by David P. Greisman
Erik Morales has announced his retirement, forgoing his plans of having a farewell fight before hanging up his gloves for good, according to a report by Salvador Rodriguez of ESPNDeportes.com.
Morales had stepped away from the sport once before, after his August 2007 loss to David Diaz, a defeat that had marked four losses in a row, including two to Manny Pacquiao and one to Zahir Raheem.
At the time, he cited a ringing in his head when Diaz hit him.
Morales’ comeback began in March 2010, and he won three in a row before stepping into the ring with Marcos Maidana at 140 pounds in April 2011. Morales gave Maidana a tougher-than-expected fight but ended up losing a majority decision.
He then won a vacant junior-welterweight title in September 2011, stopping Pablo Cesar Cano. Morales failed to make weight in his first title defense, losing a unanimous decision in March 2012 to Danny Garcia. He lost in his contractually mandated rematch with Garcia, suffering a one-sided four-round knockout in October 2012.
That dropped his record to 52-9 with 36 KOs.
He hadn’t fought since. Morales had hoped to fight Jorge Paez Jr. He had to pull out with a hand injury, however. At the time, he told Rodriguez that he wasn’t sure if the injury would allow him to be able to fight again.
And now, with the news that he is about to have another child, he is retiring again, the 37-year-old fighter told Rodriguez.
Morales won his first world in 1997 when he knocked out Daniel Zaragoza. He defended that belt successfully nine times, culminating with a split decision win over Marco Antonio Barrera in the first fight of their legendary trilogy. Barrera would win the second and third bouts.
Morales soon added world titles at featherweight, junior lightweight and, during his comeback, junior welterweight. Among the other fighters he beat during his Hall of Fame-worthy career were Wayne McCullough, Kevin Kelley, Guty Espadas Jr., In-Jin Chi, Paulie Ayala, Jesus Chavez, Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez and Manny Pacquiao (in the first fight of their trilogy).
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]