Marco Antonio Barrera, back to his best - HoganPhotos.com
By Paul Upham: WBC junior lightweight world champion Marco Antonio Barrera put on a masterful boxing clinic to defeat Rocky Juarez on points over twelve rounds in their rematch on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, USA on a card by Golden Boy Promotions. While the scorecards were closer than some expected after Barrera's impressive performance, the Mexican great was dominant from start to finish and looked not too far away from his best.
"I moved and boxed and used my jab," Barrera 63-4 (42) said, after the win. "I told you after the last fight I was going to take him to school and I did it."
In their first battle on May 20 in Los Angeles that was announced as a twelve round draw, only for Barrera to be awarded the points decision twenty minutes later after a scoring mix-up, the 32 year-old Mexican admitted he had learned from his mistake.
"I learned to never go down to the level of the challenger," he explained. "I am the champion. I need to use my pressure and my experience."
26 year-old Juarez 25-3 (18) was naturally disappointed after the loss.
"Barrera didn't come to fight today," he said. "He came to box and he fought a better fight than he fought the first fight. I figured he would stay in there but I had to try and convince him to trade with me. There was no one point in the fight where he hurt me. He caught me with a good uppercut on the eye and that's why I have my eye closed today."
Barrera, was walked to the ring by junior welterweight and welterweight world champion Ricky Hatton, who was wearing a large Mexican sombrero.
Round 1 started with a loud chant of "Rocky, Rocky" which was interesting considering the fight was being held on Mexican Independence Day with the majority of the crowd supporting Barrera. It was a jabbing start from both men with some nice uppercuts from Barrera. "You're giving him too much respect," trainer Ray Ontiveros told Juarez.
Barrera, in dark green trunks, was jabbing and moving to his left in round 2, using some crisp combinations. The 32 year-old was keeping out of range and making Juarez, in black trunks, miss by wide margins. The older boxer was moving well on his legs. In round 3, Barrera was moving left and right to make Juarez miss. It was a slow start from Juarez. A right hand from Juarez and Barrera responded with two left uppercuts, his back on the ring ropes. Juarez was trying to maul Barrera, but with his green shoes matching his green gloves precisely, he jabbed nicely keeping him at bay. Juarez had his best round so far, but Barrera was more accurate with his combinations.
The 2000 Olympic Silver medalist from Houston, USA tried to work his way in on the inside in round 4, but Barrera tied him up. Juarez landed a strong right hand and a nice left hook before the bell. A straight right hand from Juarez opened round 5 and Barrera was slowing up somewhat and standing flat-footed. A left hook to the body from Barrera reminded Juarez he was still there as the shorter boxer kept working on the inside and landed a left uppercut. A right hand followed as Barrera walked forward.
Juarez worked on Barrera on the ropes in round 6, but the champion spun him around and fired to the body. The fight had a much slower pace than their first encounter. Barrera opened up with his jab and right hand. Juarez trapped Barrera in the corner in round 7 and landed a strong right hand. Barrera gets away from him and settles the exchange with his left hook. A right hand from Juarez prompts Barrera to hold out his chin and offer it to Juarez. Barrera jabs well while moving to his left. Juarez tries to push Barrera onto the ropes, but the Mexican ties him up expertly.
In round 8, Juarez came out chasing, as Barrera bounced up on his toes from side to side. Juarez' right eye was swollen from the repeating Barrera left jab. A left uppercut from Barrera lands. Juarez is giving the master too much room to work in. Juarez holds out his hands in frustration as Barrera out-boxes him on the outside. Barrera is simply jabbing him out of the fight. Juarez tries to close the distance in round 9. Barrera uses his uppercut and side to side movement to make it hard for him to be hit. There are more and more boos from the crowd as Barrera is so precise and one sided that it is becoming boring. There is some better work from Juarez on the inside as he lands a series of punches.
Barrera is jabbing some more in round 10. Juarez tries to rush in and pushes Barrera onto the ropes, but again he is spun around. A straight right and left hook land, Barrera pulling out all of the punches when he needs them to keep Juarez off. Barrera looks so cool and unruffled in his corner that it appears he has just been shadow boxing.
Barrera is not moving so much in round 11, but still controlling the fight in close.
He circles to the left and jabs some more, stopping Juarez from landing. There is much of the same in round 12, Barrera jabbing and moving strongly forward to the final bell.
"He kept a good jab out there," said Juarez. "He started pretty good. Every time he threw a jab, he kept retreating. Just the same as the first fight, but I wasn't able to land better shots. When I worked my way inside, he didn't try and trade with me. He just smothered me and waited for the referee to separate us."
Judges scored the fight unanimously for Barrera 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113. This writer had Barrera winning 117-111.
Barrera, who has won six world titles in three weight classes, announced that 2007 would be his last year in the ring.
"Next year I want to say, 'bye, bye' because my son told me 'daddy, I need more time with you at home', so I say, 'OK,'" he explained.
Pushed to nominate the biggest fight for him to finish his career on next year, Barrera didn't have to think long to confirm it was Manny Pacquiao, who stopped him by 11th round TKO in November 2003
"For me, it is a fight again with Manny Pacquiao," he replied. "Now, he is the best fight and he throws many punches and is very fast."