LAS VEGAS, January 22, 2006
(INQUIRER) First posted 01:33pm (Mla time) Jan 22, 2006 Agence France-Presse

(2ND UPDATE) Manny Pacquiao stopped Erik Morales in the 10th round of a super featherweight eliminator here on Saturday, avenging his defeat last March with an impressive display of speed and power.

Pacquiao sent Morales to the canvas for the first time in his career and completed the victory when the referee stopped the fight at 2:33 of the 10th.

The Filipino fighter improved to 41-3-2 with 33 wins inside the distance.

Mexico's Morales, who had posted a unanimous 12-round decision over Pacquiao in March, fell to 48-4, with 33 wins inside the distance.

In their first encounter, Pacquiao was looking for a knock-out against the hard-chinned Morales, but instead end up bloodied by Morales who earned the close decision.

The first half of Saturday's fight at the Thomas and Mack Center followed the same script as the 130-pounders traded a flurry of punches, practically from the opening bell.

Morales had the upper hand as he outboxed Pacquiao, Print this story Send this story Write the editor Reprint this article View other stories winning rounds three, four and five.

However, that effort seemed to sap the energy of the 30-year-old Mexican as he offered less resistance to Pacquiao's pressure as the fight progressed.

Pacquiao finally put away the valiant Morales when he dropped him with a left with just under a minute remaining in the 10th round. Morales sprung up at the count of nine, but Pacquiao quickly pounced and again floored Morales, prompting referee Kenny Bayless to stop the action.

With the victory Pacquiao was installed as the World Boxing Council's No. 1 contender in the division in which Mexico's Marco Antonio Barrera holds the title.

On the same card, Mexico's Martin Castillo won a 12-round split decision over Venezuela's Alexander Munoz to retain his World Boxing Association super flyweight title.

Castillo, who finished the fight with two cuts on his face, was given the win by two of the ringside judges, 116-111 and 115-112, while the third judge saw it 115-112 for Munoz.

The Mexican fighter was on the canvas in the first round but survived to improve to 30-1, with 16 wins inside the distance.

Munoz, a former champion in the division, fell to 29-2, with Castillo responsible for both of his defeats, the first in December of 2004.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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