Hispanic Heritage Month: Boxing Legend Erik Morales Discusses Storied Career & New Broadcasting Job
Life after playing professional sports can be a strange phase for athletes, particularly for boxers, but Erik Morales, who retired in June, it has not been that bad for the former champion known as "El Terrible."
Since hanging the gloves up, Morales joined the Fox Deportes boxing team -- teaming up with Mauricio Cardenas and former two-division boxing champion Daniel Ponce de Leon -- having made his debut last week in the lead-up to the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana fight.
"It's always a little difficult to explain to fans what one knows about boxing, communicating the things you know in an easy manner," said Morales to Latin Post.
"But over time, I have had to work out with other fighters, explaining to them what they have to do [in the ring] and how to go about it. And that's helped me adjust to what I am doing right now because I've done this before, going into details as to what needs to get done, and telling the audience, in a clear manner what's going on. It hasn't been easy, it's been a transition and I'm trying hard. Logically, I'll just keep improving."
For their part, Fox Deportes is excited about having a legend like Morales on the staff to help with the network's broadcast, with Morales bring a wealth of experience that comes with having been in the fight game since the age of 5, amassing a 108-8 amateur record before turning pro at the age of 16.
"We are pleased to add one of the world's most renowned boxers to our coverage," said Executive Vice President and General Manager of FOX Deportes Carlos Sanchez of Morales in a press release. "Boxing continues to be a leading sport within the Latino community, and his experience and knowledge helps to further elevate the caliber of our productions."
For the latest sports news, follow @LatinPostSports on Twitter
Early on as a professional (52-9 over his career), Morales made a huge name for himself, winning his first title in 2006 by defeating Daniel Zaragoza to win the World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantamweight title. Morales would go on to win in four different divisions -- becoming the first Mexican fighter to accomplish that feat -- taking the titles in the super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight and light welterweight divisions.
Morales' fighting resume has been nothing short of impressive en route to winning his championships, squaring off against the likes of Wayne McCullough, Kevin Kelley, Guty Espadas Jr., In-Jin Chi, Paulie Ayala, Jesus Chavez, and Carlos "Famoso" Hernandez. But Morales is best known for his two classic trilogies against fellow countryman Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao, proving that he was willing to go toe-to-to with the best fighters of his generation.
Even after retiring in 2007, due to ringing in his head in the aftermath of a loss to David Diaz, Morales came back in 2010 and faced the best possible competition available, including a tough bout against Maidana in 2011, which he lost by majority decision (114-114, 116-112, 116-112) before defeating Pablo Cesar Cano to win WBC light welterweight title in the late stages of his career.
Yet despite all of his accolades and the big names he has squared off against in the ring, his most memorable fight, in his opinion, may surprise many.
"I had a bout early in my career, at the local level, against Enrique Jupiter," Morales said. "He was the national champion [Mexican super-bantamweight title], a provincial fighter in Mexico. Many people in the country didn't think I could beat him, he was the "it" fighter at the time in the opinion of many Mexicans, the better fighter. I didn't just win, I knocked him out. Truth is that night, I was so happy because I felt I had a future in boxing."
As the nation celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, Morales takes great pride in the fact that he has etched his name in the rich tradition of Mexican boxers and sees a bright future for his fellow countryman Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. But he admits that the sport is currently at a turning point as the country looks for the next great Mexican fighter to step into the international spotlight.
"Mexico has a great history in the sport of boxing," Morales said.
"Mexico has always had a lot of impressive fighters and a lot of them don't start of as fan favorites. Boxing is going through a bit of a transition, with a new wave of fighters being led by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Canelo [Alvarez]. That said, I can bet you that at any given time a fighter will come out of nowhere and just grab the flag and run with it. Because that's how it tends to go in Mexico. We have had 149 world champions -- a lot of them were great champions and some that just came and went. So it would be reckless to just throw a name out. We just have to wait for the next great Mexican fighter to come onto the scene."
FOR MORE BOXING NEWS, VISIT LATIN POST.COM SPORTS PAGE
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!