Barrera V Juarez II - Will “The Baby Faced Assassin” Win Convincingly This Time?

04.09.06 - By James Slater: They’re calling the fight “Too Close To Call”, and the return bout between WBC super featherweight champion, Marco Antonio Barrera and challenger, Rocky Juarez is sure to be another fight to the finish. The first fight, in May, was a desperately close and thrilling battle. The older man in Barrera got hit plenty but also landed with some thunder of his own. So much so that the outcome of the bout was in doubt right until the very end. Barrera claims now that he was unwell going into the match, and that an ill-fitting gum-shield also added to his problems.

There may well be some substance to this. Marco did look easier to hit than ever before - except of course when going to war in the first fight in the trilogy with arch-rival Erik Morales - and his mouth was hanging open noticeably at times. This is to take nothing from the superb and brave performance the challenger from Texas put on though. Juarez indeed looked like a world champion in the making. The question is, will he achieve his goal on September the 16th - against the fully fit and one hundred percent prepared warrior from Mexico?

The end to a fantastic career is surely fast approaching for the thirty-two year old Marco. He has engaged in a number of brutal and punishing fights. The aforementioned trilogy with Morales, for example, contained two of the most heart rendering and demanding boxing matches in modern day lower weight class history. Surely then, all this will catch up with Barrera soon? There will come a time when he will go to the well and find it to be dry, this happens to each and every great fighter who attempts to hang on to the glory days too long. Barrera, 62-4(42KO) will be no different, there is only so much his mind and body - despite their incredible toughness - can take.

Rocky, on the other hand, is a fighter who has just entered his prime years at the age of twenty-six. His fight with “The Baby Faced Assassin” was his first acid test amongst a genuinely great fighter. His commendable performance on May the 20th will have given him nothing but superior confidence. As a result, Rocky, 25-2(18KO) will enter the ring for the return contest absolutely convinced he will win. He may well honestly believe he won fight number one, too. The match was incredibly close and hard fought - so much so that its result was originally announced as a draw. That verdict, if it had stuck and not been corrected to a split decision victory for Barrera shortly afterwards, wouldn’t have been a bad call. In fact, when being interviewed post-fight, Marco said he was happy with a draw. He was no doubt even happier when informed later of the changed result.

So who will be smiling at the end of the re-match on the 16th?

I have a feeling that, despite his spirited challenge in the first meeting, Juarez was benefited by catching a below par Barrera. Let’s face it, after the vast amount of fights Marco has engaged in it must be very hard for him getting “up” for all subsequent challenges. And when one combines that factor with the claims of his being somewhat under the weather, its clear to see Rocky wasn’t in there with the best of Marco Antonio Barrera. This time, however, I believe he will be. I fear his best chance at becoming a world champion, at Barrera’s expense anyway, has come and gone.

Look for a commanding and uncontroversial points win for Mexico’s finest this time around. As Marco puts the finishing touches to a legacy that is undeniably gold covered.

Article posted on 04.09.2006

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