After a few rounds of Erik Morales-Pablo Cesar Cano, one wondered what Lucas Matthysse might have done to Morales, who looked slow and stiff early on. But the legendary veteran got his blood flowing, and drew blood from Cano, who by no means looked out of his depth against Morales. Right hands from Morales found their target from the third on, a cut opened in the fourth, and by round ten, Cano's face was a mask of violence absorbed. After the round, his trainer Rudy Perez, showing wisdom and ample heart, stopped the affair, advising Kenny Bayless to end the scrap.
Matthysse, healing up from a viral infection, must've been at home, cursing his luck, as Morales didn't look like even 80% of himself at his peak. But what he had left was enough to beat Cano, who is likely no future star, but is by no means a bum with a record built on laydown artists.
With the win, Morales wins a vacant WBC strap.
Morales went 214-561 to Cano's 201-652 in the stat war.
After, Morales said to Larry Merchant that Cano "became very scared" after he was cut. Morales said, regarding the title, that it was not his fault that Matthysse, regarded as a sterner foe and worthy title challenger, fell out.
Morales (age 35; 51-7 with 35 KOs entering; 5 time champion; from Tijuana, Mexico) was 140 pounds, while Cano (age 21; trained by ex Marco Antonio Barrera trainer Rudy Perez; 23-0-1 with 18 KOs entering; from Mexico) weighed 140.
Tom Miller, Dave Moretti and Pedro Acacio were the judges.
In the first, Cano looked more warmed up. Morales had a little flab edging over his belt, for the record. He popped some stiff jabs, but more so used the three minutes to see what he had in front of him.
In the second, Morales' face looked a little scuffed. He ate a few clean rights. Cano moved a good deal, mostly to his left. He kept his balance well, and all in all, by no means looked out of his league. In the Morales corner, they worked on his left eye a bit.
In the third, Jim Lampley ridiculed the fact that a title was on the line in this fight. Morales stepped it up. He placed punches low and high, and one wondered if his body was finally warmed up, and he'd get into a groove.
In the fourth, Morales knocked Cano back with a right. Blood came from Cano's left eye, and Morales liked the look of it. The eye swelled up a bit, as well.
In the fifth, the blood was still present, and hadn't been staunched during the break. He still threw combos, and threw a solid uppercut with 50 seconds left. The two traded in the last minute. Harold Lederman had Cano up a point after five.
In the sixth, a sharp right snapped Cano's head back a minute in. He answered with a combo on a stationary Morales. Morales is so smart, as he whacks the body, and gets his foe to drop his hands, to leave the head open.
In the seventh, we heard Larry Merchant say that Morales on his long hiatus was in therapy for alcohol. Lederman had it 57-57 to this point. Morales' left eye was now bleeding. The vet was running by the round's end. The slice was on the lid, for the record. "You want to win or what? You got to throw, dammit. The kid has nothing," Morales' corner told him.
In the eighth, Cano started off with a three punch combo. The round was another tight one. In the ninth, Morales' punches looked to be a bit zipper. Lederman had to 5-4 Morales after nine. "Cano doesn't seem to have much power in his shots anymore, badly swollen eyes have to wonder how much vision he has," Lederman said. "Morales is backing him up, landing hard right hands."
In the tenth, Morales landed two hard rights. His eyes were closing, blood covered his face, and it looked like the end could be near. Ref Kenny Bayless stopped the action to let the doc look Cano over, with a minute left. The round ended, and trainer Perez ended the fight.
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