Guzman Schools Barrios

17.09.06 - By James Slater: In a fight that actually contested a vacant title, Joan Guzman, from the Dominican Republic, totally outclassed the frighteningly tough Argentine, Jorge Barrios over twelve rounds. Only the courage and teak-toughness of Barrios kept him in the fight to the very end, as Guzman used classy move after classy move on the way to his points win. The fact that the verdict was a split one after such a comprehensive display by Guzman is a complete mystery to this writer, but that's another story. There is no doubt the classy Guzman was the far superior man on the night..

The match contested a title that only the man from The Dominican Republic could possibly have got his hands on, due to a ruling I've never seen before. The WBO super featherweight title had been stripped from Barrios for failing to make weight, and was then made vacant, yet even with a win Barrios would not be recognised as the champ. As I've said, a new one on me. Still, such a ruling turned out to be a purely academic one once the fight progressed, as the skills of the talented Guzman proved to be too much for Barrios. Looking for all the world like a fighter on a totally different level, the unbeaten Guzman put his punches together very well as he repeatedly nailed the gutsy Argentine. At times dropping his hands in contempt as he stood in front of Jorge, Joan was content to merely pull away from punches. Such tactics can prove risky, but Barrios was unable to make him pay for such cockiness.

In the later rounds, Guzman was guilty of taking his foot off the peddle somewhat, allowing Barrios to put some rounds in his column. But, barring a shock KO, something that didn't look very likely, the fight was in the bag for Guzman. Jorge never stopped trying, however, and one could do nothing but feel admiration for his guts and heart. Some quieter rounds were boxed towards the end, at least they were quiet in patches - the action was pretty intense throughout. But Guzman's punches continued to trouble Barrios, without a doubt. On occasion it looked as though Jorge would certainly hit the canvas. It is to his credit that he did not do so.

In the end it was class that showed, and that class belonged to Joan Guzman. The verdict when it came was astonishingly a split one. Again, there is no way I can possibly understand how, especially as a point had also been deducted from Barrios for a low blow. In fact the scores were mighty close - the winner was only seen as such by a mere point on one card and by three on the other. Somehow Barrios was voted the winner by a point on the third card. But the right man won, and he now holds the WBO title.

Article posted on 18.09.2006

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