Brooklyn and boxing fans around the world did not have to wait long to see Erik Morales get knocked out in the fourth round by the sharp left hook of Danny Garcia to remain undefeated WBA,WBC and Ring super lightweight champion .
For the second time this year Morales allowed Garcia to beat him, but the fight almost did not go through as planned. Garcia initially decided to cancel the rematch with Morales after he failed two random U.S. Anti-Doping Agency test in recent weeks, but after realizing he would forfeit a $1 million purse, he quickly changed his mind Saturday with some family assistance.
“Mentally when I found out that his urine was dirty, I was like that’s we took the test and I’m not going to do it,” Garcia said. “I wanted a fair fight. But when I woke up in the morning, my mom told my dad that I should fight because she had a gut feeling that I would win. So I listened to my mom and I went on with the fight.”
Morales tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, which is used to assist in weight loss most of the time. In their first fight in Houston, Morales failed to make weight, which caused him to be stripped of his super lightweight title. Garcia went on to win the vacant belt on a unanimous decision the next night.
Morales blamed the positive test from tainted meat he had eaten in his native Mexico, but the New York State Athletic Commission allowed the fight to go through.
For the first two rounds of the fight, both fighters were trying to feel each other out. When the third round began Garcia began attacking Morales with body shots, which continued into the beginning of the fourth. That is when he landed clean right hook on the right side of Morales’ head.
“I noticed when I was backing him up with the jabs a little bit and when I was in the pocket hit with a hook one time,” Garcia said. “My dad was like, ‘You slapped him with a hook.’ So the second time I was backing him up. He was trying to take me to the body so I just stood in the pocket. I just turned my whole body. I hit him with a perfect left hook and it landed.”
Youth may have played a significant in Morales defeat because Garcia was faster and stronger. The 24-year-old Garcia (25-0) is entering the prime of his career, while 36-year-old Morales (52-9) is losing his dominance.
Morales held the super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight and junior welterweight titles. He was fighting on the East Coast for the first time and lost for third time in his last four fights.
“I’m OK, I’m OK,” Morales said through a translator after the vicious knockout. “I was prepared to win this fight, but I couldn’t do it.”
Morales went on to say that he plans to retire -for the second time- after his next fight in Tijuana, Mexico.
“This is my last fight in the United States,” Morales said. “I want to say goodbye in Tijuana, Mexico. Time passes everyone by. I came to fight. I was ready. It’s early signs that it’s over.”
Garcia connected on 26 percent of his 220 punches thrown. He landed 47-of-91 power punches, including nine of his 13 that led to him Morales.
With Garcia fulfilling the rematch clause in his contract from the first fight he can now concentrate on other opponents, such as Lucas Matthysse and a possible rematch with Amir Khan. Garcia also knocked out the heavy favorite Khan in the fourth round in July to add another 140-pound belt to his collection.
Garcia is ready and not backing down from the next challenge.
“I never ducked anyone. I want to fight anyone,” Garcia said. “You want the belts? You gotta come and get ‘em.”