Victor Morales, Jr.—Uncommon Valor

By Marc Livitz on April 11, 2019
Victor Morales, Jr.—Uncommon Valor
“Fighting at home is exactly what I needed and I was happy to go out and put on a show.”

“I’ve been in boxing for 14 years now because I started when I was seven years old. It’s all been an experience for me…”

The dedication, commitment and desire attached to the sport of boxing is unlike any other profession. From the moment one’s hands are wrapped and up until the time that the first few steps are taken away from the safety of one’s corner, the grim realization sets in. For some, this is an ultimate high while for others it’s an episode of sheer trepidation. There’s always a choice as to whether or not one leans towards fighting as opposed to a team sport or at least one that doesn’t carry as much risk. For just a moment, imagine not having a choice between walking or even standing and at the same time going through such a trial of doubt. At the tender and innocent age of just four, professional prize fighter Victor Morales, Jr. was indeed dealt a harsh hand by way of a bout with meningitis. “I had to get a spinal tap and I was basically paralyzed from the waist down for almost a year,” said the unbeaten lightweight prospect during a recent interview. Luckily for the Portland, Oregon native, matters improved and he soon found the fighting science to be one he could enjoy due to his improvements set forth by medical science.

Last Saturday evening at the Armory in the Portland suburb of Clackamas, Morales (11-0, 7 KO’s) kept his professional record intact with nothing but victories when he scored a seventh round knockout against Marcelo Gallardo as part of the promotion set up by former IBF super featherweight champion Steve Forbes. Since turning professional late in the summer of 2016, Victor has definitely stayed active while splitting his preparation and training time between Portland and Los Angeles. His stoppage win over Gallardo was not only his second fight of 2019, but also his second outing in the last two months as well. “The last few days have actually been a bit more relaxing than they’ve been over the last two months,” he said. “I was in back-to-back camps because I fought last month and I only had a few weeks to train, so being able to finally relax has been nice.” Along with the victory came the chance to perform in front of his hometown family and friends. Morales credits individuals such as Forbes for keeping the boxing landscape in Portland on the upward trajectory. “The scene here is definitely hot because Steve stays busy with his shows and it gives some local fighters the chance to turn pro and get some exposure,” said the 21-year-old fighter.

“So many of them don’t have the funds to travel in order to train or fight. This is usually a great opportunity for them to do what they love in their home city. For me, it’s been a blessing because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to fight in my city.” Victor’s childhood bout with meningitis inspired him to push forward and find his calling. Like so many kids, he was introduced to a boxing gym and his curiosity overtook any thought of sports which take place on fields or courts. He said, “I give all the credit in the world to my dad because boxing wasn’t my first sport. I was an active kid and I played basketball, but then I started going with him to the gym. He’d train and I’d watch. For my seventh birthday, my parents signed me up and I’ve never looked back.”

Morales honed his craft during his school age years and up through the amateur ranks. “I was a pretty good amateur,” he said. “I won three national championships, an international gold medal for ‘Team USA’ and the ‘Outstanding Award’ for 2014. I finished with a record of 118 and 12.” His short jump to professional fighting began in August 2016 as part of the undercard for a nationally televised night from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Although there were some expected butterflies, Victor found the transition to boxing as a vocation to not be vastly different once he settled into his groove. “I was a little nervous at my pro debut,” he commented. “There was definitely something different about it because there was no more headgear and the gloves were smaller. Once I stepped in and settled down, everything was the same. Everything was normal but it still changed my perspective. My team had added the extra rounds to my training so that I could make the adjustment.”

As he looks to balance the time between a period of well-earned rest in Portland and his return to a lifestyle of training and preparation in Los Angeles, Victor assured this writer that his future as a professional will include the constant desire to learn as much as possible as his career continues to progress. “I’ve tried to not let anything go to my head,” said the kindhearted Oregon native as our conversation came to a close. “Fighting at home is exactly what I needed and I was happy to go out and put on a show. I was still careful with what I did because I’ve seen how some guys try too hard to impress during fights at home to the point of where they lose track of their game plan. They’ll put themselves in a bad position and then have the crowd cheer to help them. I’ve been in boxing for 14 years now because I started when I was seven years old. It’s all been an experience for me and I continue to just take it all in.”

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