September 7th, 1997, the date that signalled the demise of an ageing warrior and the birth of young and hungry champion, destined for greatness.
That night, in El Paso, Texas, saw a 21 year old, undefeated Erik Morales, brutally dispatch fellow Mexican and international boxing hall of famer, Daniel Zaragoza, to capture his first World Title - the WBC Super Bantam-Weight belt.
The similarities between Morales’ famous victory over the legendary Zaragoza, and Danny Garcia’s devastating fourth round knockout of the equally as legendary Morales are stark.
Just like in 1997, where Morales dealt the knockout blow to Zaragoza’s career among boxing’s elite, both literally and metaphorically, so too did Garcia to Morales when he sent him sprawling to the canvas - the product of a vicious left hook which separated the great Morales from his senses.
The scenes of jubilation in Danny Garcia’s corner as the final bell sounded in the Barclays Center, New York (October, 20th) were in stark contrast to the scene of utter desolation in Morales’ camp.
The great ‘El Terrible’ Morales, on the brink of tears, looked like a broken man.
For a warrior of Morales’ ilk, the physical pain inflicted upon him by the Garcia, was pale into comparison to the emotional agony he will encounter, when he awakens to the bitter reality that his career as a prizefighter is over.
Like many a great, but ageing fighter before him, Erik Morales is in boxings last chance saloon.
But Morales should, by his own volition, sound the final bell and call time on a glorious career before the physical beatings begin to have a detrimental effect on his health.
But, the vast majority of distinguished champions, both past and present, were fighters long before they donned a pair of boxing gloves and hit the bag.
Instead a fight within the parameters of the ring was replaced by a fight for survival, often against the backdrop of grinding poverty and hardship.
Such tough and unforgiving beginnings, instilled people like Morales, with the sort of qualities such as, will, determination, desire and ruthless ambition that are pre-requisites for a professional boxer, not least a Prizefighter.
These very same qualities, which served great fighters so well in their ascent to the top, are the exact same attributes which convince them to fight on, in a bid to restore former glories.
On one hand, there is no doubt that Morales still possesses the heart and courage of a champion. On the other, it is beyond doubt that his physical decline makes it inconceivable that he will reclaim another World Title.
Surely Morales will admit defeat and accept that his knockout loss to Garcia was not merely another blemish on his record.
It is the end of an era for battle weary veteran. But the beginning of a legacy of a young, hungry and undefeated fighter destined for greatness, much in the same way Zaragoza acknowledged after his brutal knockout by a 21 year old, Erik Morales in 1997.
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