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Maidana survives resurgent Morales
"Action Heroes" card action-packed

Ringside by Andreas Hale
Photos by Chris Cozzone

It was expected to be a slaughter in front of 7,154 rabid Mexican fans at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas as heavy-hitting Marcos Maidana took on living legend Erik Morales.

It was anything but.

Maidana won an extremely hard fought 12- round majority decision against a one-eyed Erik Morales to claim the interim WBA world junior welterweight title. They said that Morales had lost his mind for opting to fight Maidana (30-2) who came into the fight winning 27 of his first 29 fights by knockout. For the opening minutes of the initial stanza, it appeared that everyone was right.

Maidana blitzed Morales from the opening bell and closed the right eye of “El Terrible” within minutes of the first round with a thunderous uppercut. Morales (51-7) looked like a shell of his former self as he was sluggish, battered and beaten when the first round came to a close. It was such a one-sided affair that most hoped would end mercifully in the second. But Morales pressed on and despite the pounding he took, something slowly came alive in the Mexican legend as the rounds wore on. Try as he might, the Argentinean could not put away his foe. Instead, all Maidana did with each thudding blow was wake up a monster. In the closing minutes of round five, Morales uncorked a hellacious combination that staggered Maidana and everything changed from that point on. With the largely Mexican crowd erupting on “Mexico” chants, Morales began to grow stronger as he began sinking combinations into a winded Maidana.

The roles changed and the hunter became the hunted, but fortunately for Maidana, he already had the first half of the fight in the bag and “El Terrible” had a lot of catching up to do. But he came very close to pulling off the massive upset with one eye and enough heart for two men. Morales rallied in the middle rounds and hurt Maidana several times with blazing combinations that brought back memories of the Morales of old. In the eighth round, Morales wobbled Maidana with a huge left hook that nearly took “Chino” out.

With the fight in the balance, Maidana wouldn’t let a little exhaustion get in the way. Maidana sucked it up and closed the fight by being the aggressor and outworking Morales in the 11th and 12th rounds to claim the victory. Judges saw the fight 114-114 and 116-112 (twice) as Maidana raised his hand in victory.

But while Maidana won the fight, Morales won over the people as the crowd lustily booed the decision and cheered their champion.

"I want a rematch. I thought I won,” Morales said. “El Terrible” put on a performance for the ages just when everyone counted him out. “I'm better than him.”

He may not have won the battle, but he proved that this may not be the last we have heard of Erik Morales.

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Guerrero Dominates Katsidis

Robert Guerrero knows he has some catching up to do in order to say he has a fraction of the fight his wife has instilled in her after she came back and defeated leukemia. But the rising star known as “The Ghost” put on an excellent performance as he earned a 12 round unanimous decision in a heated battle against Michael Katsidis to win both the WBA and WBO interim lightweight titles.

It was a fight that was supposed to take place in March 2010, but Guerrero had to withdraw and tend to his cancer-stricken wife. But now with his wife winning her bout with cancer, Guerrero would go on to beat down Katsidis for 12 rounds. Guerrero throttled the battle tested Katsidis with a left hand that couldn’t miss as he was more aggressive than he has been in the past. It didn’t help matters any that Guerrero looked like a middleweight facing a lightweight, but Katsidis wouldn’t back down tried to get inside. Katsidis would lose two points in the eighth round after going south with a committed body attack. Guerrero would also be penalized for low blows. Guerrero was sharper, stronger and landed the more telling blows as he won with scores of 117-108, 118-106, 118-107.

“I feel great. I won two titles,” Guerrero said. “I’m a warrior. I got in there got busy used my jabs and punches…I’m ready for anyone Marquez, Zab, Mayweather or the winner from tonight. Anyone.”

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Ishida Shocks The World, TKOs Kirkland

In a massive upset, Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida (23-6-2, 8 KOs) destroyed previously unbeaten James Kirkland (27-1) in the first round en route to a shocking TKO victory.

The little known Ishida wasn’t expected to be anything more than a crash test dummy for the powerful James Kirkland. It would take little more than a minute for those roles to be reversed as Ishida quickly starched Kirkland. A straight left hand floored Kirkland in the first minute and a two punch combination put “The Mandingo Warrior” down again moments later. Kirkland had never been in serious trouble before running into the 6’2” Ishida. Rather than hold, Kirkland tried to punch his way back into the fight but was put down by a straight right hand for the third and final time.

It was a shocking finish in a fight most assumed would be yet another tune up for the hard hitting Kirkland. In the end, it was Ishida making short work and appears like a star on the rise. Time of stoppage was 1:52.

“I don’t know why they stopped it. I’m really upset right now,” Kirkland said. “He wasn’t anything, he had no power. This is messed up.”

“He wasn’t expecting this from me,” Ishida said. He came straight at me and I used my right hand.”

 

 
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Malignaggi Evens The Score Against Cotto Family

Paulie Malignaggi (29-4) got a small bit of revenge on the Cotto family as he earned an impressive 10 round unanimous decision victory over Jose Miguel Cotto (32-3-1). After taking the worst beating of his career at the hands of Miguel Cotto back in 2006, Malignaggi took Cotto’s older brother to school in their welterweight battle. Cotto came out looking like his younger brother in the first round as he scored with big power shots, but Malignaggi kept his distance and methodically out boxed the Puerto Rican from the second frame on.

Malignaggi’s speed advantage become evident in the middle rounds as he put together combinations and danced away before the lumbering Cotto could swing back. The jab became the weapon of choice in round six as “The Magic Man” effectively popped it in Cotto’s face with Cotto still seeking the one hitter quitter against a very durable Malignaggi. But alas, it ended up looking more like a heated sparring session than a prize fight as the New Yorker cruised to scores of 99-91 (twice) and 97-93.

“It was good to get 10 rounds in,” Malignaggi said. “I hurt both of my hands and may have broke my left hand. I wanted to make a statement. I wanted to stop him towards the end but my hands started hurting. I decided to save face and get the ‘W’”

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Garcia Dominates Campbell

It might be time for Nate Campbell to call it quits. “The Galaxy Warrior” was severely outclassed for ten rounds as the younger and faster Danny Garcia took home a relatively easy ten round unanimous decision.

Coming off of back to back losses to Walter Estrada and Victor Ortiz, it was already in question whether the former WBO, WBA and IBF lightweight champion’s career was dead. Garcia (21-0) may have put the final nail in the coffin. From the outset, Garcia was far more crisper with his punches as the only noise Campbell (33-8-1) could muster up came from his mouth. He continuously talked to Garcia as the young fighter raked him with power shots throughout their ten round affair. Campbell occasionally winged hopeless punches at Garcia, but “Swift” picked them off with ease. By the time the final bell sounded, the only person surprised by the judges’ scorecards was Campbell. Scores were 99-91, 98-92 and 100-90.

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Chakhkiev Crushes Jolly

Heavyweight Rakim Chakhiev kept his unbeaten streak intact by scoring a 3rd round knockout of journeyman Harvey Jolly. After brutalizing the torso of Jolly and scoring a knockdown in the second, Chakhiev (10-0, 8 KOs) crushed Jolly (11-17-1) with a right cross in the third as Jolly took a knee and opted to be counted out by referee Joe Cortez. Time of stoppage was 2:18.

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Zewski Beats Coronel

In the first bout of the evening, Clint Coronel gave Mikael Zewski all he could handle for six rounds but fell short as Zewski (9-0) out worked him to a six round split decision in junior middleweight action. Scores were 60-54 and 59-55 for Zewski while the other judge saw Coronel (4-2-2) sweeping the fight 60-54 Coronel. It was much closer than any of the judges scored it.

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Bonus photos

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2011 by Fightnews.com.