Morales surprises

By Tom Donelson BASN Staff Writer
Updated: April 10, 2011

Erik Morales

Erik Morales

IOWA CITY, IOWA—Erik Morales was a Hall of Fame fighter but those days were long past and what he had left was the question as he faced the tough Marcos Maidana in a night called Action Heroes.

In the first round, the big fears about Morales looked justified as Maidana jabbed Morales and forced Morales to the rope. Morales managed to connect with a left hook but whatever quickness he had seemed to disappeared and his eyes started to swell from Maidana punches. Maidana started to connect when he trapped Morales on the rope.

Morales tried to keep his distance from Maidana but he was unable to keep Maidana left from connecting. Toward the end of the second round and after being dominated, Morales finally nailed Maidana with a right and left that stopped Maidana briefly while fans went wild.

Morales came out of the third round popping his jab but received a Maidana right in return but he did managed a left right combination. Throughout the round, Morales managed to land some good combinations but his right eye started to shut.

Maidana tried to trap Morales on the rope in the fourth but Morales managed to escape and seems to be able to get an offense going while blocking some of Maidana incoming bombs and referee warns Maidana bout head butting so a little desperation on the part of Maidana?

Maidana attacked Morales hard at the opening of the fifth round, but Morales counters the hard charging Maidana and gets the better of the exchanges. In one exchange, Maidana lands a right but Morales connects with his own right followed by another right and then a left hook to Maidana chin. Morales had his best right round of the night he consistently nailed Maidana with left hooks and right uppercuts.

With Morales gaining momentum in the fifth round, Maidana chased Morales by unleashing combinations and Morales countered back with a right hand. Morales showed the guile of a veteran as Maidana missed with his punches while getting countered. Over the last thirty seconds Maidana forced Morales to retreat, but Morales nailed Maidana with solid shots as he retreated away from Maidana. Could the pundits be wrong about Morales? Halfway through the bout, Morales looked like he can go toe to toe against one of the hardest punching junior welterweights. If Morales looked old in the first round, he looked like a master going into the second half of the fight.

Throughout the next two rounds both men connected with solid shots but at the opening of the eighth round, a Morales left hook nailed Maidana but Maidana stayed on his feet while he nailed Morales with a solid right but Morales lands another big left. As the eighth round concluded, it was Morales who looked fresher.

Maidana threw some vicious left hooks to the body while Morales covered up for the first minute of the ninth round but after that brief Maidana right, Morales connected with a right hand, left hook followed by right upper cut. Maidana forced Morales to the rope and both throw inside shots as it is becoming a tougher fight to score. Certainly by the ninth round, many pundits were not expecting Morales to be around, much less this being a competitive fight.

In the middle of the tenth round, Morales forced Maidana to retreat with a right hand cross followed but an uppercut. Maidana tied Morale up after the uppercut. Morales landed some solid left uppercut inside the rounds concluded with a clubbing right hand by Maidana that shook Morales. This set up the eleventh round beginning as Maidana dominated the action with left hooks and right hands that forced Morales to retreat and while Morales motioned Maidana in, Maidana obliged and got the better of the exchange. Maidana appeared to have the edge going into the final round but now it looked like the final round could determine the winner.

Maidana began the last round by attacking and trapping Morales while landing body shots but Morales managed to land a right upper cut but missed with the left hook. After faking with his right, Morales nailed Maidana with a left jab and wobbled Maidana with another left jab but Morales suffered from a Maidana left hook to the body as the time wound down, both fighters go for it but Maidana ended the fight with a left hook. Morales surprised the boxing world by not just finishing on his feet but putting on a remarkable performance against a naturally bigger man. Morales lost a majority draw to a tough, younger fighter but won the audience with his courage and guile.

Paulie Malignaggi fought Jose Cotto, the brother of Miguel Cotto who had previously defeated Malignaggi. Malignaggi showed speed and defensive elusiveness but cursed with no knockout power throughout the career and often he faced fighters with more pop. Cotton had 24 KO’s in his career and he was hoping to do Malignaggi what his brother did previously.

Malignaggi started this bout fast and looked like Malignaggi of old as he moved and put together fast combinations. In the fifth round, Malignaggi unleashed a seven punch combination that looked like a blur. Cotto often could never get set as Malignaggi played hard to get as he moved while punching. In the ninth round, Malignaggi ripped a jab, left hook and finished with a right uppercut which described the rest of the fight as well. Malignaggi schooled Cotto and won nine rounds on two of the judges’ card and seven rounds on the other.

In a big surprise, the tough James Kirkland came out smoking against Nobuhiro Ishida as he attacked, he left himself open for a Ishida right hand that send the favored Kirkland down. Kirkland rose but Ishida launches more right hands as Kirkland went down a second time. Shaken, Kirkland got up one more time but now Ishida was hitting him at will and essentially pounded Kirkland from one post to another. Kirkland went down a third time and this time; the referee stopped the action as Ishida knocked the zero from Kirkland record.

Robert “the Ghost” Guerrero landed a nice left, right followed by another that buckled Mike Katsidis in their first round and as fight went through the its first half, the action picked up with Guerrero getting the best of it just as in the fifth round, when he beat Katsidis in a battle of hooks that nearly sent Katsidis down. Guerrero’s jabs opened up a cut under Katsidis eye.

Throughout the second half of the bout, Guerrero unleashed several nice combinations, and in the eighth round, Katsidis lost points for low blow and then gets nailed with jabs, right crosses and uppercuts but he managed to keep coming forward and stay on his feet.

In the ninth round, Guerrero keeps connecting on solid shots but he did lose a point for a low blow while Katsidis kept fighting hard even though he was getting the worse of it. This continued through the tenth and eleventh round as Guerrero jabbing and more accurate power punching carried the day.

In the final round, both men score with some good shots as Katsidis went for a knockout as he landed a left hook but not much steam whereas Guerrero punches still had snap on his punches as he landed solid left and rights. Guerrero won an easy decision and showed his skills at yet another division.