Barrera-Juarez, Barrios-Guzman and Gonzales/Vazquez: 2006 Fight Card Of The Year

15.09.06 - By Jacqui Snow: This Saturday, September 16th, fight fans will be treated to the best fight card in a year that's already made its mark on the sport. The headliner showcases the highly anticipated rematch between Marco Antonio Barrera (62-4, 42 KOs) and Rocky Juarez (25-2, 18 KOs). The last time these warriors met in the ring in May, Juarez was the underdog, but once the bell sounded, it became evident that Barrera had a real fight on his hands. The result was a thrilling back-and-forth bout, with both men giving their all..

Barrera used his boxing skills to create an early lead, but Juarez staggered him with a left hook in the third. Following that near-knockdown, Barrera tried to wear down his opponent with relentless attacks to the body, but Juarez recovered from the assault in the later rounds, successfully landing to the head and body of Barrera. When the slugfest was over, the scorecards showed the fight to be a draw, but it was later announced that judge Ken Morita's scorecard had been incorrectly tabulated and the fight was scored a somewhat disputed split decision in favor of Barrera.

Jorge Barrios (46-2-1, 33 KOs), the popular Argentinean, defends his WBO strap against the dangerous Joan Guzman (25-0, 17 KOs). Both fighters are powerful, relentless sluggers, but the size advantage belongs to Barrios, who's fought most of his career at 130 or higher. Aside from a disqualification loss back in 1997, the only blemish on Barrios' record came in 2003 as a result of his brutal slugfest with Brazilian Acelino Freitas for the WBO and WBA Super Featherweight titles. That bout was an absolute war in which both fighters were knocked down twice before Freitas succeeded in scoring a 12th round knockout. Since that date, Barrios is 7-0 and most recently scored a first-round knockout in May against a hopelessly overmatched Janos Nagy (46-2-1, 33 KOs)

Joan Guzman's raw strength and knockout power have earned him the nickname "Little Tyson". He's knocked out 17 of his 25 opponents—eight of them in the first round. Back in 2001, Hector Avila lost consciousness and was carried from the ring on a stretcher after Guzman dropped him five times en route to a 2nd round knockout. Fortunately, Avila made a full recovery from that near-tragedy and continues to fight, but while Guzman remains undefeated, his knockout percentage has diminished somewhat, with only four kayos in ten victories. Furthermore, most of Guzman's experience has been at 122 and he's never been in the ring with anyone as strong as Barrios. It'll be interesting to see whether the increase in weight will work in Guzman's favor.

Jhonny Gonzales (33-4, 28 KOs) moves up in weight class to challenge Israel Vazquez (40-3, 29 KOs) for his WBC title. Gonzales may have disappointed the fans in May with a boring decision victory over Fernando Montiel, but he's usually a brawler who makes exciting fights. Vazquez, for his part, is a hard-hitting power puncher with effective boxing skills and he's the naturally bigger man. In this case, though, the size difference may be a moot point—prior to the Montiel bout, Gonzales scored an 8th round kayo of Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, despite the fact that Johnson walks around at about 150 and actually failed to make weight for the bout.

The stacked fight card is being promoted by Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions and will be shown on HBO pay-per-view. De La Hoya has boasted that his card features three potential fight-of-the year match-ups. While it's certainly a promoter's job to use hyperbole to sell a $50 pay-per-view card, in this case, the golden boy is (so to speak) right on the money.

Article posted on 15.09.2006

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