MoralesMaidana_Hoganphotos2Did Maidana underestimate Morales? Is Maidana overrated? There are some questions still lingering in our minds after “Action Heroes” but one thing we do know: Morales deserves credit for performing at a high level. (Hogan Photos)

LAS VEGAS-Argentina’s Marcos Maidana pulled out a majority decision over Mexico’s Erik “El Terrible” Morales, whose heroic effort surprised many but not himself on Saturday. Many are calling it the Fight of the Year.

Morales (51-7, 35 KOs) brought in the old Tijuana crowd to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas who arrived with mostly hopes and dreams of a far-fetched victory over Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs. It turned out to be more reality than fiction.

Morales survived three rounds of onslaught and an egg-sized bump alongside his right eye and managed to rally from the fifth round on with pinpoint accuracy.

Maidana felt he had all but knocked out Morales in the first three rounds but the wily Mexican proved very slippery. Power shots rained all over from Maidana but he just couldn’t find Morales enough.

The fourth round saw Morales connect with a combination and send Maidana looking to survive.

“Morales is a strong fighter, he should continue to fight,” Maidana said. “He had a lot of technique and was very fast.”

Maidana said “it was my toughest fight ever.”

Morales seemed to catch up to the Argentine by the 10th  round.

“I think it was a close fight but not a clean win for him. I think I won the fight and I threw the better punches,” said Morales. “After I saw him fight I knew I had the speed and velocity but more important the dignity.”

Morales asked for a rematch and Maidana concurred.

The judges scored it 114-114 (Dick Hauck) a draw, and Jerry Roth and Adelaide Byrd scored it 116-112 for Maidana.

HBO Latino will air the fight on Friday April 15.

Guerrero vs. Katsidis

Guerrero out-slugged Michael Katsidis for 12 rounds of a savage lightweight bout that was marred with point deductions for late hits and low blows. Guerrero’s more accurate combinations proved a marked difference as the Aussie attempted to wear down the Northern Californian with body shots that ultimately resulted in point deductions in round eight.

Round five was Guerrero’s best round as he wobbled and nearly felled Katsidis with a left hand that beat the Aussie to the punch. Katsidis staggered around as Guerrero chased but he was able to maneuver away from further danger.

Both fighters showed extreme resilience as they fought furiously in the last four rounds. Guerrero was deducted a point in round nine for hitting on the break but it didn’t matter in the end. All three judges scored it widely for Guerrero who wins the interim WBA and WBO lightweight titles.

“I fought his fight but sometimes you have to do that,” said Guerrero. “I beat him at his own game.”

All three judges scored it for Guerrero 118-106, 118-107, 117-108.

Ishida Upsets Kirkland

Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida (23-6-2, 8 KOs) apparently didn’t care about James Kirkland’s (27-1, 24 KOs) punching power and won an exchange to floor the Texan early in round one. Two more knockdowns finished the job for the Japanese middleweight with the final knockdown coming by a one-two combination at 1:52 with referee Joe Cortez stopping the middleweight fight.

“He didn’t respect me so he ran into my punches,” said Ishida.

Kirkland felt the fight was stopped prematurely.

“I’m good,” said Kirkland. “I wanted to fight.”

After the fight Ishida walked up and down the aisles of the Garden Arena with a Japanese flag and took bows and congratulations from all of the fans. He was a big hit with people in the stands.

Malignaggi Beats Big Cotto

Brooklyn’s Paul Malignaggi (29-4, 6 KOs) was wobbled in the first round by a Jose Cotto (32-3-1, 24 KOs) left hook then slipped into jabbing gear and separated himself from the marauding Boricua. Four, five and six-punch combinations by Malignaggi kept Cotto on defense for most of the 10-round fight. Though cut on the side of both eyes Malignaggi kept his eye on the prize and showed world class skills in using the jab in-between Cotto’s shots. All three judges scored it a wide margin for Malignaggi 99-91 twice and 97-93.

What most people didn’t know is the former junior welterweight world champion hurt both hands on Cotto’s head.

“I was planning to box him for the first four rounds then go after him. But I think I broke my left hand,” said Malignaggi. “I wanted to make a statement.”

Cotto felt the scores were off.

“He kept moving and I kept pressuring,” said Cotto. “I didn’t think the scores were right.”

Garcia vs. Campbell

Young stud Danny “Swift” Garcia (21-0, 14 KOs) beat always dangerous Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (33-8-1, 25 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in a junior welterweight match. Campbell withstood the early onslaught but just couldn’t generate enough punches to keep up with Garcia after 10 rounds but the former lightweight world champion had his moments.

Other bouts

Canada’s Mikael Zewski (9-0, 5 KOs) won by split decision over California’s Clint Coronel (4-2-2) after six rounds of a junior middleweight match. Coronel fired more blows but Zewski hit harder. Two judges liked the harder blows though Coronel did seem to stun Zewski twice in the six round bout. Tim Cheatham 60-54, Ricardo Ocasio 59-55 for Zewski. Herb Santos scored 60-54 for Coronel.

Russia’s Rakhim Chakhliev (9-0, 7 KOs) knocked out Detroit’s Harvey Jolly (12-16-1) at 2:18 of the third round of a cruiserweight clash. Jolly was floored with a body shot in round two. The end came apparently from a glancing blow behind the ear of Jolly.

Comment on this article


-Radam G :

The "Mandingo Warrior" Kirkland is on the downslide without the trainer "Mermaid" Ann Wolfe. He doesn't have the right chemistry with old trainer Kenny Adams. Besides, "if it ain't broke, down fix it" -- or is that don't fix it. Changing the Texan from a buckaroo buckwild whuppin'-arse machine into trying to be a tackful, southpaw slicker, caused the MW to be exposed. That is all that I will say. Wow! As I've said, boxing is definitely "the threatre of the unexpected." Every fighter should always be respected. Maidana got a scare. In him, I would not put a single share. Enough said! Holla!

-kapi :

whatever Maidana had a real fight against Morales because the Mexican legend proves all wrong - coming back with fire, determination and the tools to back it up and therefore made the most feared puncher in the catagory a true hard day in the ring , OR was it Joe cortez that stopped kirkland from raising afte the 3rd knockdown when the feared slugger was giving all the chances to destroy with ease the man from Japana - there is one very important conclusion need to be made out of that wild Saturday night of fights : BOXING is the sport and the art of self defence - you get into the ring putting all your cards on sheer punch , fear and heart you won't go too far - simple . skills , skills and more skills - this is what these young lions should learn and work out before they are being hailed as the best new thing - a skilled prize fighter will make the worst of wild animals look tame . watching Kirkland in his rally of knockouts it's exciting to the public eye to see machine of no mercy doing a job like that -me , when i see such a lack of defence and complete disregard to the skills the game offers to the right students I don't really get excited . people can say whatever they want about Floyd , yes - i think he is ducking Manny But one thing i also know , watching his fights - he always handled his rivals with artistry and besides his ducking business - this is a hell of a good reason why he has never lost. both Maidan and Kirkland are not old , they can still learn and change - look what happened to Manny - he started with almost nothing but balls and punch and Freddie tuned him to be the finest fight machine of our times - these guys should go back to skool themselves hard with the sweet science . thye still can do and they should do it because Boxing might be thew sport where one punch can change it all but even that one punch happen much better to those skilled with it .

-blue4cor :

Maidana reminds me of Vic Darchinyan until Donaire exposed him. Morales proved practically every boxing fans and boxing analysts wrong. Always believe in yourself is Morales message for those who thinks they are not getting any younger anymore.Time and again has proven that speed is a potential weapon in boxing. I can't wait for a rematch.

-brownsugar :

so right Radam...Saw the video on youtube today.... had a dubious sensation in my gut when I heard JK was going against the former Japanese titleholder. 3 fights in less than 3months and not looking particularly better in his last effort should have caused his braintrust to slow down his progression. James doesn't speak that clearly as it is now... every fight he has is war... the kids taken more abuse than most fighters take in an entire career... like Radam said Ann Wolfe brought out the maximum intensity in Kirkland which allowed him to overcome by sheer will, physical conditioning and a violently savage attack. Slowing down his balls-to-wall attack for even a milli-second makes him more vunerable to everybody and anybody who could box... with his previous non-stop second to second style boxers never had a chance to think.. not that this is any surprise.. we knew it was going to happen sometime. JK is a beastier but less technical version of Paul Williams. From now on he's got a target on his chin as every young gun under the sun will want to add his name to their resume. I'm not prophesizing doom for Kirkland.. but I wonder if he does't already have some kind of neurological imparment.. those light pops shouldn't have dropped him so easily.... Props to Ishida,.. he came...he saw.... and he KO'd. (Promoters and Managers... never rush your Golden Goose and Kirkland never fight as a light heavy weight again) Rubio showed Lemieux that boxing takes more than athleticism and extreme heavybag expertise. The unseasoned challenger looked good whacking arms and gloves while not making any discernable impact on Rubio who was content to wait for his opportunity... It was a beautiful fight... One that unfolded like a chessmaster sacrificing his queen to win by foolsmate. good call by the corner to stop the fight... Lemieux can come back.. he can still learn the nuances of the sport. Morales is making pre-40-ish fighter look dangerous again. I though they would need parametics at ringside to haul Morales to the ER afterwards.. Just think if Morales had another couple of tune ups.. the outcome could have been different. Maidana is strong as an ox but he hasn't improved and I don't know if he ever will... to bad he doesn't have someone like Roach or Stewart in his corner. ... once those old bones get warmed up and the adrenalin starts flowing you never know what these old masters are capable of... Props to Morales for pulling out a huge surprise...The fight should have been on April 1... they could have tagged it... "APRIL FOOLS DAY".

-brownsugar :

@ Kapi.... "a machine of no mercy"..... classic.

-DaveB :

I was so happy to see Erik Morales fight so valiantly. I was hoping he would make Maidana kiss the canvas. He is the fighter I have always had the most respect for. No one can be blamed for thinking that this would have a been pretty much a massacre for him against Maidana. He is older, has been in wars, and was moving up in weight against a younger, stronger fighter who shows no mercy, plus Erik hasn't looked that good at all in his comeback. The thing is though, on certain nights against certain fighters special things are possible. Maidana is a strong puncher who keeps coming forward with a will that seems impossible to break, it is almost like he is an irresistible force if there is such a thing. He doesn't have any boxing technique and he has never been accused of having one. A point was made in a previous article about how hard does Maidana really punch? Most of his knockouts have come against lower level fighters and when he steps up in quality of opposition his knockout ratio drops dramatically, so that is a valid question. However I know that he is an extremely good puncher, if not a devastating one, and you have to give Morales a lot of credit for withstanding the onslaught. Morales' stock goes way up. Maidana's stock, although this is a fight of the year candidate, stays the same. He will always be a fighter in demand as long as he is able to bring what he brings, which is excitement. Once he has been in too many wars and he becomes shopworn there will be no more demand for him, and since he is devoid of any boxing skill he has nothing left to rely on. So he should have all the fights that he can and make the most of his small window of opportunity. Morales at least has one or two more fights in him and will be judged on a fight by fight basis. Last night was a good fight even if it was in a losing effort. Kirkland fights face first and is willing to do that in an effort to blast out his opponent. That will only take him so far. If he doesn't change up, to the best of his ability, he is going to quickly be a footnote in boxing history.

-the Roast :

I didnt see the fight but I am shocked that Morales did so well. What does this say about Khan? Kirkland too. Another shocker.

-Radam G :

Let me try to school ya! I wouldn't wanna fool ya! The Tex Mandingo Warrior's problem is his new way of training, especially the leg work and the dieting. Not his chin. Dude got knocked down and stopped because of weaken, worn-out legs. I bet he made the weight by doing excess running, rope skipping with rubbers -- called a vinyl sweatsuit by the don't knows -- and starving a few days before the fight. "HOUSTON! We have a problem!" WTF! There is major DRAIN of a stupid BRAIN when you weight in at 158lbs. And a day later, you enter the ring to fight at almost 180lbs. No offense to trainer Kenny Adams, but he ought to be shot for letting a problem-plagued fighter apparently train himself and feast on M-side buffets and beer like a Nigerian or Cali "Nightmare," then believe that he could fool those in the know by starving and sweating down like mutha-fool. Maybe he can do that to New Jack, but not old school. Big Money Oscar and the Kirkland management are not that dense! They know what is happening. They know what time it is. Get off that stupid, high-arse pride, and get the Mermaid back A-S-A-P! NO ANN WOLFE! The END of "The Mandingo Warrior!" Her lifestyle is her BUSINESS! But she is one heckuva TRAINER uniquely a fit for JK. And trainer KA needs to go away. A trainer is supposed to know his/her fighter. And the BEST trainers know that you cannot train every fighter the same way as the next one. And some, you cannot train the traditional way. GBG Manny S had to reduce rope skipping for Tommy Hearns because it would overwork Tommy's legs and throw his balance to sh**. GOATBG Angie Dundee never let GOAT Ali hit the pads -- some of the don't knows call 'em mitts -- because they would change the angle of GOAT Ali's punches and deduced his speed and sharpness. The late, didn't-get-the-credit-he-deserved, Champ Chainey [name may be misspelled] didn't allow ex-two-time lightheavyweight champion Marvin Johnson to do a lot of sparring, because Johnson couldn't take the best of punches even with a headgear on. Panama Lewis hid all the darn food from Roberto Duran whenever they would train in Palm Springs, Cali., because "Fists of Iron" would sample eat every darn thing in sight until his arse was a balloon, and farting -- or is that releasing foul air -- like mutha-gasser. I could go and go naming other boxers, trainers and situations, but you cats get my spit. I HOPE! I'm just givin' ya da righteous dope -- absolutely no smoke and/or a joke! [A FOOTNOTE: I'm reminded of how "Iron" Mike Tyson was jived up by Don King's hoodlum trainers. The Iron one and Kevin Rooney were made for one another. They missed going down in history as an Ali and Dundee, Hearns and Steward, and of course, Pacquiao and Roach. Mandingo Warrior Texan, swim your arse back to da Mermaid Ann Wolfe, or you will miss your place in history.] Holla!

-the Roast :

Good post Radam! I agree that if Tyson and Rooney would have stayed together, Tyson's career would have been way better. Don King screwed Iron Mike in more ways than one.

-ali :

I never thought Kirkland was that good to begin with so wasn't suprise he got his kick....But I was suprise by Morales performance I didn't think he would make through 12 rounds with Maidana.

-DaveB :

Good post Radam. All the best to Kirkland. All that you said about him and some defense.

-admin :

I like "extreme heavybag expertise."