By Michael Marley
I made the mistake of asking legendary matchmaker/agent Johnny Bos if he gave faded Mexican boxing icon Erik "El Terrible" Morales a chance in his Saturday night PPV TV fight against hard-charging Argentinian brawler Marcos Rene Maidana.
I never should've used the term "a chance" because Bos countered me with a real verbal sucker punch.
"A chance," Bos said, "a chance for what, a chance to get killed?"
Bos sees Morales-Maidana as an accident just waiting to happen. They're calling the show "Action Heroes" but many across the boxing spectrum are wondering if a maimed or worse Morales might turn it into "Targic Hero."
"Morales ain't had nothing for some years now. It's a combination of Maidana being pretty good and Morales being awful. Maidana's a terrific puncher and Morales is right there to be hit.
"I am worried about this one, I really am," Bos said. "I think the worry is about Morales getting hit...I hope the ref is a sharp one."
Bos' final concern seems misplaced as a call to the Las Vegas office of the Nevada State Athletic Commission confirmed that the more than capable Tony Weeks will handle the main event.
No less an authority than the former longtime promoter of the 34-year-old boxer, Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, is just if not more so gravely concerned about Morales physical and mental fate.
"It's not about winning and losing this particular fight," the 79-year-old head of Top Rank told me by phone Tuesday. "I am really fearful of this situation, of this fight. I'm not a doctor and I'm sure the commission will be careful but I am fearful for Erik.
"I am very nervous now and, if you ask why, it's because, in his last fight for me which was a loss to David Diaz, Erik told us (Arum and publicisits Lee Samuels and Ricardo Jimenez) that he felt a ringing in his head.
"We informed the commission and, right then and there, I vowed I would never against put Morales in the ring. It will be horrible if he gets hurt now," Arum said.
"Erik was a key fighter over years for us, for our company. He was a key part of Top Rank, that's for sure. He was a lovely, terrific and totally loyal young man. He always gave 100 percent and he's one of my alltime favorite guys."
The Morales-Maidana fight is being promoted by Top Rank's rival, Golden Boy.
Maidana, age 27, has a 29-2 record with 27 big knockouts while the older man stands 51-6-2 with 35 KOs and is remembered as "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" meaning the last opponent to hand Pound For Pound ring king Manny Pacquiao a loss (2005).
Maidana's two defeats were on points to Amir Khan, although he hurt Khan a few times, and a split decision duke he dropped to Andreas Kotelnik.
In a TKO 6 over young and also strong Vicious Victor Ortiz, Maidana made his mark in America.
Maidana was floored thrice and he decked Ortiz twice in that stirring victory which caused many to question the Vicious One's fighting will (Ortiz can redeem himself when he fights WBC welterweight champ, the unbeaten Andre Berto April 16 at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods).
This kind of a storyline, as usual, leaves man in the middle Weeks in a tough spot.
Does he stop at the first sign of Morales being battered or does he give the grand, old warrior a chance to fire back?
This Saturday night, it's not Morales who is on the spot and neither is Maidana.
It's Weeks who has the toughest assignment.
Too quick, too late or just in time?
Erik Morales, he's just the guy who may pay the price for a cynical but typical boxing matchup, the fading former star against the up and coming bruiser.