Prior to Manny Pacquiao’s hall-of-fame calibre status, he crossed paths with Erik Morales who became the other protagonist in an epic trilogy he starred in. Let’s take a glimpse into the past as we do a review of the three-fight series.
First meeting – March 19, 2005
Coming into the fight it was Pacquiao’s debut at 130-pound weight class, He was on fire as he scored an 11th round stoppage against Marco Antonio Barrera, drew with Juan Manual Marquez where he dropped the Mexican thrice in the first round and made the little-known Fahsan 3K Battery kiss the canvas and finish the fight in the fourth round. While for Morales, it was an opportunity for redemption after being dethroned by Barrera, losing his WBC super featherweight title in a tightly contested match.
From the opening bell, the two fighters didn’t take time to size each other up as they engaged themselves right away into a lot of in-fights and trade off furious combinations. In the fourth round, Pacquiao started to show signs of slowing down, while Morales displayed a well-paced style utilizing his height advantage.
The turning point of the fight was probably the accidental headbutt in the fifth round which caused Pacquiao’s cut on his right eyebrow which worsened round-by-round and prompted him to fight handicapped. Morales stuck to his brilliant fight plan to rely constantly on his jab, kept his cool, and showcased his composure to out-punch Pacquiao.
All three judges scored the fight at 115-113 for Morales. The Tijuana native bagged the WBC International super featherweight title with the victory.
The rematch - January 21, 2006
Prior to setting-up the anticipated rematch, the two took different foes. Morales moved-up to lightweight and was upset by slick fighting Zahir Raheem via unanimous decision, while a sharp looking Pacquiao stopped Mexican Hector Velasquez in the sixth round.
The fight was still in the super featherweight division, so Morales was the guy who needed to suffer with more starvation and dehydration in camp to make the 130-pound limit.
In the bout, Pacquiao looked more cautious and showed respect for Morales. The fight went toe-to-toe until Pacquiao took the upper hand when he connected with a barrage of power punches towards the end of the sixth round, giving Morales a taste of his power.
In the tenth round, Morales was sent to the canvas after being caught by a vicious left hook. He then was able to beat the ten-second count but wasn't able to survive the round as Pacquiao wasted no time and went for the kill as referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to stop the fight with 30 seconds remaining. Pacquiao sealed the victory and became the first man to stop Morales in his career.
The rubber match - November 18, 2016
The saga continued after a third fight was set to finally declare who's can reign supreme. The biggest topic of the discussion, however, is the continued struggle of Morales to make weight as the fighters are set to slug it out again at 130-pounds.
Pacquiao displayed an excellent performance and dominated Morales in a lopsided match. He floored the Mexican in the second round with a strong left hook and then scored another two knockdowns in the third before Morales refused to continue.
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