LOWELL -- There's nothing subtle about Gabriel Morales' boxing style.
When it comes to the artistry of putting up his dukes, Morales is still in the connect-the-dots stage of his amateur career.
The Dracut resident does possess a big heart and is a remorseless attacker. And that combination could enable him to punch his way to glory in the coming weeks.
A union carpenter by day, Morales, 23, hammered his way to a unanimous decision victory over Gabriel Gerolomo, 18, in a hard-hitting 141-pound Novice Division bout as the 73rd annual Greater Lowell/Central New England Golden Gloves Tournament got off to a rousing start at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Thursday night.
"Today was my first fight," said Morales, who lived in Lowell before moving to Dracut. "I was a little nervous. But once you get in there, and the fight starts, the nerves fade away.
"You feed off the atmosphere. I'm a hometown guy. I had a bunch of family and friends in the crowd. That's what made me go so hard. I wanted to go out and set the tempo. I wanted everyone to be like, 'Wow! Who the heck is that kid?' "
The Auditorium crowd certainly knew his name by the end of the fight. Morales left the ring after the decision was announced to chants of "Morales! Morales!"
"For this being his first fight to get out there on such a big stage and perform like that was great," said Morales' trainer, Jose Madera.
"But the kid has a lot of heart. He has a lot of skill. He still needs a lot of work. But that was a pretty good victory. He came to fight. I'm definitely proud of him."
Morales came out fast and rarely slowed his assault. He scored consistently with his jab and landed some stinging straight rights.
Gerolomo, a southpaw from Lowell, never backed down in the face of Morales' pressure, but he was backing up.
"Every fight is a learning experience," said Gerolomo, who was making his Golden Gloves debut and has a 3-2 amateur record. "You win some and you lose some. After a bout like this I'll go back to the gym and work harder.
"I was just too tired. I would see his punches, but I was too tired to react and counter. I landed some punches, but not enough. I just wasn't throwing enough. It's my first year fighting in the Golden Gloves. I'll be back."
Morales proved he could take a punch in the opening round as Gerolomo connected with several clean blows. From start to finish Morales was more aggressive. Morales consistently worked inside and scored with combinations.
"The first round he got me like three times," said Morales. "So I knew I was in a fight. Once I started taking the fight to him, I felt like he kind of slowed down and was more defensive. I stayed on him because I wanted the judges to know I was here to fight. I felt like that gives you the win."
Amateur boxing rewards volume of punches landed. And Morales never worried about his pitch count. He threw punches in bunches for all three rounds.
"He started throwing at the opening bell and he didn't stop punching," said Madera. "The judges want to see aggression, ring leadership and punches. He did that. He's off to a great start for this being his first fight"
Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi
GREATER LOWELL/CENTRAL N.E.
GOLDEN GOVES TOURNAMENT
at Lowell Memorial Auditorium
Men's Novice Division
Anthony Cefalo (South Boston) dec. Duncan McNeil (Groveland)
Gabriel Morales (Dracut) dec. Gabriel Gerolomo (Lowell)
Dimas Colon (Lawernce) dec. Patrick Graham (Boston)
Daniel Richard (Malden) dec. Nicholas Graham (Mansfield)
Patrick Murphy (Lowell) dec. Gregory Bono (Watertown)
Ryan Pietrantonio (Everett) RSC Gabriel Frias (Salem, N.H.), 1:47 3rd
Jason Colon (Lowell) dec. Patrick Serpico (Quincy)
Jesse Batenda (Nashua, N.H.) KO'd Gemarre Gunn (Boston), 1:32 3rd
Matt Cronin (Medford) dec. Naill Collins (Dorchester)
Andrew Perez (Methuen) dec. John Hamre (Framingham)
Alex Yasechek (Natick) dec. Zachary Ostrer (Brookline)
Women's Novice Division
Paige Eggerbrecht (Waltham) dec. Jessica Jones (West Roxbury)