Pacquiao stuns Morales with third-round KO

Nov 19, 2006 - 9:40 AM LAS VEGAS (Ticker) - Manny Pacquiao returned to his usual aggressive style ... and it worked.

In a super featherweight bout, Pacquiao floored Erik Morales at 2:57 of the third round, winning by a knockout in their much-anticipated rubber match at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday night.

According to official CompuBox punch stats, Pacquiao (43-3-2, 33 KOs) landed 51-of-71 power shots and 54 percent (94-of-175) of his punches. His power clearly was the deciding factor in this fight compared to the strategic approach he took in the previous bout.

"He was too fast, too strong," Morales said. "I did everything in camp necessary to win this fight. I didn't win it. It wasn't my night."

In the first meeting, Pacquiao, 27, tried for a knockout in March 2005 but ended up bloodied and beaten. In the January rematch, the southpaw fought more strategically and was able to drop Morales (48-5) for the first time in his career, ultimately winning by way of a 10th-round technical knockout.

Pacquiao imposed his initial plan in "The Grand Finale" and saw major results.

After sending Morales to the canvas in the third round, Pacquiao fiercely exchanged with his opponent before knocking Morales to the mat for good with a straight left that landed square on the chin. Morales sat and looked in the direction of his corner, but he did not make an attempt to beat the referee's 10-count.

"I was faster than him and I was bigger than him," Pacquiao said of Morales. "I could tell that he was surprised by my right hook, so I kept throwing it."

This was the 30-year-old Morales' fourth loss in his last five fights. He could blame the setback in the rematch to fatigue since he had to drop a lot of weight prior to the bout. But Morales did not have an excuse in this fight since he could not avoid Pacquiao's powerful left.

On the undercard, Ricardo Torres (30-1) earned a split decision victory over Mike Arnaoutis (17-1-1) to claim the vacant WBO Light Welterweight title. Despite being knocked down the seventh, Torres won on two cards, 116-111 and 114-113.

Omar Romero (24-2-2) retained his WBC Light Flyweight title due to draw against Brian Viloria (19-1-1). This was a rematch of their fight back in August in which Viloria lost the title. The bout was scored 115-112 and 113-113, 113-113.

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