“Barrera and Morales had a very heated rivalry. It was a legitimate rivalry. There was total dislike from each of them and from both sides. Erik maybe let his feelings out more, and Barrera, maybe kept it in and was more reserved. So Marco wouldn’t respond that way toward Erik,” said Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz, who once worked with Barrera.
“The one time they had an altercation at a press conference before the second fight, there was an exchange of words to each other when they were posed. But I think that deep down, on both sides, they respected each other because they made great fights together. So publicly, they wouldn’t attack each other so much — not to the media and to the public. It was more personal. It was always the fighter versus the fighter.”
But the 36-year-old Morales (52-8, 36 knockouts) has had to endure some out-right public abuse in advance of Saturday night’s rematch with Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs), who dropped Morales in the 11th-round of a unanimous decision victory which earned the WBC belt in March.
Sitting next to his father and trainer, Jorge, during a Wednesday press conference at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Brooklyn, Mexico’s first, four-division title-winner apparently heard Garcia’s father and trainer, Angel Garcia, question his heart, curse his mother and challenge his father to a fight “for a million dollars,” according to Angel Garcia.
“Erik said something, and he said something back to Erik in Spanish. I got scared right there. I thought they were going to start throwing blows. There were just a lot of bad words,” said Golden Boy matchmaker, Eric Gomez.
“He said that they ain’t s–t. F–k your mother, just a lot of bad stuff. Just bad stuff. It was just a lot of bad words in Spanish. The energy is high, the adrenalin is flowing, and these guys are ready to go.”
So heated was the exchange between Morales and Angel Garcia, who is of Puerto Rican descent, that Diaz and Gomez were poised to remove Garcia from the podium.
“Angel’s very emotional and he’s ready to go. There’s a lot of heart and pride on the line. The Mexicans have a lot of pride, and the Puerto Ricans have a lot of pride. There’s a lot that goes into it,” said Gomez.
“But when you drop the F-bomb, and you start talking about someone’s mother, you know, you don’t do that. There’s certain subjects that you don’t touch, and you don’t talk about someone’s mother.”
Angel Garcia began his obscenity-laced attack by saying that Morales had been dominated by his son.
“First of all, he knows what the f–k it is. He knows what the f–k it is. His father knows what the f–k it is. So f–k all of that courtesy s–t,” said Angel Garcia, in English.
“It is what it is. All of the boys in the blue corner [Morales' camp members] suck. The blue corner sucks. The blue corner sucks. The blue corner ain’t s–t. you know what it is. Cheaters don’t win, pop. Cheaters don’t win, pop.”
Angel Garcia then began speaking in Spanish to Morales and Jose Morales, growing more animated and drawing more reaction — including boos — from the many members of the crowd who understood what he was saying.
“As his father, you’re not taking good care of your son,” said Angel Garcia, screaming and gesturing at Jose Morales, who was to his left. “I’ll be honest to God with you, you’re not taking care of your son.”
A man who won one of three bouts in the separate trilogies with Barrera and eight-division title-winner Manny Pacquiao, and who became Mexico’s first four-division titleholder with last September’s 10th-round TKO over the previously unbeaten Pablo Cesar Cano, Morales said that he was not offended by Angel Garcia’s remarks.
“They’re very scared, I assure you of that. That’s just how they’re dealing with it, so it doesn’t matter to me. On Saturday, I’ll be ready,” said Morales, who blamed his loss to Garcia on gall bladder surgery that he endured last December. “I told his father that I’m going to knock his son out this time.”