Pacquiao-Barrera II - Does Marco Have Any Kind Of A Shot?

barrera11.07.07 - By James Slater: One of the most eagerly awaited rematches in recent lower weight-class history finally takes place in October. On the 6th, in Las Vegas, Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao meets fellow great Marco "The Baby Faced Assassin" Barrera. The result should be another exciting fight in both men's respective careers. For quite a while, however, it seemed the rematch of 2003's fight may not happen. Did Barrera really want to step back in the ring with the Filipino phenomenon? Now we have our answer. Marco, in true Mexican style, has rose to the challenge.

And at the tail end of his legendary career at that. Indeed, you have to admire the man from Guadalajara. Pushing the mid-thirty mark, badly beaten in his last fight and clearly not the near-flawless fighting machine he was in the late '90's/early 2000's, Marco now chooses to square up with the man who gave him his worst ever beating.

That shows guts. Something Marco has never lacked, of course. But does he realistically have any kind of chance at avenging his November 2003 eleventh round stoppage to Pac-Man?

Marco has only lost once since that nightmare of a fight at The Alamodome in San Antonio. But it should not be forgotten that he has struggled in more than one of his recent wins. His third fight with arch-rival Erik Morales was as tough as everyone thought it would be going in, therefore Marco gets no penalty points for having had a hard time in winning that one -indeed, he defied the odds in winning the rubber match, coming as it had after his bad loss to Pacquiao. But Marco's all-out struggle with Rocky Juarez two years and three fights later was, perhaps, a good indication of how much the wear and tear was beginning to tell on him.

He completely out-boxed Rocky in the return, thereby silencing the critics on that occasion. But that's the point, he will not be able to out-box Manny Pacquiao as he did Juarez. Surely not. The Filipino, who is at his bristling peak, is far too fast for that. Marco's best chance at winning on October 6th is by out-brawling and ultimately out-toughing Pac-Man. Talk about a
tall order. Even a prime Barrera would have been hard pushed to out-machismo a fighter as frighteningly fast and powerful as Manny. Now, when at an age where he likes to box comfortably and fight at a pace of his choosing, his chances of solving the puzzle that is Manny Pacquaio seem very slim.

Marco cannot out-box Pacquiao, not at his current age, I think most would agree on that one. Neither can he out-tough and wear down such a strong and energy-filled warrior as the twenty-eight year old southpaw. Let's face it, Barrera was unable to keep up with Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight. What chance will he have with the much faster and harder hitting Pac-Man then?

Of course, a fighter as great as Marco Antonio Barrera should never be ruled out completely. He has, of course, shoved the odds down his critics' throats on a few previous occasions. Nor should it be forgotten that in the lead-up to his initial fight with Pacquiao Barrera's preparations were somewhat compromised to say the least - what with bush fire's necessitating a change of fight camp venue, the revelation to the media of the metal plate inserted into his skull and other things. But the fact is, fight one was almost four years ago. If poor preparations were to blame Marco should have taken his return with Manny much earlier than he has. Then, with less miles on the clock than he has now, he maybe could have done something about his poor first performance against the Filipino. Now, however, at age thirty-three and after a punishing and high number of tough fights, any such chance has surely passed.

I can only see one winner. Manny is simply too fast, hits too hard, is an awkward southpaw and is too young for the ageing lion that is Marco Antonio Barrera. I expect a game effort from Marco, though. A give-it-all-he-has type of performance is surely what the Mexican legend will give us inside The Mandalay Bay in just under three months time. As such, he may reach the final bell this time around. I wouldn't bet on it, however.

Look for Marco to go all-out in a final fight blaze of glory. After being stopped while still on his feet in the ninth round, Marco will announce his retirement. After which we will all realise how much we were privileged to have watched him fight with such courage and in such an exciting and pleasing manner. Manny Pacquaio is going to be all-conquering for quite some time yet.

Article posted on 12.07.2007

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