By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Former three division champion Erik Morales (52-7, 36KOs) stopped previously undefeated Pablo Cesar Cano (22-1-1, 17KOs) within ten rounds to capture the vacant WBC junior welterweight title.
The fight opened up with a very tactical pace. Both boxers were feeling each other out, which made it hard to score but Cano had the slight edge with his boxing and movement. Morales turned up the pressure in the second round, and started testing the younger boxer's desire to trade punches. Cano was willing to trade and he managed to catch Morales with some very good combinations. In the third, Morales applied more pressure and started landing some damaging punches in the final minute.
They started trading a lot more leather in the fourth. Cano was giving the veteran plenty of punches in return, but Morales was landing the harder and more punishing combinations. A small cut opened up around the left eye of Cano. The fifth was close and it could have went either way, but Cano opened up with a big rally of punches in the final thirty seconds to start a Mexican war. Morales took some hits, and then fired back, but he was getting outhustled by the younger fighter.
Morales came out with some added fire in the sixth round and managed to get the better of Cano. The left eye of Cano was swelling up. They were trading mor leather in the seventh, The left eye of Morales opened up after Cano landed a winging right hand. Cano regained control with the more accurate punches and started punishing the veteran. Morales stopped punching in the final minute, which allowed Cano to come on strong.
Morales came out throwing hard shots to bust Cano's nose. He started timing his punches very well. Cano was having a lot of trouble getting out of the way. Both of Cano's eyes were swelling up and the damage on his face was starting to get serious. Morales' face was not doing too well either.
The nose of Cano was bleeding bad and Morales was coming on strong in the ninth. Cano was retreating and attempting to counter in spots, but his punches appeared to have lost their steam. The tenth started a lot better for Cano. He was landing better, but Morales came firing back and further damaged the left eye of Cano. The unbeaten fighter's face was a bloody mess from the punishment he was taking.
The fight was stopped at the end of the tenth round.