Home Boxing News Morales Halts Villa in Four

Morales Halts Villa in Four

Morales Halts Villa in Four

Former international amateur champion Roman Morales successfully moved past the toughest challenge of his young pro career, stopping veteran Jaime Villa in the fourth round at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California this Friday night.

Morales (4-0, 3 KOs) of San Ardo, California was tested in the early rounds as Villa (8-9-2, 3 KOs) of Midland, Texas fought in the same aggressive style that made his brother Tomas a fan favorite in their home state for many years. Aiding the journeyman’s early success was Morales’ trademark slow start.

“The only problem I have with Roman, is that he starts off slow,” admits his manager Repo Ric. “But that’s what Floyd Mayweather does. He starts off slow, but gets settled and goes out and does his thing. So Roman started off slow and this kid [he’s fighting] has twenty fights, so he is very experienced and he is very aggressive.”

Just as he did in France to win the gold medal at the Four Nations Tournament in his last competition as an amateur, Morales recovered from his slow start and turned the fight in his favor. “I talked to him before the fourth round, and went through the ropes, and Roman became a whole different person,” says Repo. “I guess he had warmed up.”

Warmed up, Morales implemented his trainer Rodolfo Tapia’s instructions and began to wear down the gritty Texan. “I just told him to keep working,” says Tapia. “Combinations and more jabs. But he started to land stomach punches. In the third round [Villa] got wobbled a little bit, and I told Roman, ‘Don’t stop, keep working.’ And what happened was a good, good body shot to the liver and he didn’t get up. He stayed down there.”

Though it did not make it out of four frames, the bout with Villa was Morales’ first scheduled six-rounder. By design his team has moved him to the six-round distance due to his proneness at getting behind early in fights. Some young fighters may have trouble adjusting to the longer distance, but Morales’ manager does not see that being a problem for his young charge.

“This why he’s fighting six rounds instead of four rounds already, because he is a slow starter,” says Repo. “That and the fact he should be able to go six. He spars Eloy Perez and Rico Ramos. So he should be able to go six. This one didn’t go six, he was very successful and the butterflies are out of my stomach.”

The win puts Morales in pretty good company. Most of Villa’s losses have come to solid prospects and eventual contenders. Only three of Villa’s eight kayo defeats came earlier than Morales’ stoppage Friday. Former world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. stopped him in three and world ranked super featherweight contender Luis Cruz got to him in the first round three years ago.

Morales will take a break from the ring as a cut he suffered, which required two-and-a-half stitches, will need roughly 35 days to heal before he can begin sparring again. Morales however did not get much of a break over the weekend, as he arrived home around 1 a.m. Saturday morning and was a guest of honor at an amateur boxing show hosted by the Rock Boxing Gym in Salinas, California that afternoon.

Morales is expected to go for win number five at the beginning of August.

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