Maidana not taking Morales lightly
Saturday night, we find out if Erik Morales, at 34 years old, can still do the things that allowed him to win five world championships throughout his career.
His opponent, Marcos Maidana, does not need to know. He is already planning on the vintage Erik Morales, the one who beat Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barerra to show up. All that despite Morales’ last few fights, tune-ups for a big shot, which happens to be Maidana.
“Well, obviously, yes, I did see the fights,” Maidana said. “Basically, he looked like a fighter that was retired for two years, but that doesn’t take away anything. I’m prepared for the best possible Morales for this fight. I think that he’s going to come. I think it’s going to be a tough fight. I’m expecting the Morales of old, the Morales when he was in his prime. That’s what I’m training for.”
Maidana cannot take anything for granted. His first professional loss was a controversial decision to Andreas Kotelnik in 2009. In his last fight, he was knocked down in the first round by Amir Khan, but came back and stunned Khan badly in the 10th. Public opinion seemed to be split on who won, but it was Khan who walked away with a unanimous decision win.
“Obviously, I felt that I won,” Maidana admitted. “It was very disappointing, but no, I have a lot of confidence in the commission.”
Maidana’s style is one that is tough for opponents, and entertaining for fans. He is unorthodox, throws a lot of punches and looks for the big knockout. That is no secret. In fact, he already made it known to Morales that his game plan is the same as ever.
“I’m going to come out throwing punches, guns blazing,” he said. “If he can withstand it, great. If he can’t, then good night.”
Throughout pre-fight interviews and preparation, Maidana has been very complimentary of Morales’ career. He believes beating someone with the name recognition and resume of his opponent will raise his own profile. And while he says he is preparing for the Morales of old, he can’t help but scoff at the idea that a 34-year-old Erik Morales, barely a year out of retirement, can defeat him.
“Well, what I saw in those three fights was that he is a fighter that’s not in his prime anymore,” Maidana said. “He’s not at his prime any more. I’m in my prime. I think that’s going to be the difference. I’m going to win this fight.”