16.11.03 – By Dennis Principe: SIMPLY dominating! These are two simple but definitive words that aptly describe the demolition job done by Filipino IBF world Superbantamweight champion Manny Pacquiao over Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera yesterday at the hostile Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Coming back from a controversial 1st round knockdown, the 24-year old Pacquiao displayed a totally different fighting style the whole time against a baffled Barrera until the Mexican’s corner threw in the towel in the 11th round, giving the southpaw warrior from Labangal, General Santos City an incontestable Technical Knockout (TKO) win.
Entering the first 30 seconds of the opening round, Pacquiao went off-balance after his right foot got entangled with that of Barrera. But instead of ruling it as a slip, referee Laurence Cole surprisingly credited Barrera with a knockdown to the disbelief of Pacquiao. After the referee’s miscue, Pacquiao, who showed his admiration for the San Antonio crowd by wearing a San Antonio Spurs NBA jersey, immediately started to put on the pressure by connecting crisp right jabs and blinding left straights.
The third round proved to be the turning point for Pacquiao’s featherweight conquest as the Filipino champ floored Barrera with a picture-perfect left straight.
Barrera, proving that Mexican champions do not give up easily, fought toe-to-toe with Pacquiao and was on the verge of winning the 6th round. But with just a few seconds remaining before the end of the 6th round, Pacquiao again connected a rock-solid right-left combination, flooring Barrera for the second time.
An accidental head butt in round seven left a cut over Barrera’s left eye but the doctor saw no serious damage to the Mexican fighter. From then on, it was already an all-Pacquiao show as an outclassed Barrera could do nothing but to complain to the referee about the alleged headbutting of the Filipino fighter.
The exasperated 29-year-old Barrera was even assessed a point deduction for hitting Pacquiao during the break in the 9th round.
By the 11th round, Pacquiao again floored an obviously worn-out Barrera but still was able stand up for probably one final effort.
At this point, there was no denying Pacquiao of his date with destiny as he continued to pummel, outgun and outwork his proud foe with left and right combos from all directions, forcing his corner to step into the ring to stop the carnage. The end came at 2:56 of the 11th round.
In an interview after the fight, Barrera claimed it was not his night and even blamed the issue about his brain operation and the forest fire that hit his training camp as major reasons that led to his so-so performance. Barrera however credited Pacquiao’s power and speed that led to the Mexican’s unexpected downfall.
Barrera refused to give an answer when asked about the rematch clause in their fight contract except that he will still discuss it with his promoter, boxing superstar Oscar Dela Hoya.
For his part, Pacquiao said he and American trainer Freddie Roach prepared for almost two months exclusively studying Barrera’s weaknesses and improving his rapid but solid left punch.
Pacquiao also displayed an awesome three to five punch combination to the body as well a remarkable defense with his swift head and body movement and dazzling footwork, facet which were never seen in his previous fights.
“I know that by the fourth round I will win this fight. But I did not expect to end it by knockout as I was anticipating Barrera to survive the 12-round match.” Said Pacquiao in a post-fight interview by HBO analyst Larry Merchant “Now, people will look up to me as a superstar. But I guarantee them that I will still be the same, humble Manny Pacquiao”.
With the win, Pacquiao’s stature as the newest boxing superstar and the new “King of the Featherweight” has already been established and is expected to hear offers left and right from other superstar wannabes of the featherweight division.
Pacquiao even bared his willingness to slug it out with the once-mighty Barrera “Anytime, anywhere.”
Pacquiao now has an overall record of 38-2-1, 29 KO’s since turning professional in 1995 while the 14-year veteran Barrera drops to 57-4-1, 40 KO’s.
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