3. Erik Morales (active)
Record: 52-7 with 36 knockouts
Years Active: 1993-present
Title Reign: September 6, 1997-February 19, 2000 (WBC), February 19, 2000-vacated (WBO)
Style: Excellent boxer who prefers to slug
Strengths: Above average height and reach, educated jab, potent right, iron chin, desire to please crowds
Why Is He Ranked? After seizing the baton from Zaragoza in a rough fight, “El Terrible” ran with it and built his own legend. During his nine-defense reign he knocked out seven, including three past champions. Morales’ first war with Barrera ranks as the most consistently intense 122-pound title fight ever despite the controversial decision in his favor, yet he possessed the talent and tools to out-box anyone if he so chose.
Best Opponents at 122: Hector Acero Sanchez (W 12), Daniel Zaragoza (KO 11), Jose Luis Bueno (KO 2), Junior Jones (KO 4), Wayne McCullough (W 12), Marco Antonio Barrera (W 12)
Also Faced in Other Divisions: Barrera (L 12, L 12), Kevin Kelley (KO 7), Guty Espadas Jr. (W 12, KO 3), In Jin Chi (W 12), Paulie Ayala (W 12), Jesus Chavez (W 12), Carlos Hernandez (W 12), Manny Pacquiao (W 12, KO by 10, KO by 3), Zahir Raheem (L 12), David Diaz (L 12), Marcos Maidana (L 12).