(Photo credit: Adrian Hernandez) By Joseph Herron – On March 24 th of this year, the boxing world thought they had seen the last of Erik “El Terrible” Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) in the ring…again.
After losing his WBC Junior Welterweight title to the scales, the four division world champion took a beating at the hands of undefeated Danny “Swift” Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs), en route to losing a unanimous twelve round decision.
During the post fight press conference, the defeated Mexican legend stated that he was unmotivated for the fight and questioned whether or not he had the hunger to continue fighting any longer.
But after the unlikely WBC Champion shocked the world by knocking out Amir Khan in the third round of their unification contest on July 14 th , the 36 year old warrior began to view his previous performance from a different perspective.
Was Erik’s twelve round loss to Garcia merely the result of taking a relatively unknown fighter from Philadelphia a little too lightly?
In true “El Terrible” character, the proud Mexican fighter decided that he had too many unresolved issues concerning his previous outing and had to take advantage of the rematch clause strategically placed in his March 24 th fight contract.
So Golden Boy Promotions ultimately granted the future Hall of Famer his wish for a highly publicized rematch and scheduled the grand occasion in the main event of a sensational quadruple header at the new Barclays Center, which is slated to take place this weekend.
But after testing positive for a banned substance during the now customary pre-fight drug screening, will Erik actually get his opportunity for revenge against the current WBC and WBA Junior Welterweight Champion?
According to Morales, his positive test is of no consequence to the fight and the result of contaminated food from Mexico. To support his claim, the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) revealed that the levels of the banned substance, clenbuteral, were indeed minimal and gave no indication of any intent to gain any athletic advantage.
Furthermore, the third and most recent sample taken by the USADA was deemed negative and showed no trace of the banned substance. So the fight should take place as scheduled in the main event of the evening.
But, will we see a different result from the first encounter?
If weighing in well under the Junior Welterweight division limit is any indication of Erik’s commitment and determination to make the most of his chance at retribution, we could see a much more competitive championship bout than most are anticipating.
In the early to mid rounds of their first meeting, Erik had many successful moments in the ring by working behind the famous “El Terrible” jab and using lateral movement to disrupt the timing and rhythm of the undefeated counterpuncher.
To be successful in the rematch, Erik has to restrain from sitting in the pocket and exchanging from midrange. Morales must either shoot the jab from the outside while moving to his left and away from Garcia’s best punch, the mid range left hook, or immediately close the gap and fight the mid-range bomber on the inside and throw short, compact shots underneath Garcia’s defense.
Erik is a masterful inside fighter, but he wasn’t able to successfully bait Danny into an interior battle against the ropes or in the center of the ring during the first match-up.
With an obvious depletion of reflexes and hand speed, Erik absolutely must control his warrior’s urge to jump into a fire fight with Danny “Swift” Garcia. If he gets lured into a brawl at any point during the rematch, Erik could find himself looking up at the venue lights.
Another factor to take into consideration is the idea that Garcia will be entering this bout with much more confidence than their initial encounter.
After decisively beating Morales and knocking out Amir Khan in his last two bouts, the unbeaten champion’s mental resolve is at an astronomical level. Although Danny doesn’t possess the fastest hands or quickest footwork in the division, he is a very strong fighter both physically and mentally.
He will be looking for the early knock-out this time and expect to jump all over the four division world champion. Garcia is a superb counterpuncher and will be looking to shoot the straight right hand over the Morales jab as soon as he sees Erik’s shoulder move forward, followed by his left hook bomb.
If Morales doesn’t use feints, along with a sporadic and disjunct jab while moving laterally to both sides of the ring, he could be looking at a very early exit this time out.
Does the great Erik Morales have one more great performance left in him?
We will find out tonight in the main event of what should be a great evening of boxing!