BROOKLYN — Four-division titleholder Erik Morales vows for a different result in Saturday night’s Showtime-televised rematch with Danny Garcia at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., having blamed his loss to Garcia in March on gall bladder surgery that he endured last December.
But Garcia (24-0, 15 knockouts) has taken issue with the assertions of Morales (52-8, 36 KOs), whom he dropped in the 11th-round of a unanimous decision victory which earned the WBC belt. Garcia followed that up with a fourth-round knockout of Amir Khan in July, which added the RING and WBA belts to his repertoire.
As a result of the surgery, Morales, 36, withdrew from his originally scheduled match up with Garcia that was slated for Jan. 28, and he came in overweight for their clash at 142 pounds.
Prior to the loss to Garcia, 24, Morales became Mexico’s first fighter to win four belts over as many different weight classes with last September’s 10th-round TKO over the previously unbeaten Pablo Cesar Cano.
The question for the aging Morales is wheather he can recapture the glory he once had, resulting from his winning one of three bouts in separate trilogies with eight-division title-winner Manny Pacquiao and three-division title-winner Marco Antonio Barrera.
The challenge is to quell the momentum of a surging Garcia, who is after his fifth straight triumph over a current or former world titleholder following consecutive decisions over ex-beltholders Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt in April and October of last year, respectively.
Will youth triumph over experience or vice versa? RingTV.com polled several insiders for that answer.
Danny Garcia UD 12 Erik Morales: Danny Garcia does all of the things an aged Erik Morales doesn’t want him to do. He’s fast, a bit rangy and doesn’t barrel in headfirst.
Morales isn’t quick enough anymore to either win a boxing match against someone with those characteristics, or hunt him down.
There’s also the question of whether Morales can or wants to make weight anymore. Garcia should be too young, too quick and too fit for Morales…again. Garcia by 12-round unanimous decision.
Danny Garcia TKO Erik Morales: Smarts and tactical proficiency won’t offset Erik Morales’ bad timing, which isn’t altogether his fault. Morales exercised a rematch clause, but the guess here is that he’ll wish he hadn’t.
Danny Garcia is at the peak of his confidence and approaching his prime since his stunning fourth-round stoppage of Amir Khan.
Morales is no dummy. He won’t rush into an exchange he can’t win. But it won’t matter. It’ll just take a little longer for the younger, powerful Garcia to overwhelm the shopworn Morales.
Danny Garcia W 12 Erik Morales: All of the stars must line up perfectly for the 36-year-old future Hall of Famer to reverse the result. Erik Morales has to make the weight, be in better shape and hope that his still-effective jab can open up Danny Garcia’s scar tissue.
Garcia, however, is coming off the high of the Amir Khan fight, and he will come in with a boatload of confidence. If that confidence doesn’t cross over into complacency, he will emerge victorious. The guess here is that Garcia will keep his emotions in check and do the job he needs to do.
Danny Garcia late KO Erik Morales: Danny Garcia showed he’s got what it takes to fight at the championship, and I don’t see anything different in this rematch.
Garcia is the younger fresher fighter and this is a young mans game. Erik Morales always puts up a great fight, but I think his best days are in the past. Garcia by late-round knockout.
Danny Garcia UD 12 Erik Morales: I can’t see this fight playing out much different from their first fight. It’ll be reasonably competitive early, but Danny Garcia will wear down the aged legend, Erik Morales, and comfortably win another decision in what should be a television-friendly fight.
Danny Garcia TKO 10 Erik Morales: Erik Morales is one of my favorite fighters over the past 15 years. What he has given to the sport in excitement and guts cannot really be measured.
I hate to see him get carried out on his shield, but that is what I think will happen in this fight. Danny Garcia is clearly better than most of us gave him credit for, and youth is going to be served in this one.
Fight will be competitive for a few rounds, but then Garcia takes over and sends Erik into retirement and into the Hall of Fame.
Danny Garcia W 12 Erik Morales: I don’t see Erik Morales getting any better, while Danny Garcia is a confident young man about now. Nice enough to return the favor of a title shot, Garcia may very well just ease up on his way to a points win.
Danny Garcia TKO 9 Erik Morales: Danny Garcia appears to be one of those unbeaten fighters who just gets better with every challenge and outing.
Now a unified junior welterweight titleholder, following his destruction of Amir Khan, I expect him to go up another notch again this weekend and TKO the Mexican warrior, Erik Morales, in the latter stages.
Danny Garcia W 12 Erik Morales: I like Danny Garcia to outbox Erik Morales for a decision win. Garcia has championship experience under his belt now and he has shown himself to be improving fight by fight. I like him to beat Morales a little bit easier than the first time around.
Danny Garcia W 12 Erik Morales: One could make a case for a late stoppage here, but it’s hard to see Erik Morales staying down against Danny Garcia.
This is probably his last, last, last shot. He’ll let it all hang out. Garcia, at this point, is just too good and should win easier than the first time.
Erik Morales W 12 Danny Garcia: I think Erik Morales knows exactly how to beat Danny Garcia in their rematch. The question is whether his body, clearly worn down by so many wars, will cooperate. I suspect it will.
Morales, who in his prime was a far better fighter than Garcia, probably took the younger fighter for granted the first time around because of his limited boxing ability. That won’t the case this time. Morales will be ready and win a clear decision.
Danny Garcia KO Erik Morales: I have a very confident Danny Garcia pushing the envelope much more this time against Erik Morales. He’ll probably run into a few good counters on the way to a late round corner stoppage.
Danny Garcia UD 12 Erik Morales: Erik Morales will be tough as always, and his guile will keep him competitive. But youth is a tough thing to overcome, and Danny Garcia has that.
Danny Garcia KO 8 Erik Morales: Danny Garcia has got it all over Erik Morales at this stage of Erik Morales’ career. He’s got superior power, quickness and, at this moment, boxing skills and the will to win.
Morales, 36, has the guile of a veteran boxer who has been through the wars. But I believe he’s just looking for some easy money before he retires. And he will retire after getting knocked out by Garcia in the eighth round.
By an overwhelming, 13-1, the experts favor Danny Garcia to be victorious, yet again, over Erik Morales, and, perhaps in more dominant fashion than before.
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Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org