Old man Morales tries to turn back the clock
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 11, 2012) Photo © Gary Randall
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Erik Morales
They say that every old champion has one great fight left - Anonymous

When Eric Morales, 36, faces Danny Garcia, 24, on October 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, the odds of him exiting the ring a winner will be long. Morales will not only be facing a younger and more powerful fighter, but if boxing history holds true, youth will be served.

So does that mean that the former four-time world champion is in for a beating?

Not necessarily.

In 1946, Tony Zale, a 34-year-old veteran, faced younger slugger Rocky Graziano ,28, for the middleweight championship. Most pundits figured that Zale, the defending champion, was past his prime, while Graziano was entering his. The fight was six rounds of hellish action. Graziano had the edge, and looked to be on his way to winning the championship until Zale dropped him with a perfect hook.

In 1957, the great Sugar Ray Robinson, 35, battled Gene Fullmer for the second time. Robinson had lost a hard fought decision four months before. Fullmer, 25, oozed confidence. The rematch started badly for Robinson. Fullmer won three of the first four rounds. The fifth round started like the previous four. Fullmer was smoking while Robinson was retreating. That is until a little past the minute mark of round five when Robinson planted, shifted all his weight, and fired a perfectly timed left hook. The punch exploded off Fullmer’s jaw, sending the champion to dreamland.  

There are plenty of examples of the older fighter being unable to vanquish his younger rival. In 1903, former heavyweight champion James J. Corbett beat up reigning champion James J. Jeffries for 20 plus rounds, until Jeffries knocked him out in round 23.

In 1951, 28-year-old Rocky Marciano faced aging ex-champion Joe Louis. Marciano had admired Louis since childhood. He didn’t want the fight, but knew a win over Louis would pave the way for his own shot at the championship. Marciano knocked out the legendary Louis in round eight, and cried like a baby afterwords.  

Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) lost by a unanimous decision to Garcia last March in Texas. Morales claimed after the bout that his performance was hindered by recent gall bladder surgery. An excuse yes, but a valid one. Morales health will be no issue in the rematch..  

Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs) is coming off an explosive fourth round stoppage of Amir Khan. The win gave the Philadelphia resident a piece of the junior welterweight title. Garcia feels Morales is using his surgery as an alibi.

“I bring heart, skill, and determination into the ring,” Garcia said. “Every time I win, the fighter I beat has an excuse. It’s always something.”

Morales knows he can’t match Garcia’s firepower. He’ll have to fall back on his considerable boxing ability. In 2011, Morales showed great pride and resiliency when he battled tough Marcus Maidana. Garcia is as tough as Maidana, but with more skills. He does have a tendency to throw wide punches, which could give Morales a few more chances.

Though Garcia’s father feels his son easily won 10 of 12 rounds against Morales in their first fight, a second viewing of the bout suggests otherwise. Morales did his best work when Garcia seemed to lose focus. The fight was relatively close. When Garcia brought more intensity to the fight, Morales struggled to keep up. (he was knocked down in round 11).

Morales will likely be in great shape for the rematch. He knows this is his last hurrah. The victory over Khan has given Garcia more confidence in his ability.

Danny Garcia will edge Eric Morales again, sending the great champion into a well-deserved retirement.

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