Erik Morales vs. David Diaz
By Chris Williams: Erik Morales (48-5, 34 KOs) will be challenging WBC light champion David Diaz (32-1-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday night at the Allstate Arena, in Chicago. Morales, 30, going into the bout, has lost three consecutive fights, two of which have been brutal knockout losses to Manny Pacquiao. In fact, Morales hasn’t looked good since winning a 12-round decision over Manny Pacquiao in March 2005. It’s unclear what happened since that time, perhaps it’s because of him putting on a great deal of weight after his winning effort against Paquiao.
Whatever the case, Morales has looked over-the-hill in the past two years, something that hasn’t been lost for the boxing public, many of which have been calling for Morales to retire rather than fighting on and receiving further beatings. On Saturday night, Morales is in for yet another test of how much he has left. It’s uncertain, however, whether Diaz, a fighter that is still relatively green, having mostly fought unknown fighters in his career up until wining the WBC interim lightweight title last August, when he stopped Jose Armando Santa Cruz in the 10th round. Diaz, 27, doesn’t have much power to speak of, but has an airtight defense and sound, albeit average power, offensive skills.
From outward appearances, Morales looks to be the same fighter that fought the three epic battles with Marco Antonio Barrera. However, once Morales is in action, it’s immediately clear that his stamina has greatly diminished since that time. How much of that is due to him having to take off large amounts of weight before each bout is unclear, but it certainly isn’t helping that he’s putting on so much weight each time, making it necessary for him to drop 30-40 pounds each time he prepares to set foot in the ring.
Prediction: Diaz by 12-round decision. Look for Morales to struggle with his stamina, once again, and get out-boxed following some decent early rounds.