Manny Pacquiao vs Morales: Little Big Men, The Fighters of March 19th
By Kenny Perrault (March 18, 2005) 
Photo © German Villasenor
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The heavyweight division has long dominated the sport of boxing. It generates more money and puts more butts in seats. With the popularity of heavyweights it's the smaller fighters who have long been overlooked by the public. Ask the average sports fan and chances are he can probably tell you one of today's three heavyweight champions, ask the same man to name a featherweight champion and you may not get an answer at all. I'm not saying the smaller men go completely unnoticed but they do not get the same recognition. On March 19th two of the world's best fighters will meet in Las Vegas, Nevada. These two men are Manny Pacquiao and Erik Morales, and they are two of boxing's little big men.

Erik Morales has been in boxing's public eye since 1997 when he captured the WBC Super Bantamweight title by stopping Daniel Zaragoza in the 11th round. Twenty world title fights and two weight classes later he is considered by many to be one of the best fighters of his era. His best known fights have come against fellow countrymen Marco Antonio Barrera. The first of the three fights between Morales and Barrera is the most memorable. A twelve round slugfest, both men giving all they had and more, in a close fight that went to Morales via split decision. Morales last fought in November of 2004, in his third fight with Barrera. For the second time Morales had dropped a decision to Barrera. Instead of going back to the drawing board and taking a few tune up fights, Morales signed to fight Manny Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao has not been in the spotlight as long as Morales but his popularity among fight fans has skyrocketed in the last few years. What's the reason for the rise in popularity? The answer is simple. He's a little guy that packs a big punch, not to mention he's charismatic and not afraid to smile for the camera. Pacquiao's 11th round TKO over Marco Antonio Barrera solidified that he belongs with the elite class of fighters his name is often associated with. On March 19th Pacquiao will get another chance to prove to the public that he is the best little big man in the sport. But this is not any easy test for Pacquiao, as he will be moving up in weight from featherweight (126 lbs) to Jr. Lightweight (130 lbs). He's also coming in as the shorter man, giving up a five-inch reach advantage to Morales.

With the small details out of the way the only thing left is fight night. A fight that we all hope won't disappoint. Two men with something to prove, two men who are hungry to be number one, two men who want to show the world the real action is in the smaller weights. Who wants John Ruiz and James Toney when you can have Pacquiao vs Morales or Barrera or Marquez or... yeah, I think you get the idea
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