16.11.03 – Carlos Kalinchuk, ringside at the Alamodome, San Antonio – Barrera-Pacquiao Photo Gallery
Just when you thought the boxing experts had it right, Manny Pacquiao 38-2-1 proved them and the world wrong with a scintillating performance over (former) “King of The Featherweights” Marco Antonio Barrera 57-4. The predictions were many and varied. Some predicted it would be a much closer fight, many others saw the more experienced Barrera schooling the younger lion, while still others saw a fast KO of Barrera early on with the probability of that shrinking as the fight went on. Tonight the answer to all those predictions was no, no, and no! Barrera did not just get beaten, but he was dominated unlike ever before in his career. Both Junior Jones fights were competitive but this fight had none of the give and take action we’ve come to expect from Barrera with him getting the better of his opponent. No, in nearly every exchange, he was outworked, out-hustled, and out punched. He was floored once in round 3, and then again in round 11. When Barrera did nothing in return and began to absorb more punishment along the ropes, trainer Rudy Perez put one leg through the ropes with a white towel letting Referee Lawrence Cole know he, like many fans on hand had felt their hero had taken enough. No one protested the stoppage, least of all Barrera. He had two cuts over his left eye and above his right eyebrow. His nose was bloody, and his left eye had been swelling shut.
Immediately after the fight, Barrera’s longtime Trainer Rudy Perez had this to say; “Marco did not have his concentration. It was a bad night for Marco. I don’t want him to fight again. I don’t want him to fight again. A lot of things went wrong with the Maldonado’s. It disturbed him. It wasn’t him tonight. Pacquiao won a great fight.”
Freddie Roach commented, “It’s just the story of a new guy coming up and an old guy coming down. It’s only the second time in my career that I’ve bet on one of my fighters. I got 8-1, and I bet on a KO!”
Manny Pacquiao said, “I kept hitting him to the body shots and I kept hurting him to the body. I was surprised he lasted 11 rounds. I felt very good and very early that in this fight that I was going to knock him out. I’m surprised he lasted 11 rounds.”
Freddie Roach had this to say at the Press Conference,” This kid is amazing. I told him to be great you have to beat great people and he did that tonight.” When discussing his training for this fight, Freddie said, “I would tell him you don’t have to do anything on Sundays but he would say “coach, I have to run because what if my opponents running right now.’ This kid is dedicated and very disciplined and he worked hard.”
But like a true class act, he said that, “Tonight, I take nothing away from Pacquiao. He was the better man and he beat me convincingly and without dispute. There are no excuses. I had trouble focusing for this fight. There were things going on that had me out of focus such as the forest fires and having to move camp with 2 weeks to go in Big Bear; the Doctors exam that I had to go to Houston for before I was approved for this fight; and my problems with the Maldonado’s. I had too many distractions but there’s no question about it, he’s a great fighter and I lost tonight and I tip my hat off to him and his team for winning the fight. He’s a great Champion. ”
In the co-featured bout of the evening San Antonio’s “Jesse” James Leija 45-6-2 TKO’d Mexico’s Fernando Mena 17-7-1in 15 left in round 2.
Although the first half of the first round was largely spent sizing each other up, James caught Mena with a hard jab along the ropes when Mena dropped his left. Outside of that it seemed Leija was controlling the pace of the round. An easy round to score for Leija.
In round two, James went in for the kill when a backpedaling Mena could do nothing against the ropes. James hit Mena with a double left jab and followed it up with a hard right, which sent Mena to the canvass. Mena beat the count but was definitely on shaky legs. Although he got up and was allowed to continue by referee Ruben Ramos, Leija pressed hard and tried to finish him off along the ropes. What ensued was slightly bizarre as an overzealous Ramos stepped in between them and waived off the fight but at the same time he waived of the action, he also viciously shoved Leija as hard as he could. He shoved Leija so hard, he fell into a backwards somersault. The crowd as well as his corner was aghast at the aggression of Ramos’s shove. But a perplexed Leija soon took it in stride as he was hoisted into the air to the cheers of the crowd.
Stay Tuned for More Results on the under card action!
Carlos “Stiff-jab” Kalinchuk
Contributing Writer and Photographer
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