Pacquiao Too Much For Morales

23.01.06 - By Francisco Chantango: At the still relatively young age of 29, it appears that the once great warrior Erik Morales (48-4, 34 KOs) is at the end of the road, following his 10th round stoppage loss to the Filippino sensation, Manny Pacquiao, in a fight that was totally one-sided following the 5th round. For Morales, it appears to be the case of going to the well one time too many, for he seemed to without any real energy or enthusiasm, as he was chased around the ring by the aggressive Pacquiao, who seemed hell bent on gaining his revenge for an earlier loss to Morales in March 2005.

The bout started out almost as a perfect copy of the first fight, with the larger Morales using his longer reach to control the action and keep the shorter Pacquiao on the outside. However, this time, Pacquiao (41-3-2, 33 KOs) wasn’t content to let Morales dictate the pace as before, and made it a point to take the fight to Morales, no matter what the consequences might be. For this viewer, Pacquiao’s courage and aggressiveness, made it much more interesting to watch than their last bout, one where Pacquiao seemed to give too much respect for Morales. Starting in round 2, Pacquiao opened with a two-fisted attack, punctuated by lightning fast flurries that had Morales head spinning like it was attached to a swivel.

Towards the end of the round, Pacquiao caught Morales with a monstrous straight left hand that knocked him back against the ropes, where he had to hold onto keep from going down. To his credit, Morales quickly regained his composure and even appeared angry with him self for having been caught with such a big shot. Nevertheless, the damage had been done. That shot alone, is what seemed to take the legs away from Morales for the rest of the fight, not his excuse made later about having had worked too hard to take off weight to make the fight limit.

Following the 2nd round, Morales dug down deep inside himself to come up with enough energy to win rounds 3 thru 5, mostly using his long jab and right hand to stave off the fierce attacks by Pacquiao. Nevertheless, he was still getting hit with left hand huge shots by Pacquiao all during those rounds and by the beginning of the 6th round, Morales’s nose was starting to swell from having absorbed so many punches.

By the start of the 6th round, Morales looked as if he had fought 15 rounds, as he looked visibly worn down and no longer had energy to move around the ring like he did earlier in the fight. Pacquiao, to his credit, immediately seized on the opportunity, by using fast combinations to land vicious head shots, one of them apparently broke Morales nose, causing it to swell to huge proportions, as if the nose bone had been driven into his skull by one of Pacquiao’s uppercuts. Morales continued to try and jab, but Pacquiao walked right through them to get inside where he was able to land numerous shots that began to take the life out of Morales. At the end of the round, Pacquiao landed another huge left hand, which caused Morales to hit the ropes and bump against the referee, who lucky for him, seemed to prevent Morales from falling to the canvas.

In rounds 7 thru 9, Morales gamely fought on, trying to keep the constantly attacking Pacquiao off him the best he could. However, it would have been best if Morales had quit at the end of the 6th, and avoided the punishment he sustained in these later rounds, as they were completely one-sided, with Pacquiao seemingly landing at will, while Morales was in a steady back pedal for most of the action. With his legs now completely gone, Morales was forced to fight flat footed and could get little power or leverage in his punches. With zero power to fight back with, Morales was essentially a sitting duck for Pacquiao, who used Erik's swollen nose as a target for his heat seeking missle-like left hand bombs.

Finally, near the end of the 10th round, with Morales barely able to stand, Pacquiao connected with a short left hand that bounced off the top of Morales head, sending him to the canvas. It’s wasn’t a hard shot, by any means, but rather that Morales could no longer seem to keep his feet, after having lost his legs from the accumulated punishment he had sustained from 9 rounds of constant head shots. He was able to make it up but Pacquiao wasted little time in cornering him near the ropes, where he landed a quick flurry that sent Morales down for the final time. The referee, Kenny Bayless, put a stop to the fight at that point, not that it really mattered, since Morales didn’t appear that he was going to make it up this time.

Morales, perhaps thinking ahead, made sure there was a rematch clause in the contract for this fight, yet based on Morales complaints about his struggles to make the 130 pound weight limit, the prospects for a rematch are still unknown at this point. One potential would be for the fight to take place at a higher weight, perhaps 135, but it remains to be seen whether Pacquiao would agree to that. However, based on Morales poor showing in his loss to Zahir Raheem, when he attempted to fight at 135, I don’t think it would matter little to the outcome of the fight. I don't think Morales will do well in a rematch with Pacquiao, no matter how much I would love to see it, I see it as one-sided as this one.

Article posted on 24.01.2006

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