Morales to face Chavez for WBC super featherweight title


28.02.04 – by Stephanie Ragusa: HBO Boxing After Dark will present an exciting night of professional boxing as two-time world champion, Erik “El Terrible” Morales will challenge Jesus “El Matador” Chavez for the WBC world super featherweight championship in MGM’s Grand Garden Arena.

Hailing from Parral, Mexico, 31-year-old Jesus Chavez captured the WBC 130 lb. title August 15th, 2003 in front of a sold-out crowd in Austin, TX where “El Matador” now resides. Throughout his nine years as a professional fighter, Chavez has amassed a record of 40-2, with 28 victories coming by way of knockout.

Chavez has faced top opposition including Floyd Mayweather Jr., former world champions Louie Espinoza and Daryl Pinckney, and durable veterans Emanuel Burton and Javier Juargui. Epitomizing the characteristics of the classic bullfighter, “El Matador” is both durable and aggressive sporting an impressive 66% knockout ratio.

“Dreams come true,“ says Chavez of his success as a professional. Actually, Jesus began boxing by accident, stumbling into a basement gym after swim class at the age of five. The boxing gym gave free lessons and Chavez has boxed ever since.

Moving up weight classes from the featherweight division, Tijuana’s Erik Morales is widely regarded as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world. With a record of 45-1, and 34 knockouts, Morales has perfected his craft by defeating such boxing greats as Paulie Ayala, Wayne McCullough, Junior Jones, Guty Espadas, Kevin Kelley, and the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera.

Boxing ran in Morales’ family. His father was a flyweight contender in the 1970’s and his brother was a super flyweight world champion. From a family operated boxing gym, Erik Morales began fighting at the age of five and had a stellar amateur career before turning pro at the age of 16.

Morales vacated the WBC featherweight world championship in October of 2004. At the WBC convention in Moscow, Morales was honored as “Emeritus Champion of the World,” a rare distinction shared only with 140 lb. Champion, Kosya Tszyu.

“This fight is very important for me because I am challenging for my third world title,” explained Morales at the final press conference Thursday. A champion at 122 and 126 lbs., “El Terrible” hopes to become the only other Mexican besides Julio Cesar Chavez to win belts in three weight divisions.

Reigning champion Jesus Chavez plans on defending his title with all his heart and has strong words to say about the comparison drawn between Julio Cesar and Erik Morales. “If he’s more concerned about becoming the next Julio Cesar Chavez instead of with his fight with me, there’s something wrong with him.”

Preceding this passionate battle between two proud Mexicans, rising junior welterweight star Miguel Cotto will face Victoriano Sosa, cousin of Sammy Sosa, in the evening’s co-main event.

A member of the Puerto Rican 2000 Olympic team, 23-year-old Miguel Cotto is universally recognized in the world’s top-ten in the 140 lb weight division. In December of 2003, Cotto knocked-out the previously unbeaten Carlos Maussa and improved to 18-0, with 15 knockouts.

Twenty-nine year old Victoriano Sosa represented the Dominican Republic in the 1992 Olympic games. Sosa challenged twice for world title belts, losing to Paul Spadafora and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is highly competitive battles. His professional record is 37-3-2, with 27 knockouts.

Touted Philadelphia prospect, Anthony Thompson faces Grady Brewer in an eight round, super welterweight bout. A celebrated amateur, Thompson looks to improve on his 14-0, 11 KO’s professional record.

Also, a young, 18-year-old Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. hopes to build upon his 4-0, 1 KO’s in a four round lightweight bout. The fighter’s legendary father will be present in his son’s corner.

Fights begin at 8pm EST; broadcast commences at 9:30pm EST live on HBO. The card also marks George Foreman’s final appearance as a ringside announcer for the network, as the 55 year old two-time heavyweight champion contemplates a one-fight comeback.