The news that the legendary Mexican, Erik Morales has been suspended from boxing for two years after testing positive for banned drug Clenbuterol will, for some ring observers, taint an otherwise brilliant career.
It will represent the shameful end of a career perpetuated by such glorious, yet punishing performances, with exhilarating highs and crushing lows.
However, as far as the adoring boxing public –myself included - are concerned, the 36-year-old Morales’ marvellous achievements means that the ban will merely merit a blemish on his resume, not fit enough to mar the legacy of one of the greatest ever fighters to ever don a pair of boxing gloves.
El Terrible Morales, who grew up on the mean streets of Zona Norte, Tijiuana, Mexico, was quite literally born a fighter; the result of being delivered in his father Jose’s makeshift boxing gym below his house.
It was pre-ordained that Morales would follow in his father’s footsteps, and carve out a career from the sweet science. Still, no-one could have foreseen the heights of greatness that he would scale.
His hellacious trilogies with Pacquaio and Barrera were fights that defined a vintage era in the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions. The epic, often bloody wars, that Morales contested throughout his career transcended the sport and cemented his legacy as a true ring great, endearing him to millions of fans around the world.
The first Mexican fighter in history to claim titles in four different weight classes; Super Bantamweight, Featherweight, Super Featherweight and Light-Welterweight, his achievements in the ring are beyond reproach.
Yet the rumour mill will be rife with accusations that some of his stunning victories were fuelled by performance enhancing drugs. A price the fallen idol must pay for the guilty verdict issued by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for the misuse of prohibited anabolic agent he tested positive for in October, 2012.
Paradoxically, his thrilling but brutal encounters that marked his meteoric rise also triggered a premature physical demise. The savage physical punishment sustained in some of his bloody battles simply had to leave some sort of indelible imprint upon him. And so they did, as many so called ring experts had all but written him off as a fading force as early as the age of 28.
In spite of all this, in typically warrior like fashion, he redeemed himself and managed to claim a World Title, in a 4th weight class, despite being a shadow of his former self. A testament to how awesome a force of nature he was in his prime, and a shining example to all aspiring athletes that impossible is nothing if you have the will and desire to realise your dreams.
Although, it signals a sad end to a glorious career, the ban may be a blessing in disguise, as it will prevent the great, but ageing champion taking anymore unnecessary punishment.
Thanks for the memories Morales you will always be a Champion in the eyes of any true fans of boxing.
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