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Graham Earl Pulls Out, Michael Lozada Will Now Face Michael Katsidis In August; Katsidis-Morales Could Be Next!

By James Slater: In what was almost certainly a wise move, 32-year-old “Earl Of Luton” Graham Earl has pulled out of his planned rematch with Australia’s Michael Katsidis. As soon as news broke of how Earl was in the running to face Katsidis in a return of their hugely exciting 2007 showdown (which Katsidis won via 5th-round retirement), fans almost everywhere were aghast. Quite simply, Earl looked a shot fighter in his post-Katsidis bouts, being blown away twice in two of the three fights he had.

Yet Earl was insistent he was still in shape to fight, and a return with “The Great” was on for Australia later this year. Or at least it was. Fightnews.com has reported how, after a breakdown in contract negotiations between Earl’s camp and that of Katsidis, the Toowoomba warrior will now face Mexico’s Michael Lozada, 38-8(30). This fight will take place on August 13th and will almost certainly be a far more competitive affair than Katsidis-Earl II would have been.

The really exciting news, though, is the plan Team-Katsidis has for the next fight for the thrill-a-minute lightweight who will make his 140-pound debut against 27-year-old Lozada: Erik Morales is being targeted as the next opponent for the 30-year-old former interim lightweight champ.

Katsidis’ manager and trainer Brendon Smith told Fightnews how the Lozada fight will very much be a warm-up fight for Mexican legend Morales.

“I had a few discussions with Oscar De La Hoya and the team at Golden Boy and there is big interest in a fight between Michael and Erik Morales,” Smith said. “ That was part of the reason for going with Lozada, we wanted to stick with the Mexican fighting style.”

Needles to say, a Katsidis-Morales clash could well be an explosive, action-packed classic of a fight. 34 year-old “El Terrible” looked almost back to his best with his close loss to Marcos Maidana. Morales really rolled back the years against the somewhat crude, hittable Argentine banger, and there will be no shortage of fans willing to predict Morales will be able to put on a similar, perhaps even better performance against Katsidis.

Katsidis, 27-4(22) is perhaps even more easy to hit than is “El Chino,” as Robert Guerrero discovered on that great April 9th card when he won a wide, largely dominant decision over Katsidis. If the Morales fight is made, the chances are the fight will be looked at as pretty much a 50-50 match-up; where a case could be made for either guy winning. But first Katsidis has to get past Lozada.

Lozada, who used to fight down at super-featherweight, even challenging the late Edwin Valero for the WBA belt back in 2007 (losing via 1st-round KO), has since blown up to welterweight. Loser of two of his last four outings, Lozada recently picked up the non too glorious distinction of being TKO’d by Paulie Malignaggi. “The Magic Man,” himself moving up in weight, bagged his first stoppage win since 2003 with the 6th-round TKO over Lozada last December. In light of how much harder Katsidis hits compared to Malignaggi, Lozada looks to be in trouble.

Still, with that big fight with Morales on the horizon, Katsidis can’t be blamed for taking a “safe-looking” fight in his 140-pound debut. And despite his lack of durability (stopped 6 times in his 8 losses), Lozada can bang - as his 30 KO’s show.

Look for Katsidis to enjoy a rare, easy victory inside around six-rounds, before moving onto that potential war with the great Morales.

Article posted on 17.06.2011



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