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Morales Dominates Hernandez Enroute To ‘Unification’
Juan Angel Zurita (August 2, 2004) 
Photo © Chris Farina
In a card billed as ‘Unification’, Erik ‘El Terrible’ Morales, 47-1 (34), once again proved why he’s widely considered one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters. Before a pumped up crowd of 8,611 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Morales utilized his underrated boxing skills to dominate the always game Salvadorian Carlos Hernandez, 40-4-1 (24), via unanimous decision to unify the 130 pound weight class. In only his third fight at super featherweight, Morales put on one of the best performances of his illustrious career by landing the harder, crisper, more accurate punches.

Both fighters got right down to business from the start as the bull rushed in and the matador established his right uppercut. Stiff jabs and thumping lead rights further tamed the wild swinging Salvadorian. After three rounds of heat, things looked great for Morales.

But just as Morales began to get into a comfortable groove, both combatants clashed heads causing a small cut over Morales’ left eye. The unfortunate turn of events seemed to throw Morales off his game and he stopped working for the last few minutes of the round. It appeared he was more content in letting the round fade to allow his corner to work on his cut. Hernandez finally won a round.

Morales reestablished himself again in the fifth as he landed counter combinations, right hands, and utilized a stricter defense. Unlike some of his past fights, Morales seemed more conscious of his opponent’s incoming. Even when on the ropes, he’d quickly side-step his way out of harm’s way. Morales was back in his groove.

Rounds six thru nine saw some of Morales’ best work. He landed uppercuts and counter rights almost at will. However, Hernandez wouldn’t budge. He still kept plugging forward and continued to give it 110%.

With Morales having deposited most of the first nine rounds in his hefty bank account, the championship rounds didn’t bear great significance. That was a shame for Hernandez because he rallied in rounds ten and eleven.

The final stanza showed why Morales is one of the elites in the game today. He closed the show and outworked and outlanded Hernandez to seal the deal.

Doghouse scored it 117-111 for Morales.

Judges scores were 119-109 (twice), 115-113, all for Erik ‘El Terrible’ Morales.


Rafael Marquez, 32-3 (29), defended his IBF bantamweight title for the fourth time by scoring a one-punch knockout over fellow countryman Heriberto Ruiz, 29-3-2 (12). For the first two rounds it appeared that Marquez would have his hands full against a tough and durable opponent. Things especially looked that way in the third round when Ruiz landed a stinging left hook to Marquez’s body. Slightly stunned, Marquez came roaring back with a picture perfect right uppercut which sent Ruiz straight the canvas. The referee, Tony Weeks, didn’t even bother to count and immediately put a halt to the match.

Ivan Calderon, 20-0 (4), had his hands full against former IBF strawweight champion Roberto Leyva, 22-4-1 (19), but still managed to retain his WBO 105-pound title. For the first half of the fight, Calderon was willing to go toe-to-toe in spots, and that allowed Leyva to score with effective combinations. After getting stunned in the pocket several times, Calderon decided to get on his bicycle and fight his fight. For the latter half of the match, Calderon held off Leyva’s charge to earn a unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 116-112, while Doghouse scored it a bit close at 115-113 for Calderon.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., 10-0 (5), son of the Mexican legend, beat up an overmatched Jason Smith, 4-4 (2). Chavez Jr. did everything but knock his opponent out. He bloodied Smith’s mouth and nose but the gutsy Indiana native showed great heart and refused to quit. For someone without an amateur career, Chavez Jr. didn’t look too shabby. At 18 years of age, time and development is of major importance.
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