Erik Morales is one of Mexico’s most famous boxing legends. Although he is now retired, he has formerly occupied numerous Featherweight, Super Featherweight and Bantamweight titles. Many of the battles he has taken part in have been noted as some of the most exciting in boxing history, and his fights were always guaranteed to draw a large, noisy crowd.
In the formative years of his boxing career Morales remained largely undefeated. However, his performance took a turn for the worse which contributed to his decision to retire. He still remains one of the most successful boxers of all time, and will no doubt be accepted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Erik Morales was born into a boxing family. His father had been a Flyweight contender in the 1970s, and he brought his sons up to love the game as much as he did. Morales’ younger brother has also competed professionally in the sport, and is a former WBO Super Flyweight champion.
Erik first put on a pair of boxing gloves at the tender age of five, and it is reported that he took part in 114 amateur fights, winning 11 major amateur titles in Mexico. He made his professional debut when he was 16 years old, in a fight against Jose Orejel in 1993.
Morales started his professional boxing history in Bantamweight fights, and at only 21 years old he made history by managing to defeat the defending Bantamweight Champion, Daniel Zaragoza, by knocking him out in 11 rounds.
A year later he made history once again by knocking out Junior Jones, who was the junior Champion of the United States. Jones had been previously unbeaten by 35 other Mexican fighters, but it was Morales who managed to bring him down in the 4th round.
This fight also took place in Morales’ hometown, Tijuana, and was Jones’ first fight in Mexico. Morales’ most prominent victory in the Bantamweight category came 2 years later, in 2000, when he took the WBO Super Bantamweight title in a fight against Marco Antonio Barrera. Judging Morales as the winner of this fight was a split decision, and the match is regarded as one of boxing’s classic attacks.
A Move to Featherweight
After his wins in the Bantamweight division, Morales decided to move up to the Featherweight division. One of his greatest wins came in only his second fight in this division, when he knocked out the former world champion, Kevin Kelley.
The fight took place in 2000, and Morales won the match in the 7th round when he struck 5 consecutive undercuts against Kelley. The following year Morales had more success when he knocked out another WBC Featherweight Champion, Guty Espadas Jr. He won in the 13th round, giving him his 3rd world title.
Morales defended this title against In Jin Chi from South Korea the following year, but in 2002 he experienced his first ever defeat when he fought another match against Barrera. This was Morales’ 42nd match, and is often described as one of the most tactical fights in boxing’s history.
Barrera took a more technical approach to the match which paid off as he was pronounced winner in a unanimous decision, taking Morales’ Featherweight title. Later that year, Erik managed to regain his form by defeating Paulie Ayala, (a former world champion), Eddie Croft, Fernando Velardez and winning yet another fight against Guty Espadas Jr.
The Super Featherweight Years
In 2004 Morales took his first WBC Super Featherweight title in a fight against Jesus Chavez. His victory was a unanimous decision, making him only the second Mexican to win major titles in 3 separate divisions.
Later this same year he amalgamated this Super Featherweight title with another victory, by winning the IBF Junior lightweight version of this former title. 2004 also saw the 3rd match of the Morales vs. Barrera trilogy, this time in the Super Featherweight division.
Barrera had also moved to this division after he had been defeated by Manny Pacquiao and wanted to challenge Morales once again. In this final match between the pair, Barrera was declared the winner in a majority decision, taking the WBC Super Featherweight champion title. However, the following year Morales regained some form when he managed to defeat Barrera’s previous opponent, Manny Pacquiao.
The Beginning Of The End
On the 10th September 2005, Morales moved to the Lightweight division. He was unsuccessful in his first fight at 135 pounds, losing to Zahir Raheem on points. This losing streak continued into 2006 when he was defeated by Pacquiao in their rematch.
This was one of the most anticipated fights of the year, and was a ferocious battle. Morales was knocked downed by Pacquiao twice in the tenth round, with the match being stopped on the second occasion. Morales also had a trilogy of matches with Pacquiao, fighting the 3rd of these in November 2006 in front of a crowd of over 11,000.
Again Morales was defeated when he was knocked out in only the 3rd round. It was after this match that Morales started to doubt whether he should continue with boxing. He had moved up to the Lightweight division in an attempt to gain a 4th WBC title, and fought against David Diaz for this WBC Lightweight title on the 4th August 2007 at the Allstate Arena.
Unfortunately he lost in a unanimous decision and Erik Morales announced his retirement from boxing that same night, at the age of 28.
- Date of Birth : 01/09/1979
- Nationality : Mexican
- Nickname : El Terrible
- Height : 5′ 8”
- Reach : 72”
- Rated at : Lightweight
- Managed by : His father, Jose Morales
- Trained by : Fernando Fernandez and Jose Morales
- Total Fights : 54
- Total Wins : 48
- WBC World No. 1
- WBA World No. 1
- Ranked The Ring No. 2
- WBC Super Featherweight World Champion, one successful defence
- IBF Jr. Lightweight World Champion
- Two-time WBC Featherweight World Champion, three successful defences
- WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion, nine successful defences
- NABF 1996 “Boxer of the Year”
- Mexican Super Bantamweight Champion, one successful defence