Boxing Notebook: Morales-Pacquiao
By Carlos Guzman WagerWeb.com
On Saturday night, Erik “El Terrible” Morales
will try to turn back the clock when he steps into the ring to face Manny Pacquiao
for the third and final time. For Pacquiao, he will try to quiet his doubters by winning the rubber match and solidify his place as an all-time Filipino great. Why the doubts?
After Pacquiao’s disappointing draw to Juan Manuel Marquez
, and being dominated by Morales, skeptics labeled Pacquiao a “one-trick pony.” He was one-dimensional and couldn’t deal with a boxer
. What nobody expected was Pacuqiao, thanks to the help of Freddie Roach
, was to learn a few new tricks.
In the rematch against an overconfident Morales, Pacquiao finally used “Manila Ice” (his right hand) as well as some nice boxing skills to keep Morales off-balance and befuddled throughout the early rounds. Pacquiao also invested in some body shots that eventually wore down Morales into submission. It was a masterful performance by the Filipino phenom. But can he duplicate it?
Morales claimed that he had issues with weight, plus he had a different trainer for the rematch. "I felt that Erik lost most of his strength and conditioning while making the weight for his second fight with Pacquiao," Jose Morales said. "So I was very happy that he went to Velocity for two months so he could be ready to train properly." Erik Morales seems excited about the workout and spent two months with the Velocity team to work on his weight. "They have done some things that have really rejuvenated my body, from healing some old injuries to getting me in the shape that I need be in to get ready for a fight and not worry about the weight." If I were betting based on their confidence, and Pacquiao is a -$275 favorite on WagerWeb.com, I’d have a tough time putting down my money on the table. Pacquiao has displayed the confidence Morales displayed before the second match.
"I will beat him in this fight just like I beat him last fight
," said Pacquiao. "I am the best super featherweight in the world, and I cannot wait to prove it to Erik Morales ... again. Morales will see the strength of the people of the Philippines behind every punch I land on him. This may be the 'Grand Finale' on our trilogy, but it is just the beginning for Manny Pacquiao."
As for Morales, he has taken his time off from the ring to reflect and prepare for what he must do Saturday night in Las Vegas.
"The first fight (with Pacquiao) I needed the win,'' Morales (48-4, 34 KO) said from his training camp in Mexico. "I needed to get back credibility (after losing by majority decision to Barrera in that third fight). I prepared myself well and it showed. The second fight I made too many changes in my camp. This fight we went back to basics.
"I know what people are saying. Anybody can write or say what they want. It's just words. Pacquiao says I'm an old man. That I'm done. I'll prove what I am on Nov. 18. I will show I can still be at the top level.'' If you’ve seen the pictures of Morales, he looks drained, tired. Maybe he’s hyping the fight to increase his share from the PPV revenue. Whatever the case may be, I find it hard to change my pick of Pacquiao by TKO before the 10th. McCall To Face Diaz With weeks of intense training in the bank and a fight scheduled on the highly publicized “Superfighter” card in Australia, former world heavyweight champion Oliver McCall was understandably upset when that card was postponed earlier this week. Enter Seminole Warriors Boxing, which stepped up for "The Atomic Bull" and offered him a fight against world-class Cuban banger Yanqui Diaz on their “Night of Heavyweights” card on Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood, Fla. “When one door closes, another opens, and I’m happy that Warriors was able to find a fight for me on this card,” said McCall. “I’m going to show my appreciation by putting on the fight of the night with Yanqui Diaz and then ending it with a spectacular knockout.” In addition to this explosive bout on “Night of Heavyweights” -- which will be televised live on pay-per-view beginning at 9 p.m. ET -- three-time world heavyweight champion Michael Moorer returns to the squared circle and young gun Israeli heavyweight Roman Greenberg will be in action, putting his unbeaten record on the line. As one of only two men to defeat future Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis, McCall (48-8, 35 KOs) certainly needs no introduction to fight fans. But with his granite chin, concussive power and wealth of experience, the 41-year-old Chicago native may just be the most underrated force in the division today. After bursting on the world scene with his second-round TKO of Lewis in September 1994, McCall defended his crown with a win over Larry Holmes before being upset by the UK’s Frank Bruno in September 1995. McCall would fall off the boxing radar after his 1997 defeat to Lewis in their rematch, but since that fight, he would compile an amazing 20-1 (2 no contests) record, including a current unbeaten streak of eight fights. In his last bout, on Sept. 9, McCall won the vacant WBC Fecarbox title with a fourth-round stoppage of Darroll Wilson, and "The Atomic Bull" won’t stop charging until he has a world title belt back around his waist. A product of the legendary Cuban amateur boxing system, Diaz (13-4, 8 KOs) compiled over 190 wins as an amateur before coming to the United States and launching a pro career in 2002. Best remembered for his stunning first-round knockout of countryman and former world champion Juan Carlos Gomez (who was 37-0 at the time) in 2004, Diaz also holds a win over Vaughn Bean and has been in with the likes of Sam Peter, Kirk Johnson and Jason Estrada. McCall should dispose of Diaz in 6 rounds or less. McCall’s chin is solid, and his boxing skills are solid. I’d love to see McCall take on Evander Holyfield or Shannon Briggs. Unlike both of these guys, McCall's stamina in the later rounds would pull him through a clear win and possibly a world title around his waist. WagerWeb Boxing