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Erik Morales vs. Jorge Rodrigo Barrios: Which one of these guys is more shot than the other?

By Dan Ambrose: Former three division world champion Erik Morales (50-6, 35 KO’s) will be defending his obscure WBC Silver light welterweight title against 34-year-old Jorge Rodrigo Barrios (50-4-1, 35 KO’s) on December 18th at the Caliente Racetrack, in Tijuana, Mexico. This is one of those fights which match two fighters that are on the steep decline in their careers and the only question is which fighter is more shot than other. Morales, 34, has looked horrid in his two-fight comeback in 2010.

Morales has won both of his fights, beating Jose Alfaro and Willie Limond, but he looks nothing like his former self during the prime of his career. Morales doesn’t even look as good as he was in his last fight before retiring 2007, when he was beaten by WBC lightweight champion David Diaz. At his best 10 years ago, Morales was a lean 121 pound super bantamweight. He was a devastating puncher with impressive boxing skills and a seek and destroy mindset.

Now, 10 years later and 22 pounds heavier, Morales looks like a shadow is his former self. His once lean physique is covered with at least 20 pounds of visible flab, and his midsection has fat hanging down around his sides. He looks too small and weak for the light welterweight division and he’s lost a lot of the hand speed and reflexes he had during his prime years. In his last fight against Limond from the UK, Morales took heavy punishment from Limond for five rounds before Morales came back to stop Limond in the 6th.

It was great that Morales was able to come back after taking a bad beating from Limond, it’s not a good sign when you’re forced to take tremendous punishment from a B level fighter like Limond. Morales, the way he looks now, would stand no chance of beating any of the top contenders in the light welterweight division. I’m not even going to mention the champions, because Morales wouldn’t stand a chance against any of them looking and fighting the way he’s been during his come back.

Barrios, 34, hasn’t looked much better than Morales, as he was beaten by Rocky Juarez by an 11th round TKO loss in 2008. Barrios got worn down by Juarez and eventually taken out. Barrios has won his last three fights since then, albeit against 2nd tier opposition. Barrios looks good for about six or seven rounds, but then he fades badly. That’s his problem.

Morales may get beaten by Barrios in this fight unless he fights a lot better than he did against Limond. That version of Morales will get beaten by Barrios unless Morales can somehow score a knockout.

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