Danny Garcia dropped Erik Morales in the 11th round of a competitive 12-round junior welterweight title bout to beat the Mexican legend by unanimous decision and win the vacant WBC belt in Houston, Texas, on Saturday.
Garcia (23-0, 14 knockouts), who won by scores of 118-109, 117-110, and 116-112, used a counter-punching style to trouble the 35-year-old legend throughout the mostly tactical bout, which was televised live on HBO.
Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) out-jabbed the 24-year-old contender, but was often caught by hard counter rights and hooks. One of the Philly native’s hooks dropped Morales hard in the 11th round, just as the future hall of famer was scoring well and coming forward.
Morales barely held on to survive the 11th and didn’t have much left for the final round.
“His style gave me problems,” admitted Morales, who lost the WBC 140-pound belt at Friday’s weighin when he came in at 142 pounds. “It seems like my age caught up to me tonight.”
It did, but the old warrior still fought well enough to give Garcia his toughest fight.
“I won this fight with my conditioning,” said Garcia, who was overcome with emotion. “If you have dreams, hold on to them. I’m proof that they come true.”
A full post-fight column will be posted later.