Fighting David Morrell Jr. on barely one week’s notice isn’t an ideal assignment. (photo by Ryan Hafey)

The unbeaten Cuban southpaw is one of the most formidable fighters in the super middleweight division, much better than his eight fights worth of pro experience would typically indicate. Yamaguchi Falcao felt he still couldn’t pass on a chance to challenge Morrell in the 12-round co-feature on the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia undercard Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“It’s just an opportunity to be in the history books,” Falcao told through a translator. “Who’s gonna turn that down? I’ve gotta be ready to jump at the chance to put my name on the marquee.”

An upset of the highly regarded Morrell (8-0, 7 KOs) would rejuvenate Falcao’s career. The Brazilian southpaw has won eight straight fights since his 10-round majority draw with D’Mitrius Ballard (then 20-0) in December 2019, but Falcao (24-1-1, 10 KOs, 1 NC) has defeated mostly a low level of opposition since the Ballard bout.

The 35-year-old Falcao was already training to battle Belfast’s Padraig McCrory (16-0, 9 KOs) on May 27 when his team was approached about replacing Morrell’s original opponent, Sena Agbeko. Ghana’s Agbeko (27-2, 21 KOs) was denied a license by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to an issue with one of his pre-fight medical exams.

Falcao recognizes that Morrell is better than McCrory. The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist is also sure he is a step up for the 25-year-old Morrell, who will defend his secondary WBA 168-pound championship.

“Morrell is very notable, someone who has made a name for himself,” Falcao said. “But experience is definitely a factor. I have plenty and he doesn’t have much of it. He hasn’t seen someone that walks the ring like I do, someone that has stone-hard hands like I do. So, he’s gonna learn the hard way that there is something else to [experience], that he hasn’t been in there to overcome yet.”

Morrell knocked out Aidos Yerbossynuly in the 12th round of his last fight, which took place November 5 at The Armory in Minneapolis. Yerbossynuly (16-1, 11 KOs) took a brutal beating in that bout, needed surgery to relieve pressure on his brain and was hospitalized for almost a month before he returned home to Kazakhstan.

Falcao stopped Ghana’s Ernest Amuzu (26-8, 22 KOs) in the seventh round of his most recent action, a scheduled 10-rounder December 11 at Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida. The WBA and WBC both have Falcao ranked sixth among contenders in the super middleweight division.

“[Morrell] just hasn’t seen someone like me before,” Falcao said. “He’s someone that has the tools to succeed. He’s here for a reason. But at the same time, he has never fought against someone like me.”

Morrell-Falcao will be the third of three bouts broadcast before Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) and Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) square off in a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event (8 p.m. EDT; 5 p.m. PDT; $84.99).

“I’m ready to show Morrell what I’m all about,” Falcao said. “I’m not here just for the talk. I’m going out there to win and to show the fans that this fight is gonna be great. … My dream is to become a world champion, so this is my opportunity. This is my chance to make not only my dream, but my team’s dream, my family’s dream come true. So, when you have an opportunity like this, you’ve gotta go after it.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.