By Jay Mwamba
After 12 months in the shadows, Wayne McCullough steps back into the limelight on Friday, Oct. 22, when he attempts to wrest the World Boxing
Council super bantamweight title from Erik Morales in Detroit.
The scheduled 12-round bout will be on the undercard of Naseem Hamed’s
featherweight unification match with Cesar Soto, and will be broadcast by HBO.
McCullough, who dropped a points decision to Hamed in October last year, is a 20-1 underdog against the undefeated Morales (34-0), the rising star of Mexican boxing. But the tough Ulsterman, 23-2 (14 KO’s) as a pro, says he’ll upset the form book.
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"I don’t understand it," the Las Vegas-based fighter said of the odds last weekend. "He’s going to try to knock me out and, if he can’t, he’ll be in trouble."
A former WBC bantamweight titlist, McCullough noted the chinks in the heavy-hitting Moraless’ armor. "He has a weak chin," he said. " I’ve seen him dropped before. [And] if he doesn’t take you out early, he kind of gets distracted."
With over a hundred rounds of sparring under his belt, McCullough has been preparing for a long fight. The 5-foot-7 challenger has been working with two sparring partners, one of them a 5-11 professional welterweight with rangy arms.
"Morales is 5-9 and fights tall. I fight short," explained McCullough, who beat journeyman Lee Martinez in a tune-up match six weeks ago. "Hopefully, he’ll come straight at me."
The Morales fight was rescheduled from last April when McCullough suffered an injured in sparring. McCullough’s purse for the contest will $275,000, bringing his total ring earnings since turning pro in 1992 to over $2 million.