At the Ice Arena, Cardiff, Haskins vs Morales never truly ignited but did at least make Lee Haskins a more legitimate world title holder. Kind of, anyway. Haskins soundly beat Mexico’s overhyped Ivan Morales over the distance, receiving wide scores of 119-108 and 118-110 twice from the judges, with Boxing Base scoring the bout a complete shutout at 120-108.
Haskins, who became the IBF’s champ after previous opponent Randy Caballero came in 5.5 pounds overweight last November, made Morales look fairly pedestrian. Haskins didn’t look like a world-beater per se, but the Bristol-born fighter proved to be a nightmare puzzle for Morales to solve thanks to unorthodox angles, singular power shot leads, and constant movement.
Haskins (33-3, 14 KO) never truly rocked Morales, but landed significantly more leather while dictating the pace of the simmering 12-rounder. Morales looked pretty one-dimensional as fighters go, and failed to adapt or make any changes to his tactics, instead relying on straight textbook attacks upstairs which his opponent saw coming a mile off all night long. Where were the feints? Body attacks?
Morales (29-2, 17 KO) enjoyed some occasional success in early rounds, however, but Haskins’ constant ducking and weaving made him difficult to tag clean with anything meaningful that could change the direction of the fight. Haskins vs Morales wasn’t a spectacular encounter, no, but fans of discount Naseem Hamed-types may have got their fill.
Going forward, it’s fairly obvious that Morales, still only 24, needs to undergo some serious maintenance if he is ever to make a dent in this sport. Haskins, 32, is as awkward as they come, granted, but Morales was particularly underwhelming here against a man who isn’t really considered too serious a threat at world level.
Haskins should be applauded for his tactics and victory tonight, but it’s unlikely he would have gotten away with his hands-at-the-waist defense had he been in with a Top 10 Bantamweight. It’s a fairly deep division, after all, with the Top 5 including Jamie McDonnell, Tomoki Kameda, Anselmo Moreno, Juan Carlos Payano Shinsuke Yamanaka.
What are your thoughts on Haskins vs Morales, readers? Where does this unorthodox fighter go from here? And what can he ask of today’s top-drawer Bantamweights?