Marcos Maidana and Erik Morales are set to meet on Saturday at the MGM in Las Vegas for the WBA light welterweight title. Maidana is 27 years old, 29-2, and coming off a loss to Amir Khan in December. Before the loss, he had recorded impressive wins over Victor Cayo and Victor Ortiz. Now he’s set to face Erik Morales who’s 34 years old, 51-6, and whose partial claim to fame is going 1-2 in legendary trilogies against Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao. After losing four straight fights from ’05-’07 (including two to Pacquiao), Morales decided to hang up the gloves and he retired for just over two years.
Morales returned to the ring a year ago, has won three fights since, and is now fighting an up-and-comer. During a recent press conference to promote the fight, Maidana was asked for his thoughts on how Morales looked in his three comeback fights. Maidana was not kind, saying “he looked like a fighter that was retired for two years, but that doesn’t take away anything. I’m prepared for the best possible Morales for this fight. I think that he’s going to come.”
Maidana is preparing for the old Morales, but his words point to an issue for Erik — he has a long way to go to get back to his old form. Now if you thought the critical talk was all going one direction, you were wrong.
Morales has pointed to punches to the back of the head — “rabbit punches” — as a questionable tactic Maidana employs when he fights. When asked about the rabbit punches, Morales said “it’s a shame that he does not admit that he has done it in the past because he has done it in the past. He’s hit fighters in the back of the head and in places where he’s not supposed to. I just hope that he stays clean for this fight and I hope the referee does his job because if he does something that’s dirty, I’ve always been a clean fighter, but if he does something that’s dirty then he’s going to get some payback.”
I wouldn’t quite say this fight has been taken to a Bernard Hopkins-Jean Pascal level, but there certainly were unpleasant words exchanged between the two. The excitement for this fight is building, and I’m going with Maidana to win it.Google+