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Morales, Malignaggi leads packed card

Could we be witnessing a renaissance for Erik “El Terrible” Morales?

Not long ago, Morales, a former three-division champion, was one of the most feared fighters in the game. Wins over Manny Pacquiao in 2005 and Carlos Hernandez in 2004 had Morales squarely on the path to stardom. Four straight losses over the next two years all but dashed those dreams.

Morales was out of the game for three years after dropping a unanimous decision to David Diaz on August 4, 2007. Morales made his return to the ring last March and posted a unanimous-decision win over Jose Alfaro.

Morales (51-6) will take on Marcos Maidana (29-2) in a 12-round junior welterweight bout on Saturday, August 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The bout will be broadcast on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m.

It’s obviously an important fight for Morales, who has won three straight fights, and said he’s in great shape. He’s watched his diet and has stuck to a strict training regimen.

"I am not really on a rigid diet," said Morales. "I eat small amounts of healthy foods and work extra hard to burn off what I am eating. I do allow one filet mignon a week to reward myself for running more and training harder than I ever have in my career."

Morales said he’s stayed away from soda and all of his favorite foods, even tacos.

"When I am training, I don't allow myself to drink Sprite, which is my favorite soda," continued Morales. "I also can't have carne asada tacos, which will be the first thing I eat when I get home after beating Maidana on April 9."

Maidana is anxious to get back in the ring after suffering a unanimous-decision defeat at the hands of Amir Khan last December. If Maidana is to stay in the championship mix in the 140-pound decision, he needs to win.

Maidana broke training camp in Mexico City a little earlier than expected. But he doesn’t think it will have a negative effect on his preparations.

"It has been a great camp so far," said Maidana's conditioning coach Cruz "Pensa" Garcia. "I felt going into camp as though five weeks at the high altitude of Mexico City was enough for Marcos. We know Las Vegas very well, so it made sense to make the change and arrive a little early."

The rest of the “Action Heroes” card should be just as compelling.

Robert Guerrero will take on Michael Katsidis in a 12-round lightweight battle. Paulie Malignaggi will step into the ring against Jose Miguel Cotto in a 10-round 147-pound bout and James Kirkland will also be participating on the card. His opponent has yet to be determined.

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