Saturday’s bout between weary veteran Erik Morales and Lightweight belt-holder David Diaz has failed to cause much of a stir on either side of the pond. Lost in the post fight fog of the Hopkins victory and the hubbub of the Hatton v Mayweather announcement, the fight pitches chunky champion Diaz versus the world’s oldest 30 year old. Setanta are airing the fight free to subscribers in the UK. To paraphrase Victoria Beckham; “That’s Major!”
Even writing this brief heads up, I feel melancholic about Saturday’s bout. Morales is offered the chance to become the first Mexican to claim a portion of the World title at four different weights. More likely? The fresher Diaz will pound the gutsy Mexican into retirement. A professional since he was 16, Morales has fought a catalogue of outstanding fighters and illuminated the divisions he’s graced with his trademark expressionless face and an unconquerable spirit, now 30 – and with a lot of punishment absorbed – the end is surely nigh.
Four defeats in his last five fights, evidence of the decline from his illustrious and fearsome prime, a purple period of around six years through which he tangled with and beat Barrera, Chi, Ayala, Kelley, McCullough, Jones and Zaragoza across two divisions. Morales became one of the most feared fighters in boxing, a hero to his Mexican people and a major television attraction.
Nostalgia rarely prevails over form though and Morales looked old in recent bouts – savaged by a rampant Pacquiao, made to look ponderous by Zahir Raheem – Morales must know the clock is ticking and that even the WBC’s generosity cannot extend beyond this underserved shot.As he walks toward the ring Saturday night, I’ll be watching thousands of miles away and I’ll have that awkward, uncomfortable, sinking feeling. Similar to the one we all feel when we’re late on a deadline and the boss is calling. You know what lies ahead.
Morales, sadly, looks way past the deadline too.
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