Barrera – Pacquiao: Calm Before The Storm?

By Matthew Hurley: At the final press conference between Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao both fighters seemed rather subdued. There was no macho posturing and no real animosity shown between the camps. The only needle thrown into this cuddly pillow fight was Barrera pointing at Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach and telling him that his hand wraps have always been the same. This came on the heels of Roach’s allegation that Barrera doesn’t properly wrap his hands and that he will be under scrutiny during the session before the fight.

Other than that both boxers remained poised and gentlemanly, particularly Pacquiao, who never shows any anger or attitude towards a fighter before or after a bout. The humble fighter seems to approach his craft as a job that he must work hard at and psychological games are meaningless when you are as fast as he is and you can hit as hard as he does. However this is a fight that he has wanted for some time. After dismantling Barrera in startling fashion in 2003 a proposed boxing rematch was always in the air but the two took different paths with different promotional firms. The fact that those two firms, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions refused to work with each other left the two rivals on opposite sides of a stupid situation that not only put this fight off for four years but kept other potential big match ups from happening.

All of that nonsense has been cleared up with a truce between the two companies, in particular the presidents Oscar De La Hoya and Bob Arum. So, one of the initial bouts signed was the rematch between the two fighters who should have fought years ago. Still everyone seems happy, even if a bit reserved.

“Fighting Barrera is a career highlight for me,” Pacquiao said, that boyish smile creasing his face. I want to thank everyone and hopefully we will make people happy. It’s going to be another exciting fight for the fans.”

Barrera, certainly more stoic, but no less conciliatory, remarked, “Pacquiao and I have one thing in common and this is the fight we have wanted most. But Pacquiao should be careful because I have no distractions. I am one hundred percent and I will win this fight.”

Arum, before introducing his fighter, claimed Pacquiao was the number one fighter in the world. A little dig certainly at Floyd Mayweather Jr., the seeming consensus choice, whom Arum has had nothing but trouble with. But his comments were center marked for many people in the audience and many writers, this one included.

Yet, Barrera is a prideful man. One of his final comments after leaving the podium was that after the bout’s conclusion he will be the new number one pound for pound fighter in the world. Not many believe that, including the betting public which will instill him come fight night as a heavy underdog, but Barrera is a Hall of Fame fighter and you don’t get into the Hall of Fame unless you’ve proven your greatness. Barrera and his fans believe he has one last supreme effort in him. We’ll see Saturday night.

Article posted on 04.10.2007

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