A report by BoxingScene.com's Jhonny Gonzalez and NotiFight.com's Jose Luis Camarillo confirms that Erik Morales will be back in action on July 30, which is the date of a Golden Boy Promotions pay-per-view with HBO. One fight being worked on for that bout is Chris John v. Daniel Ponce de Leon, but it looks like the main event will indeed include Erik Morales.
Morales (51-7, 35 KO) is coming off of a stirring performance on April 9, where the Mexican legend fought for 11½ rounds with one eye and took heavily-favored Argentine slugger Marcos Maidana to the wire in a fight some felt Morales had done enough to win. With his surprisingly competitive performance, there is now demand for Morales fights in the U.S. for the first time since 2006. It's an unlikely story and in most ways a pleasant story, but there are some more troubling aspects that I'll talk about in a moment.
Morales says that his first wish is to rematch Maidana at 140 pounds (well they called the PPV "Action Heroes," and most hit action movies get a sequel), but if he can't do that then he'd like to get down to 135 and try on one of them titlists there. Legitimate division champion Juan Manuel Marquez would be the best fight of that group, and one of only two that might even be possible. Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KO) is currently mulling his options, but says he's likely to fight in July. That fight could come as a free agent under his own promotional banner, but there is a solid chance he signs a new deal with Golden Boy Promotions, and Marquez-Morales makes plenty of sense for both guys, business-wise. With their fanbases, the fight would make good money at the gate in Las Vegas or in Mexico, and would likely sell very well for a second-tier pay-per-view in the States.
If not Marquez or Maidana, Morales' wishes could point to Humberto Soto, who himself is currently a free agent. If Soto were to sign with Golden Boy, which has been rumored, then Soto-Morales could be a possibility. I would expect that HBO would strongly prefer Marquez or Maidana to Soto, but we're talking about a network that put Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora on pay-per-view last September.
This is all speculation outside of Morales saying he'd like to fight Maidana again, but if these were your three options, which would you prefer? I'll throw in a fourth option just for kicks.