Lee Haskins will be looking to prove he’s a legitimate world champion when he takes on Mexico’s Ivan Morales at the Ice Arena, Cardiff on Saturday night. Let’s take a look at what both fighters bring to this Bantamweight affair.
Haskins vs Morales: Preview
Haskins vs Morales isn’t a bad matchup as far as fights go, but isn’t the most salivating of world title encounters. The circumstances behind this meeting featuring a piece of Bantamweight world glory in the first place is already somewhat unsatisfying; Lee Haskins (32-3, 14 KO) captured the IBF’s strap last November before his bout with Randy Caballero even took place.
Caballero came in 5.5 pounds overweight that night which prompted Haskins and his team to leave with the title there and then. This kind of event is never great for the sport, but it’s hardly Haskin’s fault for doing the professional thing. While Haskins is an unproven world champion – for obvious reasons – he’s still a solid fighter who worked hard to put himself into title contention.
Haskins isn’t an elite-type talent, with all three of his defeats coming by knockout, but he’s vastly experienced in the fight game which has seen him perform well at Bantamweight, 115 and 112 pounds. Over the past decade, Haskin’s efforts have paved the way to British, Commonwealth and European glory, plus the IBF’s Interim strap when he did a number on tough ask Ryosuke Iwasa, stopping the touted Japanese visitor in 6 rounds last June.
The man across the ring on Saturday night will be Ivan Morales (29-1, 17 KO), the younger brother of Mexican legend Erik. While Morales, 24, is 8-years-younger than Haskins, 32, his competition level to date pales enough to be notable. Morales has a few solid wins, sure, such as that over Cesar Canchila in 2014, but question marks began to surface after Morales was bettered by journeyman Edgar Jimenez in August.
So why did Morales lose that fight, falling on the wrong side of a Majority Decision against an outsider who came in with a 19-11-2 slate? It could be that Morales, given his Hall-of-Famer kin, was always overhyped and simply lost to the better man. It could have been that Morales was having an off-night, or, perhaps got caught up in his own hype (Morales was unbeaten at the time) and underestimated Jimenez. We’ve seen this kind of thing happen countless times in boxing.
So, there’s a fair few questions going into Haskins vs Morales and, whether it produces a decent scrap or not, we should find out who is destined to do greater things in the immediate future. While defeat wouldn’t crush either man’s career, there is a ‘must-win’ feel to this matchup. Haskins needs to maintain his momentum (extending his six-fight winning streak), and Morales needs to bury his critics by claiming the biggest scalp of his career.
Haskins vs Morales: Prediction
If Morales can bring his A-game then he has a good chance of bagging the ‘W’ here, but my gut feeling says otherwise. Haskins seems like the superior operator who has remained persistent and endearingly optimistic despite suffering some fairly major setbacks in his career, and also has home advantage; Bristol-based Haskins isn’t a Wales resident, but is closer to home than Mexican-based Morales. It could be a close fight, but Haskins should have enough in his utility belt to score a conclusive decision victory.
Lee Haskins Beats Ivan Morales via Unanimous Decision
What say you, readers? Will Haskins be successful in his first title defense? Or will Morales get his career back on track with a big win on Saturday night?