a counter-punching response. The author usually considers that when a boxer shakes his head after getting tagged, it is a sign that he has been stung rather than a valid denial of effect. In this fight one must consider that when Pacquiao said no in this way, he was not bluffing. Manny’s inventory of punches and head movement were markedly improved. Freddy Roach’s training is most likely the source of Manny’s increased use of uppercuts, drubbing combos and focus.

ROUND SIX was surely a ten/eighter for Pacquiao, and proof positive that he was rising above Erik in stamina and power. At 2:07 Manny launched a seven punch combo of which four found the mark. The word “drubbing” really applies here. Besides classical combos, Manny would often just pummel Morales with seven or eight “whacky-smackies” which not only looked spiffy, but served more of a purpose to dither Morales than hurt him.

1:06 Manny throws a right lead followed by a straight left which folds Erik’s chin right down to his chest, then a ¾ right uppercut twisting Morales’ head to the right, then, as Erik retreats a right flick lead followed by another left which misses. Somewhere in there or shortly before Pacquiao has badly broken Erik’s nose. It looks like a sack of pebbles.

Just before the bell Manny gets Erik in the corner, catches him with a glancing right cross, then what looks like (bad camera angle) a pretty good body shot then a really strong right cross and a glancing left hook just behind Morale’s left ear. Erik staggers back grabbing for the rope and bumping into referee Bayless. But for the rope and Bayless he might have gone down. The look on his face was one of fear.

ROUND SEVEN – 2:24 Morales catches Manny with a crisp left then 2:18 Erick leads left putting Manny against the ropes. Manny fights off and wins the last two minutes of the round. Morales’ legs are starting to go, big time. He is complaining about them to his corner after this round. At this point in the fight it became a contest between focus (Pacquiao) and desperation (Morales). In cameras and Boxing “focus” is square one.

ROUND EIGHT…Erik rallied at the end but too late to get the ten. In his corner his legs are being desperately rubbed. Steward (the other Manny in the building) thinks this is bad news and bad practice.

ROUND NINE was the tee-off round. During the last two minutes the two went toe-to-toe and just banged with all they had. Manny had more…more power, more speed, more accuracy more legs and energized determination. In fact, IMO, the punishment Morales absorbed in the ninth was no less than the most telling damage of the fight and, for him, the sentence had already been handed down.

It read: “You will be taken to a place of Manny Pacquiao’s choosing, and there you will be beaten about the head and shoulders until you will fall to the floor to be judged unable to continue”.

This verdict must have clearly registered in Erik’s mind, as he backed away from combat for the last seven seconds of the round with a look of resignation. He returned to his corner to be administered the last rights with water and coagulant. Across the ring Freddy is telling Manny “He’s all done…he’s all done.” How true. Erik is ready for the fork.

ROUND TEN. The witnesses, the press and the state officials have all taken their positions to observe the Coup de Gras. 2:05 Manny doubles Erik with a right body shot. 2:03 more of the same with lefts and rights. 2:02 Erik against the ropes takes a tremendous right to the face and weaves desperately around attempting to avoid the inevitable.

0:56 Erik reaches for a right cross falling off-balance to his left. Manny throws a right which misses going over Morales’ shoulder then, 0:55 with Morales stumbling to his left Manny drives a left shot at the right side of Erik’s head just above the ear. The punch bolos Erik’s head and he whirls to his right and falls to his knees, 0:53. 0:40 Kenny finishes his eight count and asks if Morales is OK. Morales nods yes, and steps ahead to meet his breaker.

0:35 Manny reaches a long right which falls just short, followed by a huge left that drives Erik back. 0:33 Manny throws a straight right which makes pretty good contact followed by a looping, overhand left which brings the horsehair packed Reyes into heavy contact with Erik’s face. 0:32 Pac drops a chopping left to Erik’s right cheek followed by a glancing left as Morales begins to fall. 0:30 Kenny puts his left paw on Erik’s left scapula to hold him down and waves Manny off.

0:28 Bayless sinks to his knees to pray over Morales fallen body. Meanwhile Shelly Finkle lavishes Manny with congratulations. It’s good to see Shelly flying high again. He is an aces guy.

The story of Round Ten was outlined in Round Nine. With increasing power shots Manny was beginning to pull away. With a fifty or sixty hit edge in power shots he was just too much for Morales.

So what’s next for the Pacster? Everybody is touting a fight with Barrera. Sounds OK, but a warm up V Jorge Barrios, who has been playing local hero in Argentina since his WBO title capture from Mike Anchondo last April, might be interesting. Then his contest with Barrera would have the added cache of unification (assuming he won). If Barrios really wants to strut his stuff, why not rumble with Manny? Besides, when was the last big fight between Argentina and the Philippines?

As for Morales, thirty is getting pretty long in the tooth for SF’s. Surely he has enough bucks. Maybe he might want to join Barrera in law. Then he could continue in a profession which is also combative, and just as profitable. Morales had better get some better advice before he considers fighting again. Tonight was a reality check for him.

“Men occasionally stumble on the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” - Winston Churchill

Maybe it’s time to try something else Erik. Thanks for the memories. See you at the fights.

Article posted on 22.01.2006

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