Report and photo by Felipe Leon
For undefeated super flyweight southpaw Ivan “Niño Maravilla” Morales (19-0, 12KOs) the future can’t come soon enough. Like for any twenty-one year old, anything is better than right now and it is no different for the younger brother of former champions Erik and Diego Morales who wants his time under the limelight and this is the year he is going to get. He will take his first step this Saturday night, January 19th, when he goes for his twentieth consecutive win in an eight rounder against hard hitting former victim Patricio Camacho (16-7-1, 13KOs) of Guasave, Mexico, on the undercard of Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson’s (25-2, 23KOs) defense of his WBC International Silver super featherweight title against Moises Castro (29-19-4, 13KOs). The Golden Boy Promotions fight card will take place at the Convention Center of Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, and will be broadcast live in that country by Televisa.
“I think I closed out 2012 well but it was a year with a lot of starts and stops. This year we have bigger plans,” a determined Ivan said after a rigorous work out at the Zona Norte gym his father Jose founded. “I have faith that this year I will be fighting for a world title. I need to win my first fight in January and look good doing it. Show the fans what I am made of, hopefully fight with some world ranked fighters and look for a world title opportunity. I think I am ready, this is my fourth year as a professional fighter and if the world title doesn’t come this year, I think I will seriously think about what I am doing in this sport. I don’t like to fail and me not winning a world title this year would be like failing in my eyes.”
Despite saying that he doesn’t feel pressure in filling the shoes of his brother Erik, a seven-time world champion and the first Mexican to win titles in four divisions, or of Diego, former WBO super flyweight champion and now his trainer, Ivan feels that his time has come in 2013 and he wants to make the most of it. “I don’t feel pressure, I am asked a lot about that but I do my work. I know that it is not about filling their shoes but to leave my mark and I am sure that this year, I will be able do more than people’s expectations. I feel that I have done the work to win a world title this year and I want to bring a world title to the city of Tijuana, to my family and be the third world champion in my family with the support of my brothers Erik and Diego, my dad and my promoter, Golden Boy.”
Hot on their heals are the Kameda brothers of Japan, Koki, Daiki and Tomoki, who are also going after the first distinction. Koki and Daiki have captured WBA world titles while Tomoki is on the doorstep of challenging for a bantamweight strap soon. For the youngest of the fighting Morales, he feels that he holds the trump card if everything goes according to the plan.
“I have heard of them, the Kameda family, but the fact that they are trying does not add any pressure to me,” Morales explains with a sly smile on his face. “I hope they do it and they can make their dream come true although I think we have the advantage because my brothers were able to reach their world titles as undefeated fighters and if I reach my goal, I would like to be undefeated also and that would be a great mark to hit and difficult to do again. There have never been two brothers to be undefeated and become world champions except for my brothers Erik and Diego and I would be the third so if we could achieve it, it would be magnificent. To leave something in history so that in the future other families could strive for it would be something.”
As far as his next opponent, a fighter that Morales has faced before and defeated in less than three minutes, it’s only a matter of time that Morales will have him in his rear view mirror. “I have fought him before, I knocked him out in the first round. This time my goal is to work and go more rounds. I want to gain some experience but I don’t have a doubt that I am going to win by knock out.”