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Morales provides boxing a source of dependency

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Here's my reflectional piece on this past weekend in Vegas for Leave It In The Ring. Deals with the comeback of Erik Morales, the Vivian Harris debacle in Primm, and just general thoughts on the Morales-Maidana bout that is a serious contender for Fight of the Year. Feedback is appreciated.




Morales provides boxing a source of dependency

Mark Ortega


It was a fight that, once over, rendered the official verdict pretty meaningless if you were fortunate enough to catch the action and see it for what it was. Sure, ten years down the line, someone who may not know any better might check out Boxrec, see “Marcos Maidana MD12 Erik Morales,” and think nothing of it, but to those lucky enough to count themselves as one of the more than 7,000 in attendance or one of the few hundred thousand that tuned in live, it was an epic night in the storied career of one of boxing's great warriors.


It's entirely possible that Marcos Maidana may never reach the elite level of the sport, but that won't diminish what Morales was able to do against him at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this past weekend.


What Morales accomplished was something that Victor Ortiz was unable to do and Amir Khan was unwilling to—stand and trade with Marcos Maidana and make it to the final bell without so much as being staggered. Both Ortiz and Khan will fight in separate bouts this coming Saturday on HBO, and between the two of them they don't quite possess the heart and fighting spirit that has garnered “El Terrible” an abundance of support over a professional career that has spanned 17 years.


It's a major reason why when Morales returned to Las Vegas for the first time in nearly five years, he saw a turnout of fans comparable to that in his prime.


Those same fans can be given some of the credit for pushing Morales through the twelve round Fight of the Year candidate with Maidana. The fight felt a bit like a soccer event, and Morales was most definitely inspired by the chants of “Mo-ra-LES” throughout the bout, as well as the raucous cheers every time he landed so much as a stiff jab.


It's also a reason why Morales started off as a huge underdog, about six to one, and by fight time he was bet down closer to three to one. It wasn't because those fans had any particular information that would force them to believe he could turn back the clock against the hardest hitting puncher in a division that he probably didn't belong in, but mostly because of the wars and fighting spirit Morales had displayed throughout an illustrious career that until recently had seen him take on mainly elite competition. As the HBO commentating team of Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman pointed out, it wasn't smart money coming in on Morales but “sentimental money.”





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