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List of Articles by Maloney L. Samaco


 

BARRERA, THE GREAT MEXICAN LEGEND

By Maloney L. Samaco
PhilBoxing.com
06 Oct 2007



His real name is Marco Antonio Barrera Tapia and he turned 33 years old last January. His career has been outstanding with a record of 63 wins (42 KOs) and 5 losses. Barrera, whose brother Jorge Barrera is also a boxer, had a successful amateur boxing career where he won 56 out of 60 bouts, including five Mexican National Amateur championships, and then he turned professional. Regarded by many as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, he is a member of a wealthy Mexico City family. A three-time division world champion, Barrera is famously known as the “The Baby-Faced Assassin.”

Barrera was only 15 years old when he defeated David Felix by a knockout in round two in his pro debut in 1989. The event marked the beginning of a 43-fight winning streak. In his 17th professional bout, Barrera captured the Mexican Super Flyweight title by defeating Josefino Suarez via twelve round decision. He would go on to defend the Mexican title five times. In 1993, he captured the vacant NABF Super Flyweight title by defeating Eduardo Ramirez via twelve-round decision.

Barrera began 1995 by fighting for a world title for the first time. On March 31, he became the WBO World Super Bantamweight champion by beating Puerto Rico's Daniel Cobrita Jimenez by a decision in 12 rounds. Many boxing critics started calling Barrera "Mexico's next Julio Cesar Chavez." In 1996, Junior Jones handed Barrera his first defeat, losing the WBO crown in the process. He lost to Jones for the second time in 1997, fueling talks that he is now finished. But he recovered lost ground by capturing the WBO title again over Richie Wenton in 1998. Then he lost a close split decision in the first Erik Morales encounter in 2000. He garnered an impressive victory over Naseem Hamed in 2001, winning the IBF Featherweight title, and prevailing in the rematch against Morales in 2002. He went on to defeat popular fighters like Johnny Tapia and Kevin Kelley.

A year later he faced an aggressive young Filipino fighter named Manny Pacquiao who climbed the ring a 9 to 1 underdog. Barrera received a painstaking thrashing and most boxing writers were predicting that the end of his career is near. After 11 grueling rounds the fight was stopped by Barrera's corner throwing in the towel and Pacquiao clinched the victory. Many boxing experts noticed this was not the usual Marco fighting. He lacked swiftness, power and aggression. They attributed it to all the distractions before the fight. Other reasons given were the legal battle against his old manager and promoter, the medical exams required by the commissions, the brush fires in Big Bear, California among others.

On November 27, 2004 he and Morales met for the third time. Barrera became a three-division world champion by defeating Morales by a majority decision, winning the WBC Super Featherweight Title while also taking a 2-1 lead in their renowned trilogy. With this win Barrera had regained reliability after his shocking loss to Pacquiao and had finally beaten Morales without hullabaloo.

Last year, Barrera successfully defended his title against Rocky Juarez with what was announced immediately after the fight as a twelve-round draw. However, tabulation errors were found in the judges' scorecards, leading to a split decision in favor of Barrera. They met in a rematch and this time Barrera won convincingly on points through a unanimous decision.

On March 17, 2007 Barrera lost his WBC Super Featherweight title to fellow Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez by unanimous decision. Though Barrera claimed that the judges and referee were wrong, because he knocked down Marquez in the 7th, and the referee ruled it a slip.

There are still many supporters who reasoned he was not mentally prepared against Pacquiao. Barrera’s performance against Juarez in their first encounter also showed that he was still capable of skirmishing ring hostilities. In his last fight against Marquez it was obvious that he had fought too many ring clashes. Four years and seven fights is a long wait to face the fighter who brought one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. Barrera will also be facing a vastly improved Pacquiao this time on October 6. But revenge is the name of the game and Mexican warriors never just fade without waging a war.


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