Pacquiao-Barrera II - Where Was The Fire?

pacman barrera07.10.07 - by James Slater, photo by Naoki Fukuda - Though I also experienced some of the same problems ESB's Ted Sares encountered, via the T.V coverage, when watching Manny Pacquaio's return encounter with Marco Antonio Barrera - due to a transmission that was affected because of lack of pictures at times - I saw practically all of last night's action. Certainly enough to see that both men put on a performance that was far lower in quality than was expected - especially in "Pac-Man's" case.

Though he won by wide (too wide, in this writer's opinion) scores from two of the three judges that gave him a unanimous decision, Manny lacked both intensity and fire. He also appeared to lack the ability to listen to trainer Freddie Roach in the corner at times. Indeed, last night's win was achieved by a less than spectacular and great looking Pacquaio. Sure, he is still a fine, fine fighter. But for the first time in a long while he had the appearance of a beatable fighter..

For his part, Barrera was content to hear the final bell and this was reflected in his decent - but no way near aggressive enough - performance. As such, the bout was something of a disappointment - a disappointment, judging by the majority of posts left by Eastside readers, that was felt by more than a few fans last night.

What now for "Pac-Man" then? Barrera, we know, has announced his retirement. And unlike with some other fighters we could mention Marco's announcement will more than likely stick. But Manny, aged just 28, clearly has more fighting left in him. Whoever he fights next, however, will more than likely have taken a lot of confidence from what they saw from him last night. Juan Manuel Marquez, for example, should he get what he wants in a rematch, will surely feel he will win second time around. Pacquaio boxed Barrera's fight, at the older man's pace, for long periods in the fight last night. Marquez, who out-boxed Manny for long stretches in their first fight, had he been in there with last night's Filipino star, may well have devastated all of Manny's loving and devoted fans by besting him on the scorecards.

The question does indeed arrive, has Pacquiao lost enough of his fire to be taken? His energy level didn't look what it has in the past and he showed Marco way too much respect. And this was an old Barrera, after all. Why didn't Pacquiao jump right on the Mexican veteran as he did back in late 2003? Something just wasn't the same with Manny last night, that much cannot be denied. Sure, it's possible "Pac-Man" simply had an off night - the result of having trained over in the Philippines for this fight, as apposed to the usual method of getting ready full time in L.A. If, however, Manny has lost a step or two it could be good news for the rest of the super-featherweight division. A class of fighters it once appeared Manny would have next to no problem with.

There will certainly be a lot riding on "Pac-Man's" next outing.

All that is left to add is to wish Marco Antonio Barrera good luck in his retirement. He didn't exactly go out on his shield last night. But he did at least have the satisfaction of going the distance, something not too many experts felt he'd be able to do going in.

Article posted on 08.10.2007

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