Erik Morales sent signals before and during his last fight against Danny Garcia, in March, that the end of the line was near.
The Mexican legend, a seven-time champion came in overweight, at 142 pounds, for a fight contracted for 140 pounds or less. Garcia got the best of Morales (52-8 with 36 KOs) who turned 36 on Sept. 1. In that scrap, for the vacant WBC junior welter crown, he scored a knockdown in round 11 en route to a unanimous decision.
After the fight, we heard that gallbladder surgery, three months prior to the bout, affected Morales. He only trained about four weeks, rather than a requisite two-plus months, for the scrap with Garcia.
Is it possible this is his last stand?
"Never. I hope my last performance will be in Tijuana, where I started," he told NYFightBlog, as translated by Golden Boy PR director Ramiro Gonzalez, during a workout on Tuesday.
So, did the surgery, so close to the battle in Texas, really throw you off your game in the first faceoff?
"What happened is not important. What is important is what will happen this Saturday," said Morales, who turned pro in 1993, and holds wins over Daniel Zaragoza, Junior Jones, Marco Antonio Barrera, Kevin Kelley and Manny Pacquiao. "We are ready. We are so well prepared. And, we want to win," he said.
A four-fight losing streak had him step away from the ring in 2007. He re-entered the fray in 2010 and is 4-2 in his return swing.
Asked for a prediction, he said: "I have big dreams. I have a big quest. And, I want to come to become a world champion one more time."
Will he? I have my doubts. Morales had trouble getting off in March. Spurred by a confidence infusion stemming from his TKO4 win over Amir Khanand, the 24-year-old Garcia could well be more of a beast this time. But I wouldn't bet more than figurative pocket change that Morales can't summon one last stellar performance. He owns will and character galore. We won't know how much of that remains until fight night.