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List of Articles by Sid Bañez



Did Barrera Redeem Himself?

By Sid Bañez
PhilBoxing.com
09 Oct 2007



Marco Antonio Barrera and his supporters had hoped for and expected a miracle.

Midway into the rematch with Manny Pacquiao, it was evident the miracle wouldn’t come. Instead, what Barrera saw was a different miracle of sorts: a heretofore unseen display of defensive skills from a nemesis who was more cerebral than ever before.

Barrera’s left jabs were there all night although less menacing as the fight wore on. The follow up right and left hooks sometimes landed with authority but many of them were dissipated or softened by Pacquiao’s clever head movements and a variety of evasive tricks. I only saw a couple of the Mexican’s fearsome uppercuts in the fifth round but these were promptly answered by the Philippine’s “national fist”. It is those uppercuts which I feared could avenge Barrera’s defeat in 2003. But that night, Barrera safely maintained such distance that rendered uppercuts unviable.

By Pacquiao’s own admission, he fought a relatively cautious fight “because too much aggressiveness can cause a knockout (for him)”. However, the lesser intensity didn’t make Pacquiao less of a warrior; he delivered the more powerful blows and to the chagrin of Freddie Roach recklessly followed the backpedaling Barrera instead of cutting him off the ring. Barrera boxed most of the time, employing the tactic that frustrated Rocky Juarez in their rematch. What Barrera realized was that Pacquiao was not Juarez. He took Juarez to school. Pacquiao took him to another level of calibrated fighting.

In the end, Barrera was relieved he survived twelve rounds, never mind the unanimous decision that went to the other corner. Unlike Erik Morales he remained standing at the final bell.

He redeemed himself from the disastrous first fight at the Alamodome. Did he?

Highly partisan fans will heap scorn on Barrera’s “bicycle ride” (A circus unicycle would be a more apt metaphor.) in Mandalay Bay. But Barrera is a warrior and true warriors don’t uselessly expose themselves to danger. A true warrior is capable of ambush or may elect to be a sniper expecting little or no counterattack. With Pacquiao the ambushes invariably led to hand-to-hand combat.

To be fair, Barrera didn’t just backpedal and counterpunch a la Juan Manuel Marquez. When opportunities came, he initiated the attacks with some stinging combinations. But each time he did, he paid the price, rocked not just by Pacquiao’s vaunted lefts but his potent right jabs, crosses and hooks. However, the Mexican paced himself so well Pacquiao was mindful, even in the later rounds, that there was still much power left that could cause jubilation in Mexico. Thus, Pacquiao’s performance, remarkable as it was that night, was nowhere near his spectacularly awesome blitzkrieg at the Alamodome in 2003 when he humiliated Barrera with an eleventh round stoppage.

Barrera claimed he was not himself in that fight, claiming distractions from a leaked medical record, a wildfire in his training camp and some family issues. His performance in the rematch lent some credence to those claims. The Barrera that fought Pacquiao again was more focused, stronger and more determined – to survive, at least.

Surviving Manny Pacquiao is important to the Hall of Fame-bound Barrera. It is particularly important in a contest for bragging rights with another Hall of Fame shoo-in, Erik Morales, who lost to Barrera twice in a thrilling trilogy. After their last fight, Barrera contemptuously held up his two fingers to Morales’ face, signifying two victories. He can hold those two fingers again to remind Morales that the latter was knocked out twice by Pacquiao and he, just once.

Nevertheless, don’t expect the superior score to endear Barrera to Filipinos as Morales did. Morales showed his fans, among them thousands of Filipinos, sheer guts and a remarkable desire to please them. Morales put the house on fire, so to speak.

Barrera made sure the circuit breaker won’t fail.

To the Filipinos, at least, Barrera may not have redeemed himself. At least, not yet. We’ll know that for sure if, like Morales, he’s asked, to do a beer commercial in Manila.

Top photo: Marco Antonio Barrera of Mexico is shown here with his face bleeding during last Saturday's fight with Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. Reuters photo.


Note: The author, Sid Bañez, is a long time member of Pacland and goes by the handle fistolero. You may email your reaction to this article to speak2connect@yahoo.com .


Back to Sid Bañez's Articles Listing



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