Danny Garcia had trouble with the old warrior Erik Morales in March of this year, but when they met again tonight in Brooklyn, Garcia had very little trouble with the faded legend, knocking Morales out on a left hook in the fourth round to improve to 3-0 on the year, all in championship fights.
Morales (52-9, 36 KO) frankly looked like he didn't belong in there tonight, which isn't that surprising. As a 36-year-old man fighting at junior welterweight, having been his best at super bantamweight, Morales has always been testing the limits in recent fights at 140, and even back in 2007 when he fought David Diaz at 135 pounds.
But tonight, Garcia (25-0, 16 KO) came to make a statement, and he did. This isn't a fight Garcia ever particularly wanted, it would seem -- it wasn't an in-demand rematch, in all honesty, and was sort of a step back for him after he beat Amir Khan in July.
But it was put in front of him, and then this week we had the controversy of Morales failing USADA drug tests, finally passing a third, and the fight being pushed through anyway. Overall, it just wasn't a good situation all week, and the fight itself wound up being no fun to watch. Garcia was a strong, in-prime, young man matched against a guy who looked plain done.
It's a win for Garcia -- a good win, because it ends the Morales chapter of his career, and now it's time for him to go back to fighting true junior welterweights his own age. It wasn't a particularly impressive win in terms of who he beat. Yes, Erik Morales is a legend, but I wouldn't rank Muhammad Ali as one of Larry Holmes' great wins, either.
For Garcia, it's time to move forward. Bigger things await one of the year's breakout performers.