By: Sergio L. Martinez
After lacing up the leather and engaging in the sixty-first fight of his illustrious professional career, Mexican ring legend Erik “El Terrible” Morales (52-8-0 with 36 KOs) looked to reclaim his WBC 140-pound strap and exact revenge against previous conqueror Danny “Swift” Garcia (24-0-0 with 15 KOs). The Showtime televised twelve round contest took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with the WBA and WBC Light Welterweight titles at stake.
Although many questioned his return from retirement, Morales rekindled belief in April of 2011 with an impressive showing against Argentinean knockout artist Marcos Rene Maidana. Morales lost via controversial decision, but won a spot in the mix at 140-pounds. Morales furthered his credibility by brutally beating down Pablo Cesar Cano; a young and undefeated Mexican puncher with solid skills. “El Terrible” showed some flashes of his prime as he battered Cano into submission, forcing the young Mexican pug not to come out after the tenth round. This led to Morales’ first encounter with Danny Garcia.
Morales-Garcia I was an entertaining event as “El Terrible” made it exciting and competitive in the early rounds. Ultimately, the aging veteran ran out of gas in the late rounds and lost a twelve round decision.
In this second fight, Morales ended up viciously knocked down and stopped by a fighter in Garcia who could not have lived with Morales in the Tijuana legend’s prime. Watching that after having viewed “El Terrible” his entire career was difficult to say the least. This is not meant to disrespect Garcia, as he is on the rise and did what was expected of him.
Even though the fight went as anticipated, it does not make it easy to accept the official end of Morales as a viable competitor in boxing. This is the same man that brought boxing fans unforgettable epic battles against Marco Antonio Barrera, Daniel Zaragoza, Jesus Chavez, In Jin Chi, and Manny Pacquiao.
There was a time when the ring name “El Terrible” struck fear in potential opponents and caused instant excitement amongst boxing scribes and the pugilistic public at large. Now, at the ripe old age of thirty-six, Erik “El Terrible” Morales does not rouse terror in his opposition. The excitement factor remains as the old Mexican warlord just does not seem capable of being involved in a dull fight.
Still, it was difficult to watch the current version of Morales not only lose this fight but also become embroiled in the doping drama leading up to the contest. Prior pre-fight controversy with Morales involved press conference brawls, a ton of trash talking and just being a vicious bastard that loved to fight. Recently, Morales–well above his best weight and past his prime–has been involved in positive drug tests for banned substances, rumors of lackluster training camps and constant issues with making weight. It’s not that Morales did not have trouble making weight in the past, but it is his lack of heyday passion that is obvious. Do not get me wrong as he still seems to have pure disdain for his opposition, but it just does not seem to motivate him as in years gone by.
To everything there is an end as no mortal is eternal and time erodes all. The heart may still beat with fury. The urges to be great may still course through the blood. The spirit may still want to be unleashed to prove its fire but the body may just be too tired, too worn from past battles and abuses levied through time.
Last night was not the real Erik “El Terrible” Morales. That fighter is nothing more than a memory of an era long-ago and now lost forever. The boxing community is now left with nothing more than the memory of the prime Morales that once ruled the lower weight classes with an iron fist.
Still, that was one hell of a prime to have witnessed.
Gracias “El Terrible”.