Marcos Maidana got himself back on course after his majority-decision win (116-112, 116-112, 114-114) over Erik Morales on the Golden Boy Promotions “Action Heroes” card on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The win was by no means routine for Maidana (30-2), as Morales (51-7), a big underdog, put together a solid rally through the middle rounds. But Maidana endured and took home the WBA Interim super lightweight title with the win.
"We knew that Erik Morales was a great warrior and he was going to give a great fight. I never thought it was going to be an easy fight," Maidana said. "I was expecting a war and that is exactly what happened.”
Maidana couldn’t be more correct in his assessment. Morales didn’t look like the washed-up fighter everyone thought he was. Morales proved he could still be a factor.
"He may have won a close fight but it wasn't a clean win for him," Morales said. "I thought I landed the better punches. I thought I won. I know I still had speed and velocity, but more importantly I had heart."
Where either fighter goes from here is anyone’s guess. Maidana is hoping for rematch with Amir Khan at some point, while Morales is hoping to stay on the radar.
Maidana could be on course for any of a handful of fighters, including Khan, Zab Judah, Devon Alexander, etc...
Robert Guerrero had no problems taking out Michael Katsidis. Guerrero dominated and the judges scored it 117-108, 118-106, 118-107. Paulie Malignaggi was also in the winner’s circle with an easy unanimous-decision win over Jose Miguel Cotto (99-91, 97-93, 99-91).
If there was one disappointment on the card, it had to be Nobuhiro Ishida stunning James Kirkland with three first-round knockdowns. It was the “Mandingo Warrior’s” third fight since his prison release. But he was clearly outclassed in this one. The referee stopped the bout after the third knockdown.
Kirkland didn’t want the fight to end, though.
Said Kirkland: "I don't know why they stopped the fight. There is not a three knockdown rule in Vegas. I'm really upset right now. That was a messed up call. I was telling him I wanted to keep fighting. He [Ishida] wasn't anything. He had no power. This was messed up."