By: Andrew Johnson
David Morrell (5-0, 4 KOs) flattened Mario Cázares (12-1, 5 KOs) in front of a standing-room-only crowd in his adopted hometown of Minneapolis on Sunday night. The underdogs had fared well on the evening’s undercard, but Cázares’ hopes of an upset were erased by two straight left hands from Morrell. The first punch landed cleanly, leaving Cázares dazed and defenseless. Morrell then reloaded his left hand and unleashed it on the weakened chin of the previously undefeated fighter. Cázares was out before his shoulder blades hit the canvas, giving Morrell the title of WBA “Regular” Super Middleweight Champion, in just his fifth professional bout.
After the fight, Morrell told the BoxingInsider, “I was nervous in the beginning, but this is my home. Once we started fighting… well, you saw what happened, I knocked him out.”
Morrell now refers to Minneapolis as his home. After 132 amateur fights, he left Cuba and traveled to Mexico where he waited over a year for his immigration papers to be finalized. In the summer of 2019, Morrell headed north to Minneapolis to train alongside Jamal “Shango” James (27-1, 12 KOs), current WBA “Regular” Welterweight Champion and Minneapolis native. James sat in the front row on Sunday cheering on his stablemate’s victory and the arrival of a second championship belt to Circle of Discipline Gym located on the south side of the city.
Not long ago, it was almost unheard of for an amateur fighter to win a professional championship in his fifth fight without headgear. Though he is only 23 years old, David Morrell was widely considered one of the greatest amateur fighters in the history of Cuban boxing as he compiled a record of 130-2. Morrell’s rise to the top of the professional fight game comes on the heels of another legendary amateur’s meteoric ascension, former pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko. Like Morrell, “Loma” fought and won hundreds of times as an amateur, then pursued meaningful fights almost immediately after turning pro. Lomancheko fought for a title in his second professional match and has been a very profitable boxer for Top Rank over the past few years. Morrell is younger, and arguably a more exciting fighter than the Ukrainian technician, so look for the PBC to invest heavily in Morrell’s future.
Who is next for David Morrell at 168 lbs.? When asked this question in the post-fight press conference, he said “I would love to fight Caleb Plant. He is fast, but I am also very fast, so it would be an amazing fight.” Morrell said he is likely to fight again later this year, but “Sweethands” Plant might be busy with Canelo Alvarez in a pay-per-view fight early this fall. Morrell is wildly popular in Minnesota, but will likely need a few more victories in front of a national audience before he is able to secure a fight at that level.
Morrell’s next opponent will materialize eventually. Sunday’s victory was important because it provided an opportunity to put his destructive left hand on full display and fertilize a growing fan base. Whether or not his career mirrors that of Lomachenko remains to be seen, but after arriving in Minneapolis two years ago, David Morrell has become one of the most compelling young fighters in the sport.