Some rematches just don’t need to happen, regardless of how good the first fight was.
Simon Brown didn’t need to fight Tyrone Trice a second time. We saw how Trice struggled against Kevin Pompey in the interim and knew what the result would be. Dwight Muhammad Qawi didn’t need to fight Matthew Saad Muhammad again. We knew there were no miracles left in Matthew.
Danny Garcia–Erik Morales I was certainly no classic, which is what made the marketing behind a rematch even more curious. In the aforementioned fights, there was at least the promise of excitement despite an inevitable ending, and the idea that the combatants deserved a second crack and another payday after their first showing.
Morales had earned every one of his career spoils, but this one he was handed. When he fought Garcia in April of this year, he showed up overweight, and despite some success with a well-timed jab, was soundly defeated by a younger opponent.
His ability to create magic was left in the ring against Marcos Maidana the previous year.
The loss to Garcia was seen as an honest effort from a fighter who just didn’t have what it takes to beat faster, youthful opponents anymore. It should have been the final chapter of a feel-good story and an improbable comeback.
Instead, Morales either fooled himself or the paying public into believing the first go ’round with Garcia was an outlier. That given another chance, he’d arrive in better shape and with a game plan to stymie a fighter who does all the things he can’t contend with in his advanced age.
Everyone should have known better.
When Morales showed up to the Showtime promo shoot and reportedly refused to remove his robe, boxing fans should have read between the lines and seen the sagging physique through the silk layers.
Evidently, he was so far out of shape when the fight was signed that he needed to use an illegal hunger suppressant just to make the 140-pound limit. USASA’s finding of his usage should have been an escape route for Golden Boy to avoid the spectacle of a legend going out in sad fashion, but the bout went on anyway.
What’s sadder than seeing Morales getting 360d by a left hook is that the most noble and honest of fighters suddenly has an aura of dishonesty. It doesn’t mean he’s not a first ballot Hall of Famer, and it doesn’t erase his virtuoso performances of the past.
But it is proof that money can cloud the judgments of fighters, promoters and fans alike.
So since they wanted to sell you the Erik Morales of old, and you received nine minutes of someone else, take another nine minutes and relive the real “El Terrible.”
Not the terrible version trotted out this past Saturday.