Morales ready for "twelve hard rounds!"

By Alex Stone


Morales ready for "twelve hard rounds!" was on hand today for a conference call featuring Erik Morales talking about his highly anticipated rubber match with Manny Pacquiao (42-3-2 with 33 KOs). “The Grand Finale” will take place November 18, 2006 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Morales (48-4 with 34 KOs) has held five world titles in four separate weight classes, but has lost three of his last four fights, and may very well be looking at his last chance to remain a serious contender. He began the call stating that “I am 100 percent ready now. I can’t wait for November 18th.”

When asked what changes must be made in order to make this fight similar to the first one, which he won by unanimous decision, Morales said, “there really isn’t much to change. It’s just to have the ability to go twelve hard rounds, and I am ready to go twelve hard rounds. In the first fight, I needed to win with urgency, after a tough loss. In the second fight, I made too many changes in my training and in my camp. However, this time, we have gone back to the basics, my father is back in my camp. My father knows me and my strengths, and it makes me feel great to have him back.”

Much of the controversy surrounding Morales in recent times has been his struggle with the scales. However, Morales has hired a professional nutritionist, and says he is not worried. “Many of my problems have been with making weight. I have always been well aware of my diet and what I have to do. As I’ve gotten older, it’s [making weight] become harder, that’s why I have taken a lot of time to prepare for this fight. I have been very conscientious of my weight and what I put in my body.  Many of my problems have been with making weight. The Pacquiao camp has been saying they don’t think that I will make 130. I hope Pacquiao is ready, because there will be a fight! Right now, I look and feel great.”

When asked by Boxingtalk if he would consider switching weight classes if making 130 pounds continued to be a problem, Morales stated “I don’t know if I would jump up in weight. We well have to see after November 18th.” Morales certainly understands the importance of this fight, noting that “without a doubt” he has to win next weekend to still be considered an elite fighter.

Boxingtalk also questioned Morales’ remaining longevity in the sport- regardless of the result of the rubber match, a longevity that is amazing considering the number of wars he has been in. “Obviously, I’ve been in a lot of tough fights,” said Morales. “My main focus is on November 18th, we will see after that. I don’t really know how much longer I will be in the sport.”

According to promoter Bob Arum, more than 13,000 tickets have been sold, and the event is currently on pace to be sold out. There are still around 4,000 tickets available. Pacquiao vs. Morales III, “The Grand Finale” will be broadcast on HBO Pay-Per-View.