It's SHOWTIME for Morales
It's SHOWTIME for Morales
By Mario Ortega Jr., special to Doghouse Boxing (July 16, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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Roman Morales
One of the hottest prospects in the sport gets his opportunity at a coming out party next Friday night, as super bantamweight Roman Morales takes on tough Alexis Santiago in a Showtime-televised co-featured attraction emanating from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California.

Morales (10-0, 6 KOs) of San Ardo, California has impressed virtually everyone that has seen him fight in person or in his two previous televised outings. This time around Morales is not just a swing bout that makes TV after a quick knockout. Morales knows he is going to be under Showtime’s bright lights and in front of the camera before his night begins. However, that knowledge fails to effect the composed Morales as he goes into his biggest fight to date. “It’s like any other fight,” says Morales. “I know I am ready because I’ve trained hard. I just have to do what I have to do in the ring.”

Helping keep the 20-year-old wunderkind grounded is his trainer and father figure Rodolfo Tapia. “He’s still the same humble guy,” reveals Tapia. “That’s one thing I always put in his mind. ‘You could be a world champion, but to be recognized as a good boxer you have to be the same person.’ You don’t want people around you to get the impression that you think you are a bad ass or something. You have to be a humble person, and you will have more people around you and cheering for you. He is still in the same place with his feet on the ground, and it has to be that way for him to become a world champion. Otherwise, everything we have been working for will go into the garbage.”

Aiding Morales’ stable maturity is likely all the rounds he has logged with top professional fighters since before he turned pro himself in early 2011. Morales has become a favorite sparring partner of world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. among other top pros. Recently, Morales took to the ring with former prized prospect Charles Huerta in preparation for July 20th.

“With Huerta, he’s pretty strong,” says Morales. “He pushed me forward a couple times. With him, I feel his punches because he hits pretty hard. And he makes me work, so I know I have conditioning to last every round of the fight. I was just trying to be smart when I was sparring him. It was really good work and I know it helps me out a lot.”

Morales’ opponent is the dangerous Alexis Santiago (11-2-1, 5 KOs) of Phoenix, Arizona in an eight-round bout. Santiago may be best known for giving unbeaten Randy Caballero a tough fight one year ago. “He’s good, but he made mistakes in that fight with Caballero, which we watched on YouTube,” says Morales’ trainer Tapia. “He leaves his body open a lot, which is a big mistake against Roman. That is one of the things we always work on, is going to the body and then to the head. We’ve been working hard on that. The kid is good. He’s aggressive, but when he feels Roman’s power and sees how he works….I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight.”

Team Morales admits the selection of Santiago as an opponent was to give them a chance to tell the world that they have the better prospect if the comparison is to be drawn with Caballero. “He’s way better than Caballero,” says Morales’ manager Repo Ric without hesitation. “Caballero only has three punches. That’s all he got. He has a jab, a wild left hook and a straight right. That’s all he has. He don’t have anything else. And his defense is terrible. They are going to keep feeding him bums. He just fought my friend from St. Louis, 5-5. You can’t have a title and you are fighting bums. They ought to be ashamed of themselves putting him in there with a kid like that. I definitely made the fight because of Randy Caballero. We are going to take down Santiago to show Randy what we’d do to him. But Randy will never fight him anyway. The other guy I want is Jonathan Arrellano, that kid has some type of title belt. But, none of these guys want to fight Roman. So Santiago will do it.”

Morales himself, honest to his core, admits that he does have the goal of outshining Caballero’s hard-fought victory over Santiago last July. “Yes, of course,” said Morales when asked about the inevitable comparison. “That’s what I am going for. I am going to put everything I got up in the ring and try to show my best. I am going to try and do a better job than he did.”

In addition to preparing for a tough assignment in a featured televised fight, Morales has another fight on his schedule next month. Morales is slated to headline an event at the Tulare County Fairgrounds in Tulare, California on August 24th against rough customer Jonathan Alcantara in another eight-rounder. Though that fight will be close to home, and Morales undoubtedly already has friends bugging him for tickets, the composed future champion remains focused on the task at hand.

“I am not even thinking about the other fight,” says Morales of his scheduled showdown with Alcantara. “I am just thinking about this fight and training hard for this fight. Once I finish this fight, I will think about the other fight. But until then, I am just thinking about this one right now.”

Just seven days away from ‘showtime,’ Morales sounds ready to show and prove. “I am pretty sure he’s coming ready, and I am ready,” says Morales. “So I think it is going to be a really good fight. I am just ready to go out there and fight him already. It’s fairly close to my area, so a lot of people are going to come out to see me and I am plan to give them a good fight.”

Tickets for the July 20th event, promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, are available online at StarTickets.com.

Tickets for the August 24th event, promoted by One World Boxing Promotions, are available online at TulareFair.org or by calling 559-686-4707.

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