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List of Articles by Ronnie Nathanielsz


 

MAGNIFICENT MANNY SMASHES MORALES IN THIRD ROUND KO

By Ronnie Nathanielsz
PhilBoxing.com
19 Nov 2006

The Philippines national treasure Manny Pacquiao in a magnificent display of speed, power and indomitable courage smashed legendary Mexican Erik “El Terrible” Morales to the canvas three times en route to a spectacular third round knockout before a sell-out crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

It was another glorious Sunday celebration for a nation that has kept faith with a young hero for whom they went down on their knees and prayed in this predominantly Catholic country for another moment of unbridled joy. Pacquiao, unquestionably
the most exciting fighter today and deservedly No.1 in the pound-for-pound rankings broke away from the shackles of his childhood poverty with fists of fury to prove to the world the worth of the Filipino and, single-handedly, restored the respect for the Filipino in the international community.

Not all the scientific weight reduction methods that Morales was forced to resort to could save him from the devastating punching power of Pacquiao who was like a super typhoon racing across the Pacific and destroying a Mexican hero in his path.

The end came at 2:57 of three brutal rounds when Pacquiao nailed the gallant former three-time world champion with a thundering left straight that sent him sprawling onto the canvas to signal the end of what had been a terrific, action-packed battle and a fitting Grand Final to their famous trilogy where Morales won the first by a twelve round unanimous decision last year and Pacquiao stormed back to win the rematch by a tenth round demolition. Morales tried in vain
to fight back but he simply couldn’t fend off the Filipino whirlwind and when he went down for the third time in the fight and the second time in round three he sat on the canvas a battered and broken fighter and told his corner that he had enough.

Pacquiao who came into the venue with wife Jinkee and manager Shelly Finkel didn’t have the usual smile across his face and looked serious knowing full well that he was going into a career defining fight with an opponent who had trained long and
hard in an effort to avenge his first KO loss in an illustrious career. Thousands of flag-waving Filipinos and Mexicans cheered their fighters on and the classy rendition of the Philippine National Anthem by Viva superstar Sarah Geronimo preceded a spectacular showing by the nation’s ring idol.

Pacquiao prayed in his corner longer than usual reinforcing his appeal to God at a Holy Mass celebrated in his plush suite at the Wynn Hotel yesterday morning in which he prayed not for victory but for the Lord’s protection against harm both
for Morales and himself. In a surprising development Pacquiao who came in together with Morales at 129 pounds at the official weigh-in on Friday, weighed 144 pounds in a pre-fight check while Morales weighed 139 pounds.

Pacquiao showed his incredible speed in round one as he caught Morales with a couple of rapid-fire combinations highlighted by a vicious left uppercut and a right hook that clearly stunned Morales whose training at the Velocity Sports Performance Center helped him make weight and stand up early to the power of Pacquiao but in the end crumbled.

Morales tried to turn the tide in round two and went after Pacquiao but the southpaw from General Santos City dropped Morales with a deadly left hook before the two engaged in a toe-to-toe exchange as the over 18,000 fans roared. At the end of the round Morales appeared to taunt Pacquiao before he went to his corner. In the fatal third round Pacquiao, a picture of concentration who was unconcerned about Morales’ talk proved he was the superior fighter when he dropped Morales
once again with a vicious left straight. Referee Vic Drakulich who had waved Pacquiao to his corner after a previous knockdown which gave the Mexican some breathing space as Pacquiao was eager to pounce on him had no choice but to acknowledge the triumph of Pacquiao.

With a record of 43-3-2 with 33 knockouts Pacquiao is riding the crest of an amazing career and is still in his prime while Morales whose record dropped to 48-5 with 24 KO’s and many believe he will retire after the successive batterings at the hands of Pacquiao

Pacquiao said the early ending was unexpected and he had prepared for a longer battle. He indicated he wanted to spend time with his family and celebrate with his countrymen who have stood by him and supported him all the way. Celebrated trainer Freddie Roach said everyone wants to see a fight against WBC super featherweight champion Marco Antonio Barrera “ because he has all the belts right now” but although there is a March date set aside for a Barrera fight, they are not thinking about it right now. Roach said the key to the crushing win was that Pacquiao moved well and when he did Morales was lost while Pacquiao’s speed speed “ was just too much.”

In a post fight interview Morales said Pacquiao was “very strong, very fast. He did what he always does and came right at me.” Morales conceded that “sooner or later he would catch me.” The beaten Mexican said he was going to “think real
hard about my future. I am going to take a long time to decide and maybe he I will go home and forget about it.”

Millions of Filipinos who crowded into theaters, gymnasiums, hotels, bars and even church compounds erupted every time Morales went down and when Pacquiao decked him for the third and final time there were scenes of wild and joyous celebrations with shouts of “idol! Idol!”

The fight was beamed “live” by the country’s premier sports network Solar Sports on a pay-per-view basis while the delayed telecast on the Solar Sports channel and the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN were loaded with commercials which fans who followed the action on free TV had to bear with but soon forgot in the jubilation
over Pacquiao’s victory.


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