One of the undisputed legends of boxing, Mexican warrior Erik Morales, will look to continue his unexpected resurgence tonight (March 24, 2012) against unbeaten Puerto Rican Danny Garcia at The Reliant Center in Houston, Texas.
In addition, high-octane junior Middleweight fighters Carlos Molina and James Kirkland will be out to build off of their impressive upsets of Kermit Cintron and Alfredo Angulo by beating the tar out of one another.
MMAmania will have LIVE coverage of the event, starting with the HBO broadcast at 10:15 EST.
Morales, 35, is best known for his legendary trilogy with Marco Antonio Barrera and his victory over Manny Pacquiao, which many consider the only time a prime Pacquiao ever tasted defeat. After a horrendous 1-5 stretch that included two straight stoppage losses to Pacquiao, the best days of "El Terrible" seemed behind him.
Unexpectedly, he gave Argentine knockout machine Marcos Maidana an incredible fight, taking the hard-hitting bruiser 12 rounds despite one eye swelling shut in the early going. After that bout, he defeated Pablo Cesar Cano to become the first-ever Mexican four-division champion.
He would be defending his WBC title this evening, however, he weighed in two pounds over the junior Welterweight limit and was stripped of his belt. However, Garcia can still get the belt by defeating Morales in the squared circle.
Check out out LIVE "Morales vs. Garcia" results and live play-by-play after the jump:
Junior Welterweight Championship: Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia
Junior Middleweight: James Kirkland def. Carlos Molina by disqualification (cornerman entered the ring) at 3:00 of Round Ten
WBC Junior Welterweight Championship: Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia
Round One: As mentioned above, Morales weighed in two pounds over the weight limit and was stripped of his WBC belt. Even if he wins, he will not be the champ.
Nice overhand right from Morales off a Garcia jab. Garcia continues pawing with the jab, which is noticeably faster than Erik’s. Jab to the body from Morales and one upstairs. Garcia connects with hooks low and high. Nice swatting overhand right from Garcia. Morales forces Garcia back and he circles away. Exchange inside. Close round, 10-9 Garcia in my book, as he landed the more telling blows.
Round Two: Nice right to the body from Garcia; Morales responds with a blocked three-punch combo. Overhand right from Morales. Morales lands to the body and narrowly avoids Garcia’s response. Another nice overhand right from Morales; he also used it very well in the Cano fight. Morales moving forward with tight combinations. Another nice overhand right. Garcia connects with the left. Nice phone booth uppercuts from El Terrible. Thudding right to the body from Danny. Another good jab by Erik. Much clearer round, one for the veteran. 19-19.
Round Three: Left hook to the body inside from Garcia, who is by far the faster man but Erik’s timing is excellent. Jab to the body from Garcia. Morales winning the jabbing battle and connects with a good right to the body. Garcia lands to the body, but eats a counter left. Hook to the body from Garcia, who eats a straight right. Nice right from Garcia and another connects. A third, all of which seemed to get to Morales. The early portion of the round was close enough that those right hands won the Puerto Rican the round in my book. 29-28 Garcia.
Round Four: Morales trying to work around Danny’s guard with the left, settles for a hard right straight. Nice jab from Morales, who gets hit with a right. Garcia winds his hand up Leonard style but misses the straight. Morales with a three-piece combo. Nice left hook from Morales after prodding the body. Morales now has Garcia on his back foot and is hunting for the right hand. Right from Garcia lands, but he eats a couple lefts for his trouble. A good round for Morales; 38-38.
Round Five: Nice double jab from Garcia, but Morales continues having success with his own jab and scores with a left hook. Left hook upstairs and a three-piece combo from Morales. Another nice left; Garcia trying to play the counter game and failing. Nice right to the body from the Mexican veteran who also lands a one-two. Nice right hand from Garcia, who lands a couple of borderline low shots. Nice one-two from Morales, who took this round. 48-47 Morales.
Round Six: Morales pursuing to the body and head. Nice pair of straights to the body from Garcia. Two body shots from Garcia, who lands his left hook to the head. Morales with his back on the ropes and he gets hit with a couple right hands. Garcia now moving forward with jabs and body shots. Nice counter combo from Morales as he takes a left hook. Now two shots from Morales. Nice left from Garcia connects. Morales with a flurry and lands a hard left to the body. Morales came alive late in the round, but not enough to win it. 57-57.
Round Seven: Morales lands well to the body. Sneaky overhand right from El Terrible. Garcia taking his foot off the throttle for some reason. Nice left hook upstairs from Garcia. Right to the body from Garcia, right from Morales. Left to the body by Garcia, who eats a string of jabs from Morales. Nice left hand from Garcia, who lands a stinging three-punch combination. Left hook from Garcia leads to a heavy exchange. Good round, one that Garcia took enough control of late for me to give the round. 67-66 Morales.
Round Eight: Jab exchanges. Right to the body connects from Morales. Jabs from El Terrible. Right from Morales, who also lands a good left. Another left hook from El Terrible. Again and a solid right. Right uppercut and straight from Morales. Garcia going for home run shots that compromise his hand speed advantage. Good round for the Mexican veteran, 76-76.
Round Nine: Jab from Morales. Morales mocking Garcia’s winging shots. Good rights from Morales. Short left to the body from Garcia. Another solid hook to the gut. Right straight by Morales, another thumping left from Garcia, who eats a right to the body from the Mexican vet. Right upstairs now from El Terrible. Good left hook by Garcia. Nice right upstairs by Garcia, who eats a small left hook. Round definitely started to swing in Garcia’s favor at the end, and I’ll give him that round. 86-85 Garcia.
The judges have apparently scored all but one round for Garcia. I hate the Texas commission.
Round Ten: Morales has certainly slowed by this point, but he lands a couple good shots to the body. Slow round. Glancing right to the head from Morales, stiffer right by Garcia, who then lands well to the body. Slick combination by Morales, who fakes out Garcia and lands an overhand. One-two from Morales. Nice stiff jab from Morales. Good right hand. Nice round by Morales, who may need a knockout if the judges are as incompetent as I fear. 95-95.
Round Eleven: Nice jabs from both men. Solid right hands from Morales, who then connects with a left. Morales SMASHED with a huge left hook and falls to his knees. He’s up, though, and Garcia is on the attack. Hard right hand and one-two from Garcia. Thumping body hooks from Garcia. One-two from Garcia and a right hand. Another good right hand. Garcia flurrying late, but Erik survives the round. 10-8, 105-103 Garcia.
Round Twelve: Jabs early; Morales doesn’t look as desperate as he should be. Nice left upstairs from Garcia. Not much action despite the urgency of the situation. Nice right hand by Garcia. Left to the body. Another nice left from Garcia. One minute left. Thumping body blow from Garcia. Morales hanging back as Garcia attacks. That’s the bell; Morales was inexcusably passive in that round. 115-112 for Danny Garcia.
Junior Middleweight: James Kirkland vs. Carlos Molina
Apparently, the event actually started at 10:00 EST, and I only managed to catch the end of the second round. Molina seems to be in control, however. He seems to be up 20-18.
Round Three: Molina is doing a good job of ducking and tying Kirkland up when he pushes forward; he’s avoiding Kirkland’s power very well. Left from Kirkland gets through, but without much behind it, and Molina answers with a hard left and right. Molina lands a couple more left hooks. Brief phonebooth interlude consists entirely of Molina socking Kirkland. Clinching in the center. Right and left from Molina score. Short right from Kirkland doesn’t land well. Another solid left from Molina. They’re not fazing James, but Molina is outlanding him by a huge margin. 30-27 Molina.
Round Four: Nice left from Molina as Kirkland flurries. Short rights to the body from Kirkland and a couple of sneaky left hooks up high. Kirkland lands a nice left uppercut. Now a few connect for Kirkland, who is having a better round. Molina’s mouthpiece comes out and they reset. Solid short left hook from Molina, Kirkland responds with a right uppercut. Two hard shots from Molina. Molina doing a brilliant job of keeping his head out of Kirkland’s reach. Nice right from Molina, who eats a right and answers with a nice uppercut. Molina now connects with a one-two and lands a couple big left hooks. Small short uppercut lands by Kirkland, but Molina is making him look bad. 40-36 Molina.
Round Five: Kirkland looking to time the left uppercut as Molina comes in with no success. Nice sweeping left from Molina. Kirkland rips to the body in the clinch and connects with a straight left. Another big left as Kirkland pushes Molina to the ropes, but he gets hit with a left hook as he flurries. Another good left hook from Molina. Clinching in the center without meaningful blows from either man. Good left hand from Molina inside and a cracking right. Now an uppercut from Molina. Big left hook from Molina at the bell. Honestly, I think Kirkland had a good enough round in the middle going for me to give him the round 10-9. 49-46 Molina.
Round Six: Molina poking the body with his right. Jabs from Kirkland working. Another right to the body from Molina. Short left and a couple of right hooks from Kirkland connect. Good left hook from Molina, who initiates the clinch. Kirkland seems to be getting wiser to Molina’s game. NICE right hand and left hook from Molina. Left upper from Kirkland glancing. Right hand exchange. More rights to the body from Molina, who lands two big left hooks. More nice head shots by Carlos. Right and left connect for Molina, who took enough control in the late going for me to call it his round. 59-55 Molina.
Round Seven: Nice right hand from Carlos right on the jaw. Kirkland with a couple short shots before time is called due to some loose tape on Kirkland’s glove. Kirkland now trying to work the body with his left. Molina connects with a nice uppercut and right hand. Kirkland pursuing with lefts and gets tied up. Nice even trade on the ropes. Molina gets Kirkland to the ropes and lands some quick inside blows. This looked more like the third and fourth round, pretty clearly in Molina’s favor. 69-64 Molina.
Round Eight: Prodding right low and high from Molina. Left uppercut up close from Kirkland. Clinch. Kirkland trying to get some short shots in when they tie up and lands a left straight. Kirkland attacking with short blows but gets nailed by a left hook. Molina jacks Kirkland with a left uppercut and a right straight. Another big right from Molina. Another. Right hand and left from Molina. Another left. Dominant round from Molina from the midpoint on. Stats say Molina landed 20 power shots to Kirkland’s 6 despite both throwing 41. 79-73 Molina.
Round Nine: Kirkland now throwing some heat and lands a good left and right. Molina ties Kirkland up. Molina has gotten it back to his pace, picking punches and tying Kirkland up well. Right uppercut from Molina. Molina lands a big right and left. Clinch. Left straight from Kirkland connects. Big right straight in close from Molina, who has done an excellent job of firing heat only when it’s sure to land. Kirkland needs a knockout at this point. 89-82 Molina.
Round Ten: Straight to the body from Molina. Kirkland now flurrying with Molina and the ropes. Molina tries to clinch and Kirkland throws him off and keeps punching. A dogged Molina ties him up, though. Kirkland on the attack; Molina’s clinching now seems to be a defensive tactic rather than the offense it has been. Nice right from Kirkland. Molina just clinching now, but lands a couple in the clinch; James falls, but it’s called a slip. Left from James. Hard right from Kirkland at the bell drops Molina, who gets to his feet. 10-8 James Kirkland and he needed that.
Wait, what just happened. Molina has just been disqualified. Apparently, Molina’s conrnerman entered the ring as Molina was being counted, as he hit the ground right as the bell rung and the cornerman was seemingly unaware of the knockdown. Jon Schorle has disqualified Carlos Molina for an innocent mistake.
This is stupid. This is SO stupid. Michael Buffer tries to spin it like Schorle’s hand was forced and he was only following the rules.
Also? One of the judges had Kirkland ahead.
Dammit, Texas commission. Why do you suck.
Final Result: Kirkland def. Molina by Disqualification