MEXICO CITY -- In some way or another, legendary four-time world champion Erik "El Terrible" Morales believes that he inspired Manny Pacquiao to make history by proving it was not impossible to move up in weight and win, although what PacMan ended up doing after that was truly extraordinary.
Morales recalled that before his first against Pacquiao in 2005, the Filipino icon didn't want to move up from featherweight to junior lightweight because of the success he was having at 126 pounds. Although Morales went on to beat Pacquiao in the first of their three legendary encounters, Morales' subsequent move up to 135 pounds paved the way for Pacquiao to do the same.
"Pacquiao didn't want to move up to 130 pounds because he had fought [Marco Antonio] Barrera and [Juan Manuel] Marquez at 126," Morales told ESPNdeportes.com. "He didn't want to move up so I said, 'Convince him, get him to 130,' [and] we got him to 130. Then he wouldn't move up to 135, he always refused. In fact, he didn't want to fight me at 135 when I could no longer make 130. Then, after I fought David Diaz, he saw how easy it was and that things weren't so tough at 135. Then he moved up to 140 before he went crazy and went to 147 and then 154.
"Anyway, I can say that I played a part in getting everyone to change weight. Little by little, I helped to inspire others and that, either out of necessity or duty, I carried them all with me. I think I achieved some good things in boxing, taking a lot of punches and helping others do things they didn't think they could."
When it comes to Pacquiao's third fight against Timothy Bradley Jr. on Saturday, Marquez believes his former foe is the clear favorite and he isn't ruling out a victory by stoppage.
"It's an interesting fight in terms of seeing if Manny Pacquiao has the same hunger and aggression to keep Bradley at arm's length, or at least at bay," Morales said. "I think he can afford to fight how he wants. I've seen some videos and I don't think he should have any problems. To some extent, it could be even easier and he could even knock him out."