Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Another Legend For The Beating; Welterweight Wish Fulfillment; Losing Faith Too Fast

  • Preview. It is with tremendous remorse that I anticipate Erik Morales' career will be executed this weekend in one of the worst possible ways. I never much cared for Morales, who is something of an insufferable egomaniac, but I respected him. His trilogy with Marco Antonio Barrera is historically great. It was a blazing action three-pack from the two best Mexican fighters at the time who passionately hated one another and merged their resulting brawling impulses with their incredible skill levels. His trilogy with Manny Pacquiao was plenty great, too, a non-stop offensive show for every single round. Morales is a sure hall-of-famer who embodied the word "warrior." He never said no to a challenge and he always stood and fought his foe toe-to-toe. He did so even when outgunned, as he was against Pacquiao by their third meeting; despite all the wear and tear he'd endured in the ring, he decided to go down guns blazing and risk getting knocked out to make a desperation bid at flattening Manilla's favorite son. Yet every warrior must realize when he gets too old to battle younger men, or else face inglorious defeat. Morales is, in the horribly descriptive terminology of boxing, "shot." He's only won one of his last five fights. Not a good sign. He looked awful in one of them, his first fight at lightweight (135 lbs.). His second fight at that weight is coming up Saturday. Not a good sign. Even though he mounted a heroic rally against Pacquiao in their final war, when he went down for the last time, he shook his head and decided not to try to get up. Not a good sign, especially since something similar happened with Arturo Gatti, another warrior whose willpower failed him in his next to last fight; it proved an omen for his final fight, a pitiable slaughter at the hands of a borderline opponent. When willpower goes from a warrior, the end is near. The guy he's fighting Saturday, David Diaz, does not sound like the most dangerous opponent he could have picked, so I suppose that's a good sign. But I don't like the looks of this fight, especially going up against Rafael Marquez-Israel Vasquez II airing on Showtime the same night. I could watch two truly amazing Mexican fighters in their prime in a rematch of their special first meeting... or shield my eyes as one formerly great Mexican fighter gets splattered by a pretty good Mexican-American fighter, plus fork money over to HBO Pay-Per-View for the privilege. I think I'll watch Marquez-Vasquez and hope I read the next day about Morales having tapped some Fountain of Regeneration, but I predict a Diaz mid-round KO or TKO, and a sad one.

Better to remember Morales, at right, as he was, not as he will soon be. (from

  • Random. So far, so good on the welterweights (147 lbs.) making the match-ups they should in a deep, deep division of superstars, unheralded talents and promising prospects. Floyd Mayweather, almost universally believed to be the best fighter around, has a deal in place for a December dance with Ricky Hatton, one of Great Britain's favorite all-time boxers and like Mayweather young and unbeaten. Mayweather is probably too unearthly-gifted for Hatton, but there's a chance Hatton, who crowds and wrestles his man into submission, could pose the difficult style challenge needed to press Mayweather. Still, when two of the best face one another, it is a thing to be praised. Even better, Puerto Rican battering ram Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley, one of his generation's finest, are on track for a November collision. This one is too puzzling for me to call yet, but style-wise, it's a better version of Mayweather-Hatton: Cotto and Hatton both chop you down with body punches and attrition, but Cotto is less one-dimensional, whereas Mayweather and Mosley both rely on blinding speed, but Mosley is more hittable and harder-hitting. Meeting between the winners for divisional supremacy, anyone?

Something spooky about Cotto's deep-set, dark eyes. (from
  • Wrap-up. There seem to be two schools of thought about what happened to welterweight prospect Andre Berto over the weekend, when he was knocked down and nearly out before recovering to win a decision over Cosme Rivera. One, advanced here by The Sweet Science's Michael Woods, suggests that maybe Berto isn't all he's cracked up to be if he nearly catches some zzz's courtesy a fringe contender like Rivera. The other, advanced here by ESPN's Dan Rafael and elsewhere, suggests that Berto was stepping up to the biggest challenge of his career and when he ran into adversity, he overcame it and will learn from it. I'm inclined to give Berto the benefit of the doubt and side with Rafael et al, and not just because I like bandwagons. Berto is 23 and was bound to face trouble once he graduated from destroying mismatched fighters. Rivera has made a living of late schooling youngsters like Berto -- not long ago he put prospect Joel Julio on his ass before Julio recovered to win. Woods draws attention to important flaws in Berto, such as his short arms and previously untested jaw. And the business with Berto's glove technicalities requiring a lengthy time to fix smacks of his team trying to give their golden goose time to clear the cobwebs in his head. Woods may prove right in the long term about the need to lower expectations for Berto, but credit Berto for going through with his next fight against an even tougher divisional gatekeeper, David Estrada. Let's see what he does then before we diminish Berto much for his close encounter with the Land of Nod.

Andre Berto: The Land of Nod is a wonderfully zany comic book, but I recommend avoiding it as a place to visit. (from


THE BRYGUY said...

I fully agree with you on Morales, I expect a repeat of Gatti-Gomez. I will watch Showtime with pleasure. I like Berto, but feel like it's only a matter of time before he's exposed, Estrada is a great test. The winners between Hatton-Mayweather and Cotto-Mosley should square off next year. In fact the losers should square off too!

Tim -- said...

I wish I'd said that. Losers: I hereby command you to square off. I'd take any combination of Cotto/Hatton/Mayweather/Mosley fighting each other, even if two of them had just been defeated...

merjoem32 said...

Cotto is one of the most exciting fighters in boxing today. If he continues to win against solid opposition, then boxing will regain some of the fans that have lost interest ion the game. A bout against Mayweather would be great.