Marco Antonio Barrera on the Maldonado’s and his former promoter Johnson “It was difficult to realize that people were robbing me and stealing from me…”

14.11.03 - Interview by Carlos Kalinchuk: On the eve of his showdown with Manny Pacquiao 37-2-1, Featherweight King Marco Antonio Barrera 57-3 spoke with me at length about a variety of topics. From his broken relationships with the Maldonado's to Manny Pacquiao and what motivated him choose boxing. This is a good read and as always, Barrera was very relaxed throughout our conversation. Oftentimes when fighters near fight night they are often unapproachable. Marco on the other hand is a different breed altogether. Enjoy.

EastSide Boxing: When you came to Oscar and you were very upset with the Maldonado's (Oscar and Ricardo) and Mr. Johnson. Can you comment about that? Marco Antonio Barrera: It was difficult to realize that the people that I trusted were robbing me and stealing from me left and right. I'm just glad that we were able to come to an agreement with Oscar and everything balanced itself out and now we're fighting with the same desire to keep working.

EastSide Boxing: Do you feel that you now have some time to make up for what you lost in time/money?

Marco Antonio Barrera: Oh I think so. We have to recuperate a lot of things. The Maldonado family put a hold on us but now with Oscar DelaHoya were getting ready but you have to look at that situation (with the Maldonado's) and say goodbye like it never happened and realize that the door's wide open.

EastSide Boxing: Was there a settlement with the Maldonado's or did you guys go to court (mediation)?

Marco Antonio Barrera: Yes there's was a settlement made so we could continue working but no we didn't have to go to court. It was Oscar's people that negotiated the settlement so it's been resolved.

EastSide Boxing: What do you think of Manny Pacquiao?

Marco Antonio Barrera: He's an excellent fighter who hits very hard. He's very courageous. Hopefully this will show in the ring and it will make for a great fight.

EastSide Boxing: Do you want to fight these kinds of fights to cement your legacy?

Marco Antonio Barrera: I want to fight the best. I've fought the best of my time at their prime. Manny is in his prime and that is good for my career.

EastSide Boxing: So since you have replaced your law career with a career as a prizefighter, do you have some other aspirations when you leave boxing?

Marco Antonio Barrera: No. My whole life has been boxing. I'm very thankful to the sport (boxing) because it gave me more than I ever thought it would so what is happening now is just extra and that's good.

EastSide Boxing: You grew up in a well to do family in Mexico. Your father was involved in making sets for TV shows and motion pictures. Is that still around?

Marco Antonio Barrera: We still have it. It's the family business and it's still around.

EastSide Boxing: Why box if you didn't have to? Usually people see boxing as a way of getting out of rough surroundings?

Marco Antonio Barrera: My parents have always asked me "Why Boxing?" I think I've asked myself that question so many times but I don't know why but I just love it.

EastSide Boxing: Did you like other sports growing up like soccer?

Marco Antonio Barrera: Yes. My family encouraged me to play soccer.

EastSide Boxing: You speak English pretty well but you don't always seem comfortable with it.

Marco Antonio Barrera: I'm a little shy at times about speaking English but I hope with time I'm able to get over it because I need it in my profession.

EastSide Boxing: Are you taking classes?

Marco Antonio Barrera: No. It's all learning it on the street and from speaking with people in the community and putting it to use.

EastSide Boxing: I know you get asked this question all the time, but is there a 3rd Morales fight in the future?

Marco Antonio Barrera: There's plans and possibilities that we can make that fight but right now we are just thinking about Manny Pacquiao.

EastSide Boxing: You seem to follow boxing and are a fan of the sport. Who did you idolize growing up?

Marco Antonio Barrera: For me there was Chavez and Ricardo Lopez and that's it. There was no one else.

EastSide Boxing: Why Chavez?

Marco Antonio Barrera: The reason…because he's Chavez. I've always liked the way he fought!

EastSide Boxing: How about other fighters in the Featherweight Division from Mexico like Salvador Sanchez?

Marco Antonio Barrera: Well, I never had the pleasure of seeing him fight, he didn't fight in my time but they said he was an excellent fighter.

EastSide Boxing: He had the whole package. He was a tactician, a slugger…

Marco Antonio Barrera: Yeah they said he had all the pieces of the puzzle. He boxed. He slugged but I just never got a chance to see him fight.

EastSide Boxing: How about today? What fighters do you watch for or lookout for that are currently fighting?

Marco Antonio Barrera: Well I still have my Chavez tapes that I watch all the time along with my Ricardo Lopez tapes. Considering today's fighters I'd have to say…I don't know there's a lot of good Mexican fighters out there like Aguirre, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Manuel Manteca's Medina, Morales and there's a bunch.

EastSide Boxing: How do you like San Antonio?

Marco Antonio Barrera: I love San Antonio.

EastSide Boxing: Any chance of you coming back?

Marco Antonio Barrera: Well God willing if everything goes well, I'd like to fight here again because I feel like I'm home.

EastSide Boxing: Thanks a lot.

Marco Antonio Barrera: Thank you.

Carlos “Stiff-jab” Kalinchuk
Contributing Writer & Photographer

Article posted on 14.11.2003

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