ERIK MORALES w ko 11 DANIEL ZARAGOZA
September 6, 1997; County Coliseum, El Paso, TX
BY the time the gnarled Daniel Zaragoza is counted out in the 11th round after taking a sickening blow to the pit of his gut, he looks double his 36 years. Morales, meanwhile, is the vision of youth. But the 21-year-old Mexican had to dig deep to snatch the torch, and the WBC super-bantamweight title, from his esteemed countryman. After five rounds, Zaragoza appeared to be edging ahead only for Morales to claw his way back into the contest and take over. Hurtful blows are exchanged in the second half yet they sink into Zaragoza and bounce off Morales. Ageing rapidly, Zaragoza is hurt and dropped via a body shot only to haul himself upright as the crowd chant his name in the 10th. But the old man was on the brink.
DID YOU KNOW? Floyd Mayweather Jnr cruised to 10-0 on the undercard when he defeated Louie Leija – the cousin of Jesse James Leija – in two rounds.
WATCH OUT FOR: The finale. After screwing a right hand into the stomach of his foe, Morales watches as the felled Zaragoza waves his glove to both congratulate his conqueror and say goodbye to the sport. A classy departure, indeed.