9/6/1997- “El Terrible” Erik Morales vs Daniel “El Raton” Zaragoza

Classic Mexican vet vs youth matchup

“El Raton” Daniel Zaragoza represented the accomplished veteran that Erik Morales would use as a springboard into boxing stardom. Zaragoza held the WBC Super Bantamweight belt after successfully defending it multiple times in the States and Japan. 21-year-old Morales looked to be the next great Mexican champion. This match served as Morales’ first title shot, which aired on HBO. Also, this fight introduces him to American fans. Could Morales take advantage of the situation?

zaragoza vs morales
The body shot puts Zaragoza down. (youtube)

The fight started out in somewhat conservative fashion. Morales landed straight punches as Zaragoza, a southpaw, resorted to his looping left-hand shots. Morales became more confident in his jabs and rights, landing more in the third round. This continued in the fourth until a wild Zaragoza overhead right buckled Morales. Zaragoza kept pressuring Morales with arching shots. Both fighters opened up more after round six. Morales caught multiple headbutts and low blows from the champ, but landed multiple counter left hooks to keep Zaragoza at bay. Morales started to gain control of the fight after the eighth round. His right hand staggered the champ throughout the round and into the ninth. Morales started to open up his arsenal of punches with uppercuts and body hooks that hurt the champ. In the tenth round, Morales landed a thunderous right to Zaragoza’s body, forcing Zaragoza to take a knee. He rose to his feet, but this would be the beginning of the end for “El Raton”. Landing at will, Morales sits Zaragoza with another body shot in the eleventh, and the champ did not bother to beat the count. It seemed that Zaragoza was content passing the torch to the young Morales.

Zaragoza retired after this fight and became a Hall of Famer in 2004. However, Morales would embark on a Hall of Fame career winning four titles. Ironically, he became the vet in 2012 against a young Danny Garcia. Oh, how things come full circle in life….




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