This coming Saturday, Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia will look to fulfill one of his dreams when he challenges WBC junior welterweight champion and Mexican legend Erik ‘El Terrible’ Morales in a very winnable fight at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas.
Televised on HBO’s Boxing After Dark underneath an intriguing junior middleweight pairing between Chicago’s Carlos Molina and resurgent James Kirkland, the Morales fight could either serve as a springboard to a taste of semi-stardom for Garcia, at least in boxing terms, or be a serious gut-check against one of the best fighters from the lower weight classes in recent memory.
Earlier this month I crossed paths with London’s Ashley Theophane inside of the Mayweather Boxing Club and soon thereafter saw the Morales-Garcia fight pop up in my head.
Theophane knows Garcia very well, as he put forth a very tough fight in dropping a split-decision to him in February of 2010 at the Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas.
Possessing a respectable 31-4-1 record with nine early outs, Theophane is a bit of a free spirit and a great guy to talk some boxing with. Looking back on his time with Garcia, Theophane seemed to speak on the bout as if it was yesterday.
“When I fought Danny Garcia, I felt that I had that fight in my grasp,” stated Theophane, who was in Las Vegas by way of New York during an eight-week training stint in America. “I could have won, but the turning point was the round where the referee took off the point. I got mad at the kid, and automatically in my head thought that I won the fight. I took my foot off the gas pedal and he won that round. I think it was the ninth round.”
Following his bout with Theophane, Garcia has continued to win, last year racking up three victories, the latter two being decision nods over former champions Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt to boost his record to 22-0 with 14 knockouts. Theophane has seen Garcia’s progression but doesn’t know how much stock to put into the Holt triumph.
“The Kendall Holt fight was a good fight but it all depends, how much more Holt has left in his tank,” Theophane continued. “You saw that [Kaizer] Mabuza stopped him. With Holt, if you pressure him, he usually folds, like nowadays. His conditioning is not the best. Danny, he’s young, he’s got a world title shot soon and he’s winning. That’s all you can do is win.”
Morales was thought to be done with boxing after his August 2007 points loss to David Diaz but returned in 2010 to stage a comeback against slightly-known but limited opposition.
Morales then surprised many by accepting a fight with Argentinean bruiser Marcos Maidana last April and shocked everyone even further with his spirited effort on that night, pushing Maidana to the limit despite dropping a majority-decision inside of the MGM Grand.
One fight later and Morales would capture a title in a fourth weight class when he stopped a bloodied Pablo Cesar Cano in the tenth round of a slugfest on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz undercard. And despite still showing some life and spirit at the age of 35, Theophane isn’t sold on Morales’ chances of fending off a determined Garcia.
“I basically think that the 2012 Morales, Danny should be able to beat him,” Theophane continued. “Because Danny’s fresh, he’s young, he’s hungry as well. Morales, I think he will lose this fight.”
But the story doesn’t stop there, at least in Theophane’s eyes. He couldn’t help but to chime in on the WBC’s #1 contender, Nigerian-born, London transplant Ajose Olusegun, who Theophane has spent several years in the gym with.
If you ask Theophane, Olusegun will be putting the belt around his waist in due time.
“The thing is, whoever wins that fight, has Olusegun, the mandatory, and I think he will beat both of them,” Theophane added. “I’ve been sparring him the last ten, eleven years, I know this dude. He’s a beast. He’s been the world number one for two years. [Devon] Alexander didn’t box him, [Tim] Bradley didn’t box him, and he was the number one then. He’s had to do an eliminator and he’s the mandatory now.
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