SAN DIEGO – March 23, 2012 – Youth vs. experience presents one of boxing’s classic archetype fights. The master and the apprentice face off and either there is an honorable passing or the torch, or a youngster gets schooled.
So which will it be in Saturday’s (3/28/2012) main event in Houston, Texas in the 140-pound match-up between 35-year-old veteran Mexican boxer Erik “El Terrible” Morales and undefeated Philadelphia boxer Danny Garcia?
Morales (52-7, 36 KOs) won his first world title at age 21 in 1997. He has fought some of the best fighters of the last 15 years, and the only one to knock him out was Manny Pacquiao. But he lost four consecutive fights, and then took three years off from 2007 to 2010. Since returning, Morales has won four of five bouts. His one loss was perhaps his best fight and a candidate for the best fight of 2011, a narrow loss to Marcos Maidana in April 2011.
While Danny Garcia must respect Morales’ legacy, he will show him no mercy in the ring. The 24-year-old is undefeated (22-0, 14 KOs), and possesses the magic brand of confidence that is youth. He is strong, and naturally bigger. There is likely no doubt in his mind he can beat Morales. It’s not arrogance; Garcia simply believes he has the tools to win.
But Garcia hasn’t fought a top tier fighter yet, and even though Morales may be past his physical prime, he will have a deep well of tactical experience to draw upon. There isn’t a situation Morales hasn’t seen before and Garcia can’t surprise him with much.
Garcia should have stamina on his side. If he’s smart, he should try to keep Morales busy and tire him out so he can try to catch him making a mistake in the later rounds. But if Morales is in good condition and can pace himself, he can probably outwit Garcia and he will also try to catch Garcia making a mistake.
And perhaps the concerns about Morales’ age are overblown. Sergio Martinez won handily and looked fresh last week in his knockout victory over Matthew Macklin at age 37; his age is not a factor.
Morales and Garcia were originally scheduled to fight in January, but Morales had emergency gall bladder surgery and needed a little extra time to recover. While gallbladder surgery is considered minor in the scheme of things anymore. It remains to be seen whether this might affect Morales, and whether Garcia will test him with some well placed body shots.
Garcia will put on a good fight. Expect him to demonstrate youthful energy in the ring. But Morales has all the fundamentals and he’s smart. Morales is beloved by his Mexican fans, and the crowd in Texas will be pulling for Morales, which could inspire Morales if his energy is flagging. Either man is capable of a knockout, but unless someone makes a mistake we won’t see one. We’ll see a close decision, and I’m calling it for Morales.
The undercard fight on this double-header is of more interest to many fans. Light middleweights James Kirkland (30-1, 27 KOs) and Carlos “King” Molina of Mexico (19-4-2, 6 KOs) will fight 12 rounds. Kirkland’s last fight was a memorable brawl with Alfredo Angulo in Mexico, in which he came back from a first round knockout, waited until Angulo punched himself out, and took over with a wicked, relentless attack. The victory was critically important, as Kirkland had lost badly in his previous fight.
Kirkland’s trainer adds great interest to an already intriguing story. Ann Wolfe is one of the few female trainers at this level of the sport. A former professional fighter herself, she is known for her unorthodox, viciously difficult training methods. Kirkland’s one loss came after he left Wolfe for another trainer. His victory over Angulo came after he went back to Wolfe’s fold.
Carlos Molina won a decisive unanimous decision over Kermit Cintron last July. Like Kirkland, he’s not one to hold himself back. These boxers like to fight. Their CompuBox numbers match up quite evenly with one exception. Kirkland connects far more power punches, and he showed in the Angulo fight he can put up some defense if pressed to do so. The edge goes to Kirkland, but his one loss was such a bad one, there are still doubts about him.
Whoever wins this fight will become a candidate to face some of the bigger names in this weight class, like Alvarez, Cotto, Martinez, perhaps even Mayweather and Pacquiao. The fight a lot of people would love to see is Kirkland and the Mexican sensation Canelo Alvarez. Count me in there. But Kirkland must beat Molina first and it’s not a given. This is one undercard fight that will be equal to and might even outshine the main event.
So be in your seat on time.
It’s all “Going Down in the Lone Star State.” The action from Reliant Arena in Houston airs on HBO and HBO Latino live starting at 10 p.m. EDT / 7:00 p.m PDT.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group
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