Did Barrera make a good account of himself?

marco antonio barrera By Geoffrey Ciani: Boxing fans witnessed the final chapter in the illustrious career of Mexican legend, Marco Antonio Barrera, when he lost a unanimous decision in his rematch with Manny Pacquiao last weekend. Going into this bout, most observers in the boxing community assumed Barrera would once again lose against the relentless Pacquiao and the majority opinion prevailed.

This begs the question: Did Marco Antonio Barrera make a good account for himself in his farewell bout?

The answer to this question largely depends on one’s expectations going into the bout. Essentially, there are two schools of thought. On one hand, there are those who feel Barrera did not take enough risks to try and win the bout. People from this group tend to believe Marco simply showed up to “survive” with no intentions of winning.

On the other hand, there are those who feel Barrera did an outstanding job imposing his will on Pacquiao. People from this group believe that Barrera did everything in his power to keep things competitive to try and reverse the outcome of their first bout, which was disastrous for Barrera.

So which side is correct? To quote Abe Simpson, a little from column A and a little from column B.

It is true that Barrera did not take enough risks to try and win the fight. Earlier in his career Barrera was largely defined by his eagerness to take risks. Many a time throughout his career, Barrera would put himself in harm’s way just to get an opportunity to do some damage unto his opponent. In his rematch against Pacquiao, risk-taking was down to a minimum, so in that regard, critics of his final performance have a good point.

However, whenever a fighter makes a calculated risk, there is a tradeoff. In this case, taking a risk might well have given Barrera an opportunity to inflict more damage, but on the flipside, such risks would have put Barrera in harm’s way, leading to a possible knockout loss. Considering such, is it fair to say Barrera showed up to survive with no intentions of winning? I am not so sure.

The first time these two squared off, Barrera suffered a tremendous beating. I believe his goal going into this bout was to take matters into the later rounds and roll the dice. In that sense, I believe he did come to ‘survive’, but that does not necessarily mean he did not come to win. By surviving into the later rounds, Barrera gave himself the best chance he had to create opportunities. Unfortunately for Barrera, Pacquiao is a more intelligent boxer than many give him credit for.

By limiting his own mistakes and not getting reckless, Pacquiao limited Barrera’s opportunities. Barrera succeeded in prolonging the fight to maximize his chances of finding opportune moments while Pacquio succeeded in limiting such opportunities. The result is the fight that we got. In that sense, both fighters deserve credit for their patience and ring intelligence.

When one considers the devastating fashion with which Barrera was stopped in their first encounter, I am hard-pressed to see how anyone can genuinely criticize his efforts. After all, he managed to go the distance against a younger, stronger, and faster foe without ever being in serious trouble. Compared to the way their first bout ended (when Barrera himself was much younger and crisper), I think he fought a very intelligent fight and deserves all the credit in the world.

Farewell, Marco! And thank you for all the memories.

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Article posted on 11.10.2007

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