By Keith Idec
Erik Morales made believers out of countless critics that thought he had no business boxing a rugged, powerful fighter like Marcos Maidana.
The former three-division champion can’t wait to do it again against another strong fighter from Argentina. Morales remains very confident he won’t come up short, as he did against Maidana on April 9 in Las Vegas, in his WBC super lightweight title fight with Lucas Matthysse (28-2, 26 KOs, 1 NC) on Sept. 17 in Las Vegas.
“Matthysse is very strong, very formidable and in many eyes an undefeated fighter,” Morales said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. “We’ve always liked challenges, we always like difficult fights. People always think they’re going to finish me, they’re going to end my career, they’re going to knock me out. And that gives me the hunger, the strength and the motivation to prove them wrong and go in there and win.”
Morales (51-7, 35 KOs), who’ll turn 35 on Sept. 1, is 3-1 since ending a 2½-year layoff in March 2010. His three wins in Mexico came against a lower caliber of opposition, but Morales re-established his legitimacy by battling the heavily favored Maidana for 12 competitive rounds.
Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs) won a majority decision, but Morales walked away a winner, too.
“It helped me tremendously,” Morales said, “because I showed everybody that I can still do it. I love it. I love proving people wrong. But obviously the reality is that we’re here to do things right. People always say, ‘Oh, Erik Morales is old.’ I hear it. The one thing that’s true, when you do things right and you don’t cut corners, things come out. The result is there and you’ll see it Sept. 17.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.