Saturday night’s junior welterweight clash between hard hitting Marcos Maidana and surefire hall of famer Erik Morales sounds like something that would have been epic . . . if it took place when Morales was at his prime. But in 2011, a battle-worn Morales is thought to be nothing more than cannon fodder for a wrecking machine like Maidana. But “El Terrible” advises you to not count him out. He’s not dead yet.
“What are odds?” Oscar De La Hoya asked during Thursday’s final press conference before Maidana and Morales step into the ring under the bright lights of the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a card billed as “Action Heroes.” “Did we care about odds when Kelly Pavlik fought Bernard Hopkins? Did we care about odds when Manny Pacquiao fought myself? Holyfield Vs. Tyson? Buster Douglas against Mike Tyson? Odds don’t mean a thing because in this fight game, you never know what’s going to happen.”
While that statement is true, we might be selling Morales short by comparing him to Buster Douglas. He is, after all, a legend. With a record of 57-6 with 35 knockouts and a portfolio that includes Marco Antonio Barrera, Kevin Kelley, Junior Jones, Wayne McCullough and, must we forget, he is the last man to defeat Manny Pacquiao, is it really that easy discard him as an unworthy opponent?
“After so many interviews, I am starting to say to myself, ‘Was this the right decision?” Morales said as he took the podium to discuss his fight for the interim WBA super lightweight title. “Am I the only crazy one that thinks I can win? When I am alone at night lying in bed, I start thinking to myself, I am not wrong.”
He will certainly have his hands full on Saturday night with the Argentinean who sports a record of 29-2 with 27 of those wins coming by way of knockout. Not only is Maidana a dangerous foe, he is also ready to replace the sour loss in his “Fight of the Year” war with Amir Khan with the sweet taste of victory over a legend like Morales.
“For an Argentinean, headlining a fight in Las Vegas is a very special thing,” the man of very few words said. “Sometimes I do not even realize how big it is for me. I will make Argentina proud on Saturday night.”
It’s no secret that Maidana will look to separate Morales’ body from his spirit on Saturday night. But Morales has every intention on proving his doubters wrong.
“I didn’t make a mistake picking Maidana. I am going to prove it to you guys on Saturday night. I am going to prove that I wasn’t crazy.”
Continuing with the theme of “Action Heroes” is a battle between Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Michael Katsidis with the WBA interim lightweight championship on the line. Katsidis (27-3, 22 KOs) is coming off of a war with Juan Manuel Marquez where he put one of the pound for pound greats on his backside before succumbing to the precision counter punching of the Mexican great in the 9th round in a “Fight of the Year” candidate. Coming off of such a tough loss, only a warrior like Katsidis would pass on a “gimme” to take on a rising star like Guerrero.
“Boxing is hard as it is and you’ve got to take what you can when you can and we are thrilled about this fight,” Katsidis said. Knowing that another loss could be damaging to his future in the sport, he proclaims that he is as focused as ever on Saturday night. “We are an army put together, and we are ready to fight this weekend.”
But nobody may have as much to prove to the world than Robert Guerrero. Although he is closing in on his 5th world title in three weight classes, Guerrero (28-1, 18 KOs) is still not on the radar of the casual boxing fan. That all could change with Saturday’s performance. With Katsidis being allergic to putting on a boring fight, Guerrero could have both a crowd pleasing fight and one that could propel him into the fictional pound-for-pound rankings.
“I’m excited,” Guerrero said. “I haven’t ever been ready for a fight like this. I’m ready to go and I can’t wait to get out there. This is going to be a really good interesting fight for the fans.”