By James Blears
After watching Ingemar Johansson train for the first fight against Floyd Patterson, in which he won the heavyweight title back in 1959, Rocky Marciano decided to try his hand in the gym for the first time in three years. After a month of sweat and toil, he abandoned any notion of a comeback, and retained his 49-0 perfect record.
Marvellous Marvin Hagler said that after he couldn’t secure a return fight against Sugar Ray Leonard and decided to retire, he forced himself to stay away from the gym for two years, so he wouldn’t be enticed to lace gloves on again. As he put it: “You think you can recapture it be your old self…but you end up being an old you!
Erik Morales scaled five flights of stairs, to reach the Zona Rosa offices of the WBC in Mexico City the other day. By the time he sat down beside Don Jose Sulaiman, Erik was puffing and panting a bit. It took him appreciably more than a minute to regain his breath.
Noticeably trimmer than he appeared a few months ago, Erik still looks round about middleweight proportions, especially when sitting next to the lean crew cut David Lopez, who’s ranked fifth in the WBC’s super welterweight division, just one place below Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
An amiable Erik, told the press conference that he’s going back to his bleak windswept old stamping ground of the Otomi High Altitude Training Center perched in the mountains overlooking Toluca, to knuckle down to some weeks of hard training, combined with some slimming, which will pear him down to super lightweight proportions. He last fought and lost a close decision to then WBC Lightweight Champion David Diaz two years ago.
Erik who’s wisely not boxed himself into a corner, by self imposing a comeback deadline says he’ll work out to see how he feels. If the answer’s good, he’ll fight a ten rounder, and take it from there.
Although he’s thrilled boxing with triple fight series against Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao, plus heart on his sleeve wars against other greats, Erik who’s still only thirty-two years old insists that he’s not burned out, and that he wants another try.
No Mexican boxer has yet succeeded in winning world titles at four different weights. And this still seems to be in the forefront, than the back of Erik’s mind.
Jose Sulaiman who’s praised Erik as one of the greatest WBC Champions, has also repeatedly gone on record as saying that he has nothing left to prove and that a comeback would be ill advised.
In this meeting, Don Jose adopted a taciturn wait and see stance, saying that Erik’s weight target seems sensible. He then warned of the dangerous consequences that drastic weight loss via dehydration causes in fighters.
It ended as a draw steeped in mutual respect from long standing friendship, but it was as plain as a pikestaff to all present, that Don Jose’s views on the matter remain largely unaltered.