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Newz Forum: BOXING: Morales Wins Decision Over Chavez

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posted on Feb, 29 2004 @ 04:55 PM

Associated Press - February 28, 2004

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Jesus Chavez wasn't supposed to be able to beat Erik Morales with two good hands. With only one, he had no chance.

Morales dropped Chavez twice in the second round Saturday night, then took advantage of the champion's injured right shoulder the rest of the way to win a lopsided decision and the WBC 130-pound title.

Morales became only the second Mexican to win titles in three weight classes, joining the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, who was watching from ringside.

The fight began in spectacular fashion, with Chavez hurting Morales with a right hand that buckled his legs in the first round. But Morales came back to put Chavez on the canvas twice in the second round to take control of the fight.

Chavez, who had surgery on his shoulder a few months ago, hurt it again in the second round and threw only a few right hands the rest of the way. Still, he pursued Morales courageously, throwing left hand after left hand while taking a lot of punishment in return.

"I didn't know he was injured," Morales said. "The corner didn't tell me. He had very good rhythm."

Morales, who previously held titles at 122 and 126 pounds, was ahead 118-108 on one scorecard, 117-109 on a second and 115-112 on a third. The Associated Press had Morales winning 118-107.

"People saw what I did with one hand," Chavez said. "With two hands I would have knocked him out."

Morales, fighting at 130 pounds for only the second time, was a 3-1 favorite over Chavez, who was defending the title he won last August from Sirimongkol Singmannassuk for the first time.

Chavez (40-3, 28 knockouts) had predicted Morales might have trouble with his power, and when he caught Morales with a right hand midway through the first round it seemed like he knew what he was talking about. Morales was staggered and hurt, but his head cleared and he finished the round well.

Early in the second round, Morales threw a right uppercut that put Chavez on the canvas. Chavez got up at the count of seven, but Morales hit him with another flurry of punches that put him down for the second time.

Chavez got up, only to injure his right shoulder late in the round while trying to throw a punch.

"I had to fight with one hand," Chavez said. "I hope Erik stays at super feather. When my shoulder heals I want a rematch. It will be a different song."

Much of the remainder of the fight was fought in the same pattern, with Chavez moving forward, right arm at his side while throwing left hooks at Morales, who was cut over the right eye early in the fight.

Morales (46-1, 34 knockouts), who improved to 17-1 in title fights, said he plans to stay at 130 pounds.

"It's very important I stay at 130 and fight the best at that weight and unify the titles," Morales said.

On the undercard, Miguel Cotto's easily passed what was supposed to be his toughest test yet by knocking Victoriano Sosa down three times in the fourth round to remain unbeaten in 19 fights.

Cotto was simply too strong for Sosa, landing some big left hooks and bloodying his lip before finally putting him down midway through the fourth round of the 140-pound fight with a left hook.

Sosa got up at the count of seven, but it wasn't long before he was dropped by a left-right-left combination. He got up again, but was shaky as the action resumed and Cotto landed a flurry to put him down for a final time at 2:51 of the round.

The 2000 Olympian from Puerto Rico scored his 16th knockout in 19 fights in what may have been his most impressive performance yet.

"He's a really good fighter," Sosa said. "He's got a real good chance of being a world champion."

Cotto said he was ready to fight anyone after easily beating what he called his toughest opponent yet.

"I'll fight anyone my promoter and manager tells me to fight," Cotto said.

Sosa (36-4-2) had fought twice for the lightweight title, dropping a 12-round decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last April. He said Cotto hit harder than Mayweather.

"He's a very hard puncher," Sosa said. "Early in the fight I got him with some good shots but he's got a real good chin, too."

In another fight, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., son of the legendary three-time Mexican champion, improved to 5-0 with a four-round decision over Oisin Fagan of Ireland.

With his father looking on at ringside, the 18-year-old Chavez dominated the fight, landing big punches and winning all four rounds of the lightweight fight.

[Edited on 29-2-2004 by Ocelot]


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