Danny Garcia did it in March, but can he beat Erik Morales a second time tomorrow night in Brooklyn, and strengthen his claim to being the best 140-pound fighter in the world?
Imagine the first fight except with Garcia less nervous and Morales in better condition. Basically they're going to throw more punches this time, but the outcome will be the same. At times Morales will still take Garcia to school, but most of the time Garcia's youth and power will dictate the fight. In the first fight Morales clearly had the better jab and pretty much did better with straight punches in general. I expect the jab to be Morales' ace in the hole yet again and if Garcia doesn't jab with him it's going to be yet another long night. If anyone gets knocked out it will be Morales, but I doubt it. Garcia UD-12.
I don't really have any reason to believe this should play out any differently from the first fight. Garcia is better than "this version" of Morales, and by a pretty clear margin. Morales will have his moments because his balls are simply too big not to, but Garcia takes it by a pretty clear decision.
I don't really like anything about this fight for Morales. Until the USADA stuff and the weigh-in today, I actually had designs on possibly picking a tear-jerker Morales upset -- he showed in March, out of shape, that he can outbox Garcia at times, even school him. But whether or not Morales had to take a substance to cut weight, or it was a coincidence, we're talking about a 36-year-old super bantamweight who fights now at junior welterweight on pure intelligence and guts. I'm also not sure what it is about Garcia here, whether or not I think his confidence must be sky-high because of the way he smashed Amir Khan, or it's just that my confidence in him shot up because of that. It could be either. It could be both. Either way, I think Garcia handles this one. He knows Morales better this time, won't be nervous on the big stage, and is fighting with a chip on his shoulder, and probably with another chip his dad put there, too. Garcia TKO-9.
With Morales' positive ‘A' test on Thursday, and his failure to make weight for the first fight, there's almost a sense of déjà vu about the build-up to what, at least inside the ring, should be more of the same in terms of entertaining fare.
The question of whether the rematch is entirely necessary can be met by a swift one-word answer, but, assuming Morales isn't affected too much by the controversy and speculation, the chances are that he'll bring it to Garcia here for at least as long as he lasts.
It's a fairly hefty assumption. At 36, and against a guy who not only has a host of advantages on paper, but who managed to play them out last time around, the feeling is that everything would need to have gone right in order for Morales to win this. I'm finding it difficult to backing Morales to quit, but what seems more likely is that Garcia has things even more his way own way in the sequel. Garcia by wide UD.
I love Erik Morales. His wars with Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao were the stuff that dreams are made of. I thought his fight with Marcos Maidana in 2011 was the fight of the year, a thrilling back-and-forth between a warrior in the twilight of his career and a monster puncher in his prime. And I thought the old legend had a case for winning, employing the finely tuned craft of a savvy veteran with the courage of a battle-tested soldier to rattle and bedazzle Maidana for significant stretches of the fight. But this is 2012. In March, he blew off weight and turned in a drab performance against Danny Garcia, only fighting on even terms early in the fight because of Garcia's own tentative inactivity. On Saturday in the rematch, Morales will enter the ring under the black cloud of irregularities in his drug test. Early reports sounded like he was using something to cut weight, not to build muscle, but regardless, it's not a very positive omen. I had no interest in the rematch when it was announced months ago, and only managed to muster up some because, hell, that's what they're giving us so I might as well look forward to it....NOT! Garcia by mid-round TKO.
I didn't put the key in the ignition on the Danny Garcia bandwagon, but I am the proud owner of a spare key and am ready to step in whenever necessary. And I'm not shy about it, not too long ago I named him on of the five next stars in boxing and I think this will be a showcase for him.
As for Morales, with all the drug testing stuff and the awkward weigh in it is easy to forget that he has proven himself to be a legit 140 pounder with his performance against Marcos Maidana. But all legendary careers don't end in legendary fashion and at some point 140 has to be too much for Erik to handle. I like Garcia by a late stoppage that was all but decided at that point.
I had their first fight a little closer than most, scoring it 114-113 for Garcia with a knockdown scored by Garcia being the difference. This time, I think he finishes the job. I feel Morales is now totally ready to go. He had his big comeback against Maidana and put up a valiant effort in the first bout with Garcia. But I feel he is toast. Garcia will likely want to make a statement against an older, slower opponent and that spells doom for "El Terrible". I think Morales will make it into the later rounds on guile, but he will worn out before he hears the final bell. Garcia will then step on the gas and take him out. This one will finally put Morales away from boxing for good. Garcia by late stoppage.
Whilst their first meeting was entertaining, I don't feel there was a need for a rematch. That said, Morales will always be in good fights and this shouldn't be any different. I can see a very similar fight to their first with Morales giving it all he's got but not being young enough or fresh enough to mount a serious challenge.
I can see the fight being close for four rounds before Garcia starts to dominate in the middle rounds. Only Manny Pacquiao has halted Morales inside the distance, it would be impressive if Garcia did so but it's most likely Garcia will retain his titles on points.
Final Tally: Danny Garcia 8, Erik Morales 0.