Danny Garcia: Garcia’s knockout victory over Erik Morales on Saturday night in Brooklyn was spectacularly violent but means very little. The Morales who walked into the ring at Barclays Center had the same face and mind of the once-great champion but the body, ravaged over time, was not that of an elite fighter. The Mexican’s speed – both in his feet and hands – and reflexes were pathetically slow. In retrospect, he had no business in the ring with a young puncher like Garcia (25-0, 16 knockouts). Of course, none of the above is Garcia’s fault. The kid, who retained his RING junior welterweight championship, did his job. And he did it in a way that people remember – with a monstrous left hook that sent Morales twisting onto the canvas and into retirement. That could be the knockout of the year had it not come at the expense of such a sad figure. Next up? We’d like to see Garcia fight the likes Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado or Lucas Matthysse. He still has a lot to prove.
Erik Morales: Morales (52-9, 36 KOs) was a loser before he stepped into the ring, in my opinion. Some might accept the notion that he inadvertently ingested Clenbuterol – used primarily for weight loss – by eating contaminated meat. I don’t. The fact Morales has battled to make weight makes it too much of a coincidence for my taste. I’ll always believe that he cheated prior to his final important fight unless he is exonerated by a credible investigation, which I doubt will take place in light of his loss and plan to fight only once more in Mexico. That and the way he lost – by a brutal knockout that was hard to watch if you have any respect for Morales – was a sad way for a future Hall of Famer to go out, although many lose in such fashion in the end. Of course, Morales will one day be remembered for his many wars – including trilogies against Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao – when the memory of Saturday night and what led up to it fades away.
BIGGEST LOSER II
NYSAC AND CO.: The manner in which Morales’ failed drug test was handled by everyone involved made me sick. According to reports, both his “A” and “B” samples tested positive for Clenbuterol in tests conducted by the supposedly reputable USADA before the fight on Saturday. The next step should have been to bar Morales from fighting. Isn’t that the purpose of drug testing? To uncover cheaters and protect those who exchange punches? Instead, the NYSAC allowed Morales to take another test – which he passed – and the fight went on. The commission’s decision was based in part on Morales’ claim that he ate contaminated meat. Huh? Every athlete has an excuse after he or she fails a drug test. No fight would ever be canceled if commissions base their decisions on the word of the fighter. Of course, Morales has the right to give his side of the story. That should come after the fact, though. Consider this scenario: Morales does get his day in court, so to speak, and his story is refuted. Then he will have fought Garcia even though he intentionally took a banned substance. Something is wrong here.
Quillin-N’Dam: The fight between Peter Quillin (28-0, 20 KOs) and Hassan N’Dam (27-1, 17 KOs) on the Garcia-Morales card was both entertaining and unusual. The entertaining part was obvious. They fought toe-to-toe much of the fight, which is what most fans crave. The unusual part was this: N’Dam went down six times – two times each in the fourth, six and 12th rounds – in a fight that was otherwise very close. The three judges all scored it 115-107 for Quillin. That means that Quillin won only seven of the 12 rounds. It also means that N’Dam won five of nine the rounds in which he stayed on his feet. What did we learn? Quillin is more than explosive; he’s also tough. And the fact he had such a difficult time with N’Dam probably means he still has plenty of room to grow. It will be interesting to see he does in a deep and talented middleweight division. N’Dam couldn’t expect to win a fight after going down a half dozen times. He never stopped trying, though. That says a lot about him.
RABBIT PUNCHES: Devon Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs) executed a good game plan perfectly to defeat Randall Bailey (43-8, 37 KOs) by a one-sided unanimous decision on the Garcia-Morales card. However, his safety-first tactics made for a so-so fight. ÔÇª Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs) had to work hard to get past a determined Pablo Cesar Cano (25-2-1, 19 KOs) but got the job done on the Garcia-Morales card, winning a split decision in front of his hometown fans. That’s five victories in a row since he lost to Amir Khan, after which some wondered whether he was finished. ÔÇª Kell Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) stopped Hector Saldivia (41-3, 32 KOs) in three rounds Saturday in Sheffield, England, a nice victory for the rising welterweight. Let’s not get too excited, though. Saldivia had never fought anyone near Brook’s ability; he was a bit overmatched. We look forward to seeing Brook fight an elite opponent. ÔÇª Hardcore fans were stunned at Pungluang Sor Singyu’s ninth-round TKO over AJ Banal (28-2-1, 20 KOs) to win the vacant WBO bantamweight title Saturday in Manila. Sor Singyu (43-1, 28 KOs) had a gaudy record but had never fought anyone at Banal’s level. Now we know how good he is.