17.10.05 – By Joseph Carlo Russo: There are many divisions in boxing that include fighters who have skill, speed, power, promise, youth, or marketing potential. These attributes are fantastic when manifested in great fighters. But, there is only one division in boxing that exhibits a balanced formula of these variables, which creates for competition unparalleled by any other weight class in the sport making it any fan or promoter’s ideal division.
The junior lightweight division offers some of the sport’s finest fighters in the world and truly demonstrates boxing at its best. As the three top dogs Marco Antonio Barrerra, Erik Morales, and Manny Pacquiao have become regulars in The Ring’s pound for pound ratings, and have shown that they are not shy of an exciting fight the junior lightweight division stakes quite the claim at being the best weight class around.
By best division or weight class, I mean that it is comprised of a balanced and consistent mixture of talent, entertainment, and marketing potential. The junior lightweight division really demonstrates these elements as it continues to showcase great fight after great fight.
Both Marco Antonio Barrerra and Erik Morales have reinstated the word “trilogy” in boxing with three awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, immeasurably entertaining all out wars. Morales and Barrerra are indeed scarcities in boxing as they seek to fight only the best and are willing to accept a loss to prove it. Morales is most notable for having a strong will, a limitless heart, and an iron jaw as he is yet to taste the canvas in all of his career, pro and amateur. Barrerra is credited with great combinations, effective bodypunching, and excellent ring generalship as he is currently looked upon as the number one man in the junior lightweight division.
Manny Pacquiao has added a whole new dimension to the division with his relentless pressure, explosive energy, and torpedo of a left hand. The Filipino star has clearly staked his claim as one of boxing’s elite as he stands 1-1 with the likes of his fellow junior lightweight top pugilists.
You can mix and match any three of the junior lightweight’s top thoroughbreds and it is virtually a guarantee that you’ll get a gem of a fight. But, perhaps the best part about this quality is that it has already been done. We have already witnessed each possible pairing of the three, and probably wouldnâ€™t mind seeing them all again.
In their own respects, all three of these fierce warriors have solidified their places in history. However, more important than securing their places in history are the positions that Barrerra, Morales, and Pacquiao have secured in the hearts of fight fans all over the world. Through their talent, heart, and hard-earned accomplishments these men have become greatly recognized as true warriors, idols and heroes in the boxing world and in their native lands in Mexico and The Philippines.
The “Baby-Faced Assassin,” “El Terrible,” and the “Pacman” demonstrate everything that is right with boxing. These are fighters who always come to fight, who fight well, and who fight in a crowd-satisfying manner. In fact, I think the last time any one of these guys has taken a step back was when Morales allegedly tried to walk through a door! These three fighters provide intensity, ferocity, tenacity, and a “never say die” attitude that is sure to impress all spectators.
Manny Pacquiao, Erik Morales, and Marco Antonio Barrerra are perfect examples of the success a fighter can achieve off simply fighting, and fighting the best, even if that implies accepting a loss. None of these three men’s records are untouched, and we should all be grateful for that. If they were, we would have never been treated to the unforgettable spectacles of fights these men display.
The junior lightweight division evidences everything that is, and always was, great about boxing. It is this division’s top contenders who manifest all the reasons why boxing should and must be kept strong, alive and well. For, if it weren’t, then we would have never had the opportunity to witness the unfolding legacies of Barrerra, Morales, and Pacquiao.