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Erik Morales vs. Jorge Barrios, likely for Bradley’s WBC title

By William Mackay: In what will soon be a classic case of a paper champion, the faded Erik Morales (51-7, 35 KO’s), coming off of a loss to Marcos Maidana, will be taking on 34-year-old Jorge Barrios (50-4-1, 35 KO’s) on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Victor Ortiz card on September 17th, and likely for the WBC light welterweight title belonging to Timothy Bradley.

Morales, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, made a request to the World Boxing Council to have Bradley stripped of his title because he hasn’t defended it since winning the belt in January. Morales, ranked #3 despite losing his last fight to Marcos Maidana, will – if the WBC approves and they likely will – then leap frog over Jose Olusegun at #2 and Devon Alexander at #1 in the WBC rankings to fight for the belt against Barrios, a fighter who has lost two out of his last six fights. It’s a joke. The WBC will be making a determination on Morales’ request in the next couple of days, but they’re expected to strip Bradley and allow the Morales-Barrios fight to go forward for the WBC strap.

It’s hard to say who will win between Morales and Barrios at this point. A prime Morales would easily win, but Morales is so far away from his prime it’s not even funny. He lost to Maidana, and looked bad in winning questionable decisions over Jose Alfaro and Franciso Lorenzo. Morales fought well at times against Maidana, but still ran out of gas in the last three rounds of that fight and took a lot of really hard shots.

The talk is that Morales will hopefully beat Barrios without getting beaten up again like he was in the Maidana fight, and then with the WBC belt in his possession, Morales will face IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan in a unification bout. Khan, of course, will easily win and then move up in weight to face the winner of the Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Victor Ortiz bout, which takes place on September 17th. Both Khan and Morales fight for Golden Boy Promotions, so this kind of a fight that’s sort of expected. Golden Boy thinks that a fight against Morales will make Khan more popular among boxing fans because Morales is well known among older boxing fans who remember him during his prime in the 1990s and early 2000s. Morales faded in 2004, losing five of his last six fights and retiring in 2007 with a loss to David Diaz.

Morales came back in 2010, and has beaten Jose Alfaro, Willie Limond, and Franciso Lorenzo before losing to Maidana. I had Morales losing to Alfaro and Lorenzo, and he struggled badly against the B level Limond. In my view, I see Morales having lost three of his four fights during his comeback, and now he’s on the verge of fighting for a title. It’s sad. Khan will obviously jump at the chance of facing Morales rather than Breidis Prescott, Lucas Matthysse, or Devon Alexander. Morales doesn’t have much power at light welterweight and is painfully slow. Khan will win the paper title from Morales and convince some boxing fans that he’s the best but without facing the more dangerous threats of Matthysse, Prescott and Alexander.

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