We’ve gotta talk about David Morrell, y’all.
Morrell, a super middleweight in just his third pro fight Saturday on Fox, led off the card and overshadowed everything else that came after.
The last highly heralded amateur star to make his pro debut then immediately blitz into bouts against top competition a la what Morrell’s doing is Vasiliy Lomanchenko. Lomanchenko and Morrell don’t really compare much otherwise. Lomanchenko is a primordial boxer, made of un-distilled elemental force; especially at lower weights, he zapped his opponents like a particularly shapely lightning bolt and the rest of us just gazed in awe, including his opponents.
The press release on Morrell called him a “Cuban sensation,” and for once that might be the best way to describe someone. Good job, press release.
Morrell treated the boxing ring like a catwalk against Lennox Allen, modeling his every move. Fast hands. Defensive reflexes. Conditioning, what with him going 12 rounds like they were a breeze after going a total of three in his previous two fights. He casually threw beautiful combinations with the full arsenal of punches available to a fighter. He wanted us to know he could be rough in close, or punch from range. He could counter or lead. He could fight from either stance. He had that cocky Cuban amateur thing seen in the likes of a younger Yuriorkis Gamboa, boxing with his hands down for the fun of it. He also threw a no-look punch that landed, and winked at the ringside commentators.
David Morrell Jr. landed the no-look punch and winked 😉
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) August 9, 2020
And Morrell is just 22, compared to Lomanchenko turning pro in his mid-20s.
If it feels like this cheerleading is getting out of hand, join the club because I’m in it, too. He might’ve lost a couple rounds against Allen, a competent veteran more than an actual contender. In the early rounds, he simply seemed not to care about getting hit, as he did frequently by Allen counter rights amid one of his combinations. That’s the kind of thing that could get him in trouble, although to be fair he did make adjustments not to get hit like that later, and perhaps he didn’t think he had to respect Allen’s power. That’s also the kind of thing that undid, well, Gamboa. Best not to get carried away yet.
That said, can one wrap one’s noodle around the idea of him beating one of the top 10 168-pounders in his next fight? Yes, one can.
It was hard to pay attention to the rest of the card after such a display of absolutely everything. And that’s saying something, because welterweight Jamal James and Thomas Dulorme had themselves a scrap in the main event! But James was much more vulnerable-looking in the victory and probably hasn’t scratched the division’s top 10 himself.
A glimpse of Morrell’s potential (does he generate more power once he gets his so-called “man strength?”) is the thing this card mainly was about.