The questions surrounding Erik Morales' USADA drug test have dampened the excitement of Saturday's main event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
There isn't much that Erik Morales needs to prove. Already an eight time world champion in four different weight classes - the first Mexican fighter to ever achieve that feat - a ninth world title wouldn't make Morales' career any more meaningful or legendary than it already is. On Saturday, Morales looks to avenge his last loss, the eighth of his career in 60 total fights, when he rematches undefeated 24-year-old Danny Garcia, one of boxing's most exciting young fightes and probably the 140 pound division's best.
Unfortunately, the night will not come off without controversy. It was reported late on Wednesday that irregularities had been found in Morales' system after a drug test. I was later learned that he had sted positive for clenbuterol, a substance which is supposed to help with weight loss. Clearly, Morales was struggling to make the 140 pound limit, something that can happen as fighters get up there in age, and Friday's weigh in was a bit bizarre.
From Bad Left Hook's Scott Christ:
e controversy, or at least it seemed the way. Hitting the scales in the nyood, Morales (52-8, 36 KO) and a New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) member had some words before the Mexican legend even stepped onto the scales. He weighed in, and it appeared as though he'd missed the weight, but no announcement came.
After more words between "El Terrible" and his team and the NYSAC rep, Morales stepped back on and weighed in at 139.2 pounds, 0.8 pounds below the junior welterweight limit. It's entirely possible that Morales and the commission guy were talking/arguing/whatever about something else, but it doesn't seem likely, and the weigh-in just looked shady to most observers.
But Morales made the weight officially, and that's what matters. Defending WBC and WBA junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia weighed in at 139.8 pounds, without controversy.
In today's sports culture, and even more so in boxing where seemingly nobody knows what to believe, it's unfortunate that a situation like this happens surrounding Morales so late in his career. There are undoubtedly going to be his staunchest supporters who will believe this is a one-off thing, and those who have never liked him will probably link this to him forever and believe he's always used illegal substances.
Garcia is the favorite on Saturday night, and rightfully so. He's the younger, faster and fresher fighter who is squarely entering his prime and already owns a win over his counterpart. Unfortunately for Morales, he likely enters the ring agains the fan favorite as well.