Three division world champion and Mexican boxing legend Erik Morales (50-6, 35 KOs) returned to knock out Willie Limond (33-3, 8 KOs) in round six on Saturday night at the Monumental Plaza de Toros Mexico in Mexico City. Morales seemed to shake off the ring rust after a few rounds and finally dropped Limond three times with body shots in round six to end it. Time was 2:46.
Willie Limond was under no illusion about the difficulty of the challenge he faced by travelling to Mexico City to take on Erik Morales. If there was any need for confirmation, the Glasgow fighter found out in the sixth round of their WBC Silver light-welterweight title bout when he was knocked down three times by the man known as El Terrible.
The 34-year-old three-weight world champion looked to Limond as a stepping stone to get his career back to the top following his return from almost three years out in retirement.
However, the message at the beginning of the bout was never take a victory for granted, especially against a Glasgow fighter. Limond, 31, was strong and quick in the early rounds and kept the Mexican legend at bay.
Morales, who was last person to beat pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, was a slow starter but found his stride after the first two rounds and began landing heavier shots on the quick-footed Limond.
The home-fighter’s right eye began to swell around the third round as he struggled to evade Limond’s evident speed advantage. However, for Limond, there was only so long he could keep up such a pace and by the fourth he had taken the pedal off the gas.
The crowd went wild as Morales pinned Limond in the corner at the end of the fourth round and the huge blows were indicative of what was to come next for the brave Scottish warrior.
Morales’ strength was evident, indeed he has knocked out 34 opponents – more than Limond has faced in his career, but it wasn’t clear if he had managed to maintain such strength in his return to the ring; his previous fight against Jose Alfaro has ended in points. However, he answered that question in the sixth round against Limond when he floored the Scot with a left hook to body.
Limond was gone after the first knockdown but managed to get to his feet before the count and Morales was able to get back in range and bang another left hook into the liver and send Limond down for a second time. All credit to Limond for a brave determination to get back onto his feet for a second time, but yet another devastating left hook to liver sent Limond down for a third time and the contest was stopped.
The gap in class may have been slightly too much for Limond, but his performance in the opening rounds showed he could mix it with the best – at least for a while – and can hold his head high knowing he has lasted longer in the ring with Morales than 25 of his other opponents.
The main question however is whether the old Erik Morales is back. At 34, his reflexes and power may not be as it should, especially after almost three years out, but he has shown he still has enough of both left and is on the right track in his bid to win yet another world title.