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Morales Tops Chavez in an All Out War
Mar 1, 2004 By Brent Hedtke
When I was a little kid my Grandma used to take me grocery shopping with her after we had breakfast. She would always shop after a big meal because she thought it was a bad idea to buy groceries while you were hungry. Using the same mentality, I had a professor in college who told me to never try to write objectively while you are emotional. Well guess what? I dropped out of college and my Grandma’s dead so I don’t mind saying that right now I’m feeling particularly gushy and giddy and host of other words that guys who like to watch other guys beat each other senseless should never say.
In a year that so far has spawned a number of letdowns, including one of the worst decisions in televised boxing history (Matt Vanda W10 Sam Garr) and two main events canceled due to injuries (Kostya Tszyu vs. Sharmba Mitchell and James Toney vs. Jameel McCline), Erik Morales and Jesus Chavez reminded us all why we love to watch a sport that most consider to be brutal and bordering on masochistic. In the course of 36 minutes, Morales (45-1 34 KO’s) and Chavez (40-3 28 KO’s) traded more leather than a Wilson’s outlet and provided enough action to permanently put Steven Seagal out of work. The two 130 pound warriors both found themselves fighting through injuries, cuts and adversity all the while electrifying the packed house at the MGM Grand Arena in undoubtedly one of the best brawls we’ll see this year.
Often times fights that look this good on paper can turn out to be stinkers or at the very least anticlimactic. From the opening bell though, Chavez and Morales lived up to their reputations and put their crowd pleasing styles on display.
In the first round Chavez made it very clear that there would be no feeling-out period for him as he went after Morales throwing bombs bigger than “Gigli.” Midway through the round Chavez landed a huge left hook followed by a wide right hook that rocked Morales and had him holding on to the top rope for stability. Morales made it out of the round, but Chavez was the clear cut winner.
When the bell rang to start the second round the two warriors picked up right where they left off, this time with Morales getting the better of it. Towards the middle of the round Morales threw an uppercut from the inside that landed right on the button and sent Chavez to the canvas. Chavez got up undeterred and went right back to stalking Morales. As the round came to a close Morales again caught Chavez with a flurry of punches that put him on his seat. Again Chavez got up and amazingly continued to bring the fight to Morales. He showed his resilience, but unfortunately it came in the form of a 10-7 round.
In the third round, Chavez continued his assault on Morales’ body while “El Terible” used his quicker hands and his advantages in height and reach to outbox Chavez and keep him on the outside.
The fourth round saw Morales being the recipient of a cut above his right eye. The gash was big enough to cause referee Vic Drakulich to have it examined by the ringside doctor. The cut proved not to be an issue and Morales’ corner did a good job to heal it up between rounds.
Rounds five through seven played out very similar to rounds three and four. Morales used his thumping jab to keep Chavez outside and threw uppercuts to his chin when he did find his way in. Chavez suffered a cut over his left eye in the sixth which would continue to bleed throughout the rest of the fight.
Somewhere in the first seven rounds, Chavez injured his right shoulder and in the eighth round it caught up to him. Fighting virtually one handed, he managed not only to make it through the round, but by most accounts won it as well.
In rounds nine through eleven Morales took advantage Chavez’ handicap by tattooing him with short left jabs and left hooks to the head. To his credit, Chavez more than held his own with just his left hand. He peppered Morales with big looping left hooks and continued to attack his body.
As the bell rang to start the final stanza the outcome of the fight was already very clear. Regardless, the entire arena was on their feet to watch the two combatants let it all hang out for three minutes. They did just that and a whole lot more. Chavez threw his right hand for the first time in four rounds and connected with a big cross in the opening minute. Morales couldn’t resist the temptation to slug it out and threw a big right hand of his own. They proceeded to trade bombs for the duration of the round and left the audience and the people at home as exhausted as they were.
In the end, it was Morales’ experience and harder more accurate punching that prevailed. He was awarded a unanimous decision by scores of 118-108, 117-109 and 115-112. Chavez was taken to a local hospital immediately following the fight to have his shoulder examined.
With his victory, Morales becomes the new WBC Super Featherweight Champion. He also joins Julio Cesar Chavez as the only other Mexican fighter in history to win titles in three separate weight classes.
Regardless of the outcome, this fight was a breath of fresh air for a sport that is continually being criticized by those in the media and often times outright ignored by mainstream sports fans. It encapsulated everything that makes boxing the most noble and honorable of all sporting traditions
On the undercard, Puerto Rican sensation Miguel Cotto stopped veteran Victoriano Sosa in the fourth round of their scheduled twelve round fight. Sosa has been in with the best including Floyd Mayweather, JR. and Paul Spadafora and he’s made it to the final bell every time. Cotto put an end to that by knocking Sosa down three times in the fourth round prompting referee Kenny Bayless to stop the action at 2:51 of the round.
By knocking out Sosa, Cotto moves to 19-0, (16 KO’s) and into the upper echelon of the junior welterweight class.
Email questions or comments to Brent at: firstname.lastname@example.org