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Erik Morales to make voluntary title defense in January

Erik MoralesBy Dan Ambrose: 35-year-old World Boxing Council (WBC) light welterweight champion Erik Morales (52-7, 36 KO’s) will be making his first defense of his World Boxing Council belt in January 2012 against an opponent still to be determined.

This unfortunately will be a voluntary defense, meaning that the opponent will likely be a bottom ranked contender instead of a top five contender.

It would be nice if Morales surprised boxing fans by taking on quality fighter instead of one of the bottom dwellers, but given how truly poor Morales looked in beating 22-year-old Pablo Cesar Cano by a 10th round stoppage last December to capture the vacant WBC light welterweight title, it’s highly doubtful that Morales and/or his promoters at Golden Boy will want to risk putting him in with someone good that can beat before they’ve put him in a big money fight.

Morales was set up perfectly to win the vacant WBC belt after his previously scheduled opponent Lucas Matthysse suddenly got sick shortly before they were supposed to fight. Instead of a top contender being found for Morales, the #12 ranked Cano was found. This made it much easier for Morales to win the title compared to if he had been forced to fight someone ranked high.

Who Morales will fight is anyone’s guess. In looking at the current rankings the fighters that could picked out for Morales are as follows: Ali Chebah, ranked #15, Rosebel Montoya, #14. That’s about as far as I can see Morales moving up the rankings for an opponent.

2nd tier fighter Anthony Crolla has been mentioned in the past as a possible opponent for Morales. That would be a nice soft opponent for Morales to beat without having his face turned to hamburger. It probably wouldn’t interest boxing fans any, but at least Morales could probably win that fight.

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