By Thomas Gerbasi
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York - After suffering a brutal fourth round knockout Saturday night at the hands of WBA / WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, Erik Morales may have wished that the New York State Athletic Commission pulled him from their Saturday rematch at Barclays Center after he tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol.
But the show went on, and it was a stellar performance for “Swift,” who defended his titles with a finality that led Morales to say that he had fought in the United States for the last time, likely leaving the door open for a final fight in his native Mexico.
It took around two minutes for the rivals to warm up, but in the final 60 seconds of the first round, both Morales and Garcia decided to test chins, and both passed. Whether that would remain to be the case was to be determined. But Morales, as fearless as ever, stood right in front of Garcia, starting and finishing the second round strong. In the middle, Garcia got off a series of hard shots as he pinned Morales to the ropes.
Garcia got his jab working in the third round, and that was the best course of action for the champion considering that it almost lulled Morales to sleep. When Garcia would throw a hook or cross through, “El Terrible” made sure that he didn’t let that slide, and in response he fired off power shots of his own. Garcia was tagging Morales more often though, and by the end of the round he had rocked him bad enough that the future Hall of Famer stumbled to the wrong corner at the bell.
Moving forward calmly but in a determined fashion, Garcia smelled blood and he was about to get it in the fourth round with a vicious left hook that spun Morales around and to the canvas. The Mexican great landed on the bottom rope and almost out of the ring, and his father Jose immediately rushed into the ring, prompting a stoppage from referee Benji Esteves at the 1:23 mark.
With the win, Garcia improves to 25-0 with 16 KOs; the 36-year-old Morales falls to 52-9 with 36 KOs. The two initially met in March, with Garcia winning via 12 round decision.