Overweight Morales loses his title
Erik Morales has lost his WBC light-welterweight title by weighing in over the limit for his fight against Danny Garcia.
The 35-year-old Mexican, who meets Garcia in Houston, Texas, on Saturday night, was about 1 kg over the limit at the weighin on Friday.
Morales weighed 65.54 kg. His American opponent was just inside the 63.5 kg limit, weighing 63.4 kg.
Morales, who takes a professional record of 52-7 (including 36 knockouts) into the ring, immediately forfeited the title.
Garcia, whose record stands at 22-0 with 14 knockouts, still has to win the fight to take over the title. Any other result will leave the title vacated.
The fight, which will be televised live on SuperSport on Sunday morning, had been delayed from January so Morales could undergo gallbladder surgery.
Morales won the vacant WBC belt last September with a tenth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten compatriot Pablo Cesar Cano.
He has won four of his five fights since ending a three-year layoff in 2010. He is the first Mexican to win world titles in four weight divisions – super-bantamweight, featherweight, super-featherweight and light-welterweight.
Garcia, 24, has never fought for a world title.
Live television coverage of the tournament will start at 3 am (SA, CAT, GMT+2) on SS 7 on DStv, and can also be enjoyed on HD.
Morales said earlier this week he was looking beyond this fight, even though some critics feel he is on his way out.
He said he was eager to prove he has the form to face tougher opponents, such as England's Amir Khan, unbeaten American Tim Bradley or elite welterweights.
"Boxing is not just about strength and a few words," Morales said. "To beat a young man, to beat his speed, his dream, his hunger, will show I'm still at the top level.
"He's a great fighter. He has made his mark in the sport," Garcia said on Thursday. "He's a crafty veteran, smart, knows how to fight, how to win. He has had his time to shine. Come Saturday night, there will be a new champion."
BIGGER AND BETTER FIGHTS
It remains to be seen how Morales will perform after lsing his title. On Thursday he said: "My motivation is for bigger and better fights beyond this fight. The word 'loss' does not cross my mind."
The veteran lost an interim title fight to Argentina's Marcos Maidana by majority decision last April, but bounced back in September with a tenth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten countryman Pablo Cesar Cano to claim the vacant WBC belt.
"I'm very excited," Morales said. "I'm well trained and well prepared to fight this young man who is hungry and who dreams of ripping my title away and sending me into retirement.
"I feel rejuvenated. I needed to take some time off to decide what I wanted to do. Now I know. I'm 100 per cent committed to boxing."
"There are some doubts in my mind," Morales said. "There are some kinds of fights I want to fight but I don't know if I am 100 per cent prepared for those fights. This type of fight will let me know if I am ready."
Garcia is coming off a split-decision victory over compatriot Kendall Holt in Los Angeles last November.
"It has been a long road going from the undercards to the main event and I'm ready to be a champion now. I knew I had a lot of hard work to do and I put that work in," Garcia said.
"You've got to prepare, be smart, use your brain … that's what I'm going to do. I'm in tip-top shape. I always go in there for the knockout. If the knockout does not come, I'm ready to go twelve rounds."
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