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Garcia scores "KO of the Year" candidate against Morales
RING junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia improved on his first performance against Erik Morales by scoring a chilling knockout of the legendary Mexican fighter in the fourth round of their rematch in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – After defeating Erik Morales earlier this year by unanimous decision, RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia had pressure on him to upstage his earlier performance. Not only did the unbeaten Philadelphian upstage himself, he may have punched his ticket to "Knockout of the Year" honors.
With one left hook, Garcia (26-0, 16 knockouts) iced Morales (52-9, 36 KOs), bringing the fight to an immediate halt at the 1:23 mark of the fourth round at the inaugural boxing event at Barclays Center. Morales' cornermen immediately jumped into the ring to stop the bout as the former four-division world titleholder’s head hung precariously on the bottom rope nearest his corner.
Garcia began the fight just as the first one in March ended, by landing flush left hooks to the soft midsection of Morales, as well as big shots upstairs. Morales, who has been a part of two "Fight of the Year" bouts and two epic trilogies with Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao, fought gamely but was outgunned by the more defined Garcia.
The end was near when, just before the bell ending the third round, a Garcia right cross clipped Morales, 36, on the jaw, stunning him badly and forcing him to stumble about the ring. A cornerman had to guide Morales back to the corner, with Morales' arm over his head as if he was an injured survivor.
“Time passes by and these are the early signs that this is over,” said Morales, a sure-fire Hall of Famer once his career is over.
Morales iterated his desire to have one more fight in his hometown of Tijuana, Mexico before hanging them up for good.
“I was prepared to come in and fight but I couldn't get it done,” said Morales. “I couldn't get my movement.”
Garcia, 24, wrapped up his banner year that saw him break out as a major player in the sport following a fourth-round TKO win over Amir Khan to unify the WBA and WBC junior welterweight belts in July.
Garcia was visibly indignant at the weighin on Friday afternoon, getting in Morales' face and threatening him in reaction to Morales' positive USADA drug tests for the banned weight loss drug Clenbuterol. The first two samples were positive for the substance, but a "C" sample came back clean, salvaging the bout at the 11th hour.
“I showed him too much respect in the first fight,” said Garcia. "You see the first fight; I thought this fight would be more of a war. I never duck anybody, I fought Khan and no one gave me a chance. Keep lining them up and I'll knock them down.”
Photos / Al Bello-Getty Images