“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.” – Sun Tzu, Art of War
If there is a man in the last twenty years who would be more than qualified to write boxing’s version of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, it would be Tijuana’s Erik “Terrible” Morales. The fighter from the tough neighborhood of the Zona Norte, has proven with superb skill, courage and bravado what a true warrior is and in a nineteen year pro career has won the hearts of his beloved Mexico’s fight fans as well thousands around the world.
On Saturday night, the thirty-five year old Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) walked out of the ring in his last hurrah, at least in the United States, on tired legs but his head held high as a little less than six thousand fans witnessed Philadelphia’s Danny “Swift” Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs) win the WBC light welterweight title via a unanimous decision at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas.
The twelve round main event was broadcast live by HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” series and presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Morales’ Box Latino.
A seven-time world champion, Morales is the first Mexican to win four world titles in four weight classes, super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight and light welterweight, the last one via 10th round TKO over previously unbeaten Pablo Cesar Cano last September. The twenty-four year old Garcia earned the right to challenge Morales by defeating former champion Kendall Holt with a unanimous decision for the #2 spot in both the IBF and WBC in his last fight late last year.
Morales established his stiff jab early on while Garcia targeted Morales soft body with ripping hooks to the mid section. Garcia began to find success with his speed that allowed him to counter punch Morales’ straight right hands and do some damage to the Tijuanense’s face. Warmed up, Morales began to pressure in the fourth as he put together three and four punch combinations than began to the body of Garcia in hopes of slowing down the Philadelphia speedster and ending to the head looking to knock him out. Garcia’s face began to show the wear and tear from the Morales jab as his nose began to bleed and he developed a mouse under his right eye.
In the sixth, Morales began to lean against the ropes and waited for Garcia to attack. Morales would then sneak in a right upper cut followed by hooks and straight punches to the face. Garcia was still able to land flush counter right hands but Morales would get the better of the exchanges. When Garcia scored with a lighting fast combo to end the seventh, Morales grinned, as he seemed to say, “Ok, you got me.”
As Morales began to tire, Garcia was able to land more consistently while Morales rested against the ropes. Not to be out done while the overwhelmingly pro-Morales crowd chanted his name, “El Terrible” turned into the “Professor” as he displayed his skill as he timed Garcia’s attack and scored with left hook and uppercuts all the while Garcia kept coming forward and scoring to the body with devastating right hooks.
After his father showed him the scorecards at the end of the ninth to prove to him that he was behind, Morales looked to put a finish to Garcia in the tenth as the young man’s nose, which looked to be broken from Morales’ jab, began to swell.
While Morales mounted a final surge in the middle of the ring to start the eleventh, Garcia caught him with a short left hook right after a Morales’ uppercut that caught the Tijuana fighter right on the chin that leveled him down to his knees. Morales slowly reached his feet at the count of eight but the damage was done. The twelfth and final round was pretty much Garcia’s victory lap as neither fighter did much of anything while Morales’ corner implored him to go for the knock out but there was not much left in the tank.
After twelve hard fought rounds, all three judges had it for Garcia with wide margins of 117-110, 116-112 and 118-109 in a fight that live was much closer than the scores indicate.
James “Mandigo Warrior” Kirkland (31-1, 27KOs) remained undefeated after struggling with renown spoiler Carlos “King” Molina (19-5-2, 6KOs) of Chicago, Illinois, by way of the Mexican state of Michoacán, after a confusion at the end of the tenth round of a scheduled twelve caused Molina to get disqualified by referee Jon Schorle in a WBC Continental Americas super welterweight title fight.
Kirkland of nearby Austin, Texas, is coming off his biggest win to date when he stopped elite super welt weight Alfredo “Perro” Angulo last year in Cancun, Mexico, while Molina beat former two-time welterweight champion Kermit Cintron with a ten round unanimous decision last July.
From early on Molina began to attack the body of the southpaw Kirkland with a jabs to the mid section of the Texan. Kirkland looked sluggish and slow even before the body attack should have bore such fruit. Molina was able to couple his body work with hooks to the head from both fists as Kirkland struggled set his own offense while he concentrated in defending himself against Molina’s steady pressure.
Molina’s clinching, which by the end of the contest got to the point of being excessive, began early but really took effect in third as he would tie up the bulkier Kirkland and easily push him to the ropes. Kirkland had difficulty putting punches together and instead looked to score heavy punches one at a time. Kirkland’s first real dominating round was the fourth as he welcomed Molina with a left upper cut to start and began to put his punches together. Molina was still having success, especially with a straight lead right to the body followed by a left hook to the top that landed more than not in this round as well as in the previous three.
Kirkland began to apply the pressure even most of his attack came from arm punches. The crafty Molina was still able to set traps that Kirkland would walk right into especially a lead right that would catch Kirkland flush to the face more than once. With the crowd behind him with chants of “Molina, Molina”, Carlos kept fighting as Kirkland, and in the opinion of many referee Jon Schorle, made it easier for him to score punches and then clinch to avoid a counter attack. Kirkland showed his inexperience or frustration in the eight as he bent at the waist to avoid Molina’s punches but when he lifted his head, he did not raise his guard and Molina landed a series of power punches to the face that forced Kirkland to take a step back.
As Molina began to slow down, Kirkland ramped it up in the ninth and tenth rounds and began to really put punches together in classic Kirkland style. A quick lead left became Kirkland’s weapon of choice as he began to land it often and more effectively. Kirkland got inside and scored with upper cuts and short hooks from either fist. Molina’s clinches intensified and at the end of the round as Kirkland was scoring with a heavy assault, Molina went down to the canvas almost at the same time the bell signaling the end of the heat rang. Molina quickly sprang to his feet to indicate he was not hurt.
As referee Jon Schorle began to administer the count, a member of Molina’s corner tried to make his way through the ropes before being signaled by Schorle to make his way out. After Schorle reached the count of eight and made sure Molina was fit to continue, he made his way to the commission and asked for a ruling. He promptly walked over to Molina and waived the contest over, awarding the win to Kirkland by disqualification while Molina and his team protested.
At the time of the disqualification, Carlos Molina was up on two cards. Judge Dave Moretti had it 88-83 while David Sutherland saw it 87-84, both for Molina, while notorious judge Gale Van Hoy inexplicably scored it 86-85 for Kirkland. Fightnews at the time of the stoppage had it 87-84 for Molina.
Jermell Charlo Scores Highlight Reel Knock Out
Super welterweight Jermell Charlo 17-0, 8KOs) scored an impressive knock out win over tough Chris Chatman (10-2-1, 5KOs) of Chicago, Illinois, by way of San Diego. After a couple of high spirited rounds where the southpaw Chatman surprisingly focused on the body with a straight left for the most part, Charlo went after the head of the bulked up former Navy man and scored with straight punches to the head. As the action began to heat up in the third and with Chatman’s back to the ropes, Charlo scored with a devastating right hand that sent Chatman to fall straight back with his head thudding hard against the canvas. As referee Gary Simmons administered the ten count, Chatman struggled but reach his feet by the count of eight. After Simmons’ took a close look, he waived off the bout with no protest from Chatman as the San Diego fighter stumbled back to his corner. Time was 1:22 of the third round.
Kavanagh Earns Rare Stoppage
Jamie Kavanagh (9-0-1, 4KOs) of Ireland but now living in Hollywood, CA, stopped Cesar Cisneros (3-4-2, 1KO) in the fifth of a scheduled lightweight six rounder by TKO to stay undefeated. Kavanagh suffered a cut over his right eye early in the match up as both fighters stayed in the pocket and hardly made their way to the outskirts of the ring. Kavanagh was quicker with his punches and scored a knockdown in the first with an over hand right to the temple. In the third, Kavanagh buckled the knees of Cisneros and went for the finish with a series of power punches led by uppercuts but the Mexican was able to handle the pressure. What Cisneros was not able to handle was Kavanagh’s skill as he caught about every punch with his face and by the second half, his nose was bleeding as well as his cheek redden. The end came after Kavanagh was able to trap Cisneros against the ropes and throw a series of punches that led to the third man in the ring to waive off the contest. Official time was 2:28.
Local Lanard Lane Pleases Fans
Houston, Texas’ welterweight Lanard Lane (13-1, 8KOs), a Houston Fire Fighter, impressed his hometown fans as he systematically broke down fellow Texan Milton Ramos (7-3-2) of Waco. The shorter Lane was able to score from the outside and inside while the game Ramos stayed right there with him. Lane proved to be too quick and skilled for Ramos who was wide and slow with his punches. Lane smashed Ramos with a hard right followed with another in the sixth that dropped the Waco fighter. Ramos beat the count and came out for the seventh but Lane finished him off at 1:34 of the eight with a barrage of punches.
Charlo Stops Wilson in Five
After busting up Shawn Wilson’s nose in the first round, Houston, Texas’ Jermall Charlo, twin of Jermell, dropped the Omaha, Nebraska, fighter mid way through the third round with a right upper cut and again in the fifth with a rich hook to the body en route to a 5th round TKO win. Charlo (9-0, 5KOs) was just to much for the over match Wilson (5-9, 1KO) with the hometown favorite landing almost at will while Wilson was only surviving after the first round. Wilson did occasionally land a punch with the over hand right being the most successful. Official time was 2:21.
Arnett Finishes Cancino Quick
Quick fisted Daquan Arnett stopped Fabian Cancino of San Antonio in the first round. Arnett of Orlando, Florida, bided his time, which was only 1:51, to catch an opening and land a right uppercut to the temple of the pudgy Cancino. The San Antonio dropped to his knees and was not able to recoup himself before the count of ten. With the win, Arnett goes to 2-0, with two stoppages while Cancino (0-4) is still looking for his first win.