5 reasons Erik Morales will win
Five keys to victory for Erik Morales against Danny Garcia
Saturday's junior welterweight title fight between champion Erik Morales, 35, and challenger Danny Garcia, 24, at Houston's Reliant Arena represents much more than a test of youth against experience. It's a clash of two completely different boxing idiosyncrasies, of two fighters raised in different environments and different boxing schools.
The legendary Morales (52-7, 36 KOs) represents a boxing tradition in Mexico for which the willingness to spill every drop of blood in the ring and the determination to fight to the last breath are just as important as knowing how to throw a jab or a left hook. And as a Philadelphia fighter, Garcia (22-0, 14 KOs) hails from a boxing hotbed where it seems there's a potential champion in every gym and where the sport is as much a part of the city's legacy as cheesesteak sandwiches. Both fighters have solid technical foundations but are willing to let technique fly out the window and turn a fight into a street brawl if that's what it takes to win.
Here's a look at five different keys for Morales to win this fight:
Lean on him
|Garcia is a clever fighter, but he has very limited mobility. He can be the aggressor in retreat and he's capable of cutting the ring wisely, but he rarely charges forward more than a step or two at a time. Morales needs to control Garcia with a strong, two-fisted attack to keep him backpedaling. If he does, Garcia will find himself worrying too much about trying to find his spaces in the ring, taking him out of his usual fight plan.|
|The next logical step, after continuously throwing the 1-2 instead of just trying to control Garcia with the jab, is for Morales to stay on his toes, move in and out and avoid giving angles to Garcia, who works best when his opponent falls into his trap and tries to exchange punches at mid-range. This will be tough on Morales' aging, battered body, but he needs to give it a shot if he wants to avoid eating leather all night (especially from those strong, digging hooks to the body that Garcia throws so well).|
Watch the flying right hand
|Morales may not be big on defense, but he needs to pay attention to it this time out. He may be accustomed to trading left hooks and guarding his right side more than anything else, but because Garcia isn't going to do any damage upstairs with that weak left hook of his, Morales would be better served to keep an eye out for that wild, looping overhand right that has been so good to Garcia. If Morales can find a way to neutralize one of Garcia's best weapons, his chances on Saturday increase exponentially.|
Peep for that hole
|Garcia has a tremendous right hand and a decent jab, but his aforementioned left hook is slow, inaccurate and very easy to counter. Morales needs to find that space and make good use of it -- just wait for that opening, maybe luring Garcia in with a few lazy right hands of his own, and then sneak in a few crosses and uppercuts to see what he can build on. Garcia's torso will be out of reach and he has a pretty strong midsection, so Morales might get his best results taking aim at that notorious defensive hole upstairs.|
You got rhythm, and so do I
|Garcia never loses his cool, even when he's under pressure. He maintains a good pace, but his pauses and breaks are pretty predictable. Morales needs to throw off his rhythm in a big way and keep Garcia guessing what his next move will be. A single approach won't be enough. Morales should fight in spurts, keeping Garcia from getting into his zone and from launching any kind of steady attack. If Morales was able to pull off the strategy against a pressure fighter like Marcos Maidana during various stages of their fight, he can certainly do it against the more passive Garcia.|
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.
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