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"I'm so lucky to be alive," says Morales, a 53-year-old Long Beach Press-Telegram sportswriter whose popular weekly boxing column appears in this newspaper and seven other MediaNews Group ones in Southern California.
Boxing is a sport rife with tough guys with mean backgrounds. But I doubt any of those men Morales has been chronicling for the past 16 years lived a more self-destructive existence than he once did when he engaged not only in gang-banging but also in frightening levels of alcoholic consumption.
At 15, Morales was one of the founders of an outfit called West Covina Trese, and routinely began getting into rumbles with rivals from nearby cities.