History Against Barrera In Rematch With Pacquiao

03.12.04 - By Frank Lotierzo - - How could a fighter suffer the worst beating of his career on November 15th 2003. And a year later on November 27th 2004, come back and defeat his most bitter and fierce rival to win his third world title. That's exactly what Marco Antonio Barrera did this last weekend when he won a 12 round majority decision over WBC super-featherweight champion Erik Morales.

Heading into their fight this past Saturday night, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales had fought twice. Morales won a 12 round split decision in their first meeting at super-bantamweight. In their first fight, Barrera and Morales went at each other non-stop for 36 minutes in what turned out to be the fight of the year. Two years later fighting as featherweights, Barrera and Morales fought a rematch. In what was another outstanding fight Barrera won a 12 round unanimous decision to knot them at 1-1.

A year ago Barrera was soundly beaten and stopped by Manny Pacquiao in their featherweight bout. After being down in the first round, Pacquiao dominated the fight. Over the next 10 rounds Pacquiao had Barrera down twice, and inflicted more punishment on him than he had ever taken from any fighter in his career. The fight ended when Barrera's corner threw in the towel at 2:56 of round eleven to save him from taking further punishment. When the fight was stopped, all three judges scoring the fight had Pacquiao leading by an overwhelming margin, 97-89, 97-90, 97-90. Throughout the fight Barrera just couldn't cope with Pacquiao's speed and power, and was completely befuddled by Pacquiao's herky-jerky unorthodox style.

After being taken apart by Pacquiao, many believed that Barrera was finished. Seven months after losing to Pacquiao, Barrera stopped Paulie Ayala in 10 rounds. After fighting Ayala, Barrera agreed to fight fellow Mexican rival Erik Morales for the WBC super-featherweight title. Barrera and Morales had a bad history in and out of the ring with each other. In this fight everything was on the line, and both knew the winner would be viewed as the better fighter. And fighting at 130, Morales was thought to hold just about every advantage over Barrera as the fight approached.

Morales was fighting for the fourth time at super-featherweight, opposed to Barrera who would be fighting at the higher weight for the first time. By the day of the fight, Morales was more than a 2-1 favorite. When the fight ended, Barrera was the WBC super-featherweight champ, his third title at a different weight, and up 2-1 over Morales in their trilogy. Against Morales, Barrera appeared to be fresher and stronger, showing no signs of being the shot fighter many proclaimed him to be before the fight.

Now after beating Morales in a tough gruelling fight, the fight being talked about is a Pacquiao-Barrera rematch. When Barrera was asked about a possible rematch with Pacquiao through his interpreter, he said, "It was just one of those nights where a lot of things were involved." Oscar De La Hoya, Barrera's promoter, said he knew that the loss to Pacquiao was just a fluke. "It was not him (Barrera) in there against (Pacquiao), I knew he still had a lot left in him. It's just a matter of focus and concentration," De La Hoya told Larry Merchant. Barrera also said that the California wildfires forced him to abandon his training camp in the mountains of Big Bear, as well as his former manager's decision to leak to the media that he had undergone a brain operation that was unreported, contributed to the stunning defeat to Pacquiao.

I believe boxing fans will get to see a rematch between Pacquiao and Barrera. Regardless of what the two of them are saying now, Pacquiao wants the huge pay day that fighting Barrera represents. Not to mention making De La Hoya and anyone else who thinks the first fight was a fluke, eat their words. And Barrera is a warrior, and if he really believes everything he says regarding why he lost their last fight, he won't be able to live until he gets another shot at Pacquiao.

For Pacquiao and Barrera to fight again, Pacquiao has to beat Fashan 3K Battery on December 11th. After that he is scheduled to fight a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez. Although Pacquiao fighting Barrera before Marquez is definitely realistic, especially if it's for more money. Based on his two fights against them, Pacquiao sees Barrera the better career decision, more money less risk. After Barrera he can fight Marquez. Opposed to taking a greater risk the first time with Marquez and being upset costing him the rematch with Barrera. So from a career/business decision, Pacquiao should fight Barrera if he is successful on December 11th. He knows Marquez isn't going anywhere.

If Pacquiao-Barrera II happens next year, can the outcome be any different this time? In their fight last year, Pacquiao inflicted a career ending type of beating on Barrera. However, against Morales he was sharp and refreshed, and fought one of his best fights. And in fairness to Barrera, I doubt he had the same focus and urgency for Pacquiao that he did for all three fights with Morales. I'll bet inside Barrera questioned how good Pacquiao really was, and never in a million years believed that Pacquiao was capable of taking him apart and dominating him the way he did. In a rematch, Barrera would be much better prepared mentally, physically, and strategically. Remember, Barrera is a very smart fighter and has shown that he can change and vary his style for different opponents if that is what it takes. In a rematch, Barrera knows he can't trade with Pacquiao and has to pick his spots. The good news for Barrera is, he's not as shot as he looked in the first fight and will fight better in the rematch. And Pacquiao hasn't shown, at least not too me, that he has a great chin, which also gives Barrera a shot.

That being said, Pacquiao will be a solid favorite in the rematch. After Barrera beat Morales last weekend, Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach remarked that Barrera looked good winning the fight, but what worked against Morales doesn't work against Pacquiao. He basically said that Morales doesn't punch like Manny and that's why Barrera was able to survive and win. He also said if Pacquiao had thrown more right hands, something they're working on, he would've stopped Marquez in his last fight.

I also think it's possible that because Barrera was fighting Morales, if there was one last great fight still left in him, Morales was the fighter to bring it out. The rivalry between Barrera and Morales motivates them to fight beyond what they could against another opponent. The fact that it was Morales who he was fighting most likely drove Barrera to a level that he couldn't reach against another fighter. And I think that was a big factor as to why Barrera was so purposeful and sharp against Morales last week.

Just as Holyfield and Bowe along with Ali and Frazier confronted each other, they would push themselves to the point where it was life threatening and beyond if that's what it took to beat their rival. I believe Barrera and Morales are from the same mold.

In a Pacquiao-Barrera rematch, boxing history doesn't bode well for Barrera. How many times in the last 40 years have we seen a fighter lose in the same decisive manner that Barrera lost to Pacquiao, and come back and win the second fight between them. Not lose a one-sided decision or stopped on cuts, but destroyed in the first meeting.

I had to contact a good friend and fight trainer to brainstorm in order to come up with a few. After getting destroyed in the first fight, Patterson destroyed Johannson, Chiquita Gonzalez beat Carbajal, and Rosenblatt beat Pazienza in the rematch.

Article posted on 03.12.2004

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