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GorDoom
09-13-2006, 12:22 PM
Barrera/Juarez II: the Desert Showdown
by David A. Avila from Sweet Science

It’s sunset for the old gunfighter Marco Antonio Barrera as he faces the itchy-trigger finger youngster Rocky Juarez who’s anxious to push the veteran off the pedestal.

For the second time in four months, Mexico City’s Barrera will meet Houston’s Juarez (25-2, 18 KOs) for the WBC junior lightweight title, but this time in Las Vegas. The fight card promoted by Golden Boy Promotions will be shown live on Saturday on HBO pay-per-view.

In their first meeting, Barrera’s experience in world title fights and before large crowds proved to be the edge in beating off Juarez’s strength and youth.

“He’s very aggressive,” said Barrera (62-4, 42 KOs). “He deserved to get a rematch.”

Despite jumping out to a quick lead, Barrera found himself taking more punches than he had in years. The bout ended in a split-decision win for the bloodied and battered Barrera, but only after discovering that one of the scorekeepers miscalculated one of the three scorecards.

“I thought I won the fight,” said Juarez, 26, but during the bout that took place on May 20, his trainer advised him he needed a knockout to win. “I know what I can do this time.”

Those familiar with Barrera know that the veteran prizefighter who’s captured world titles in three different weight divisions always improves the second time around. There was the technical knockout loss to Junior Jones that saw the rematch end up in a much closer fight. Then came the first classic bout with Tijuana’s Erik Morales in 2000 that became one of the greatest in boxing history. But the two subsequent rematches in 2002 and 2004 resulted in relatively easy wins for Barrera.

“I’m working on some things in the mountains near where I live,” said Barrera, 32, who for years trained in Big Bear Lake with his team of Japanese prizefighters. “I will be better prepared.”

Juarez has been chasing the big fight for years since winning the silver medal in the 2000 Olympics in Australia. Though he’s lost his last two of his last four fights, he’s gained an arena full of experience.

“I know he can fight kind of dirty,” said Juarez, who is promoted by Main Events. “Barrera had more experience than me, that was the difference the first time. Now I know what he brings.”

Texas has always developed fighters with that gunfighter mentality – boxers who love to trade knockout punches like so many bullets. They’re always eager to step outside to see who’s quicker on the draw or able to take it to the chin.

Back in the 1980s there were Texans like the Canizales brothers Orlando and Gaby, the Ayala brothers Tony and Mike, followed by marauding bombers like Jesus Chavez, Paulie Ayala and Juan Diaz.

Texans love to fight.

But who says Mexico City prizefighters are any easier?

Today a handful of boxers from the Mexican capital own world titles in various divisions straddle the top levels of boxing. Aside from Barrera there’s Juan Manuel Marquez, his little brother Rafael Marquez, Israel Vazquez, Martin Castillo, Martin Honorio, Jhonny Gonzalez, and new flyweight titleholder Omar Nino.

That’s a lot of talent from one city but there are more than 20 million people living in “Distrito Federal.”

“The last time I traveled to Mexico City I must have seen about five street fights when I was driving around,” said Raul Garcia, a boxing fan and salesman. “And they don’t fight wildly, they throw combinations.”

The master gunfighter

At the age of 15 Barrera began fighting professionally in Mexico City. Though his parents were middle class, a rare sight in Mexico, the fighter known as the “Baby-Faced Assassin” was challenging boxers from the roughest parts of Mexico City.

“I told my parents that I wanted to try it,” said Barrera, whose parents are involved in the motion picture industry. “After a while it was in my blood.”

After three years fighting in the Mexican capital, he was discovered by California boxing promoters and signed to move north to Los Angeles. He quickly became a crowd favorite with his take-no-prisoners style at the Inglewood Forum. In 1995 he captured his first title against Daniel Jimenez at the Arrowhead Pond. Since then it’s been one challenge after another against some of the greatest fighters in the last 17 years such as Kennedy McKinney, Naseem Hamed, Johnny Tapia, Manny Pacquiao and others.

Barrera had endured punches and all-out wars with some of the best prizefighters in the world. Often his fights were bloody enough to make grown men squeamish. But after the fetching war with Morales in 2000, he changed his style and integrated more boxing. He began using skills no one knew he had.

Today the Mexico City gladiator fights more with his head, as he did against Hamed in 2001 who was the much more powerful slugger. In that fight, Barrera gave him a boxing lesson and baffled the hard-hitting British bomber.

Juarez was barely nine years old when Barrera first entered the professional ranks.

“It was exciting when I first learned I was going to fight the great Marco Antonio Barrera,” said Juarez. “But now that we’ve fought, he’s just another fighter to me. Now it’s my turn.”

Barrera is known as one of the top three or four prizefighters in the world and considered by many a master at his craft.

“Barrera is very smart,” said Freddie Roach, trainer of Pacquiao who beat him three years ago. “He never does the same thing twice. He’s very crafty.”

Nonetheless, Juarez believes he can beat Barrera to the draw and take the world title.

“I’ve been working hard all my life for this,” Juarez said. “It’s time now.”

GorDoom
09-13-2006, 12:24 PM
Rocky Returns
by Patrick Kehoe from Sweet Science

In life, as in championship boxing, those brimming with ambition make sure they surge mightily at the nexus points where opportunity taken imprints fate in their likeness. Aspire though he did with his stoic power hitting, Rocky Juarez knows that while battling Mexican featherweight legend Marco Antonio Barrera he didn’t do everything required to make absolutely sure he was the better man on the night of May 20, 2006 at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California. That much Juarez freely admits. The mathematics of the fight left the matter unproven, as the announced draw was recalculated 20 minutes later into a decision and championship defending win for Barrera. Fighting legends doesn’t leave the aspirations of hungry men much room for luck; that lesson Juarez learned gloveless in his locker room, the career logistics of a draw being rationalized by trainer Ray Ontiveros and manager Shelly Finkel to the disappointed Texan.

No wonder Rocky speaks of the need to “start off quicker and take a bigger risks,” not that he didn’t know that the first time he fought Barrera. And Juarez certainly understands that the predicate to his promoters Main Events being able to negotiate a lighting quick turnaround rematch with Barrera has everything to do with their first fight being an embarrassment to MAB.

“One thing you learn in this profession is that losing makes you take two or three steps back.” Unless the loss has much to do with accounting for the actual empirical data accounted for and unaccounted for! Even late in a champion’s career, the tidal forces that make constant his or her standing depend on the currents of perception. A lot of people at ringside and watching on HBO thought that Juarez had done enough straight ahead power hitting and enacted sufficient effective aggressiveness to be awarded a victory. Nevertheless, Juarez is willing to concede that though he may have gained ground inside the head of Barrera, outside in the sometimes real world he’s still got quite a hurdle to clear if he wants to prove his superiority in the ring with the great Barrera. He also knows that he bruised the pride of Barrera – the current pride of Mexican boxing – and Barrera was effectively honor bound, if not promotionally compelled to lance the boldness of Juarez and the very idea that Barrera has any real unfinished business other than with Manny Pacquiao.

“I feel I have to beat him decisively the second time,” Juarez stating the obvious as intention. “I left the fight in the judges’ hands and… I was very disappointed… the key is to make him fight… force the exchanges.” The gallant Texan understands fully that countless fighters have tried to do just that – force the issue with Barrera – only to be boxed into near oblivion. Team Juarez leaned in the first fight that the challenger’s strength was a mitigating factor for Barrera. Tactically, they also realize that Juarez showed the champion perhaps undue respect during the critical early rounds of the fight; an assumption born out by the melodramatics of the post-fight re-tabulation.

“I have never doubted my ability… he’s a great fighter, a great champion, but I have to think he’s just another fighter and another opponent.” The age old transposing of the champion into mere opponent of the moment was a task that Juarez and his team understand was too long in the realization for Juarez. You get the feeling now that Juarez has gone one better than putting Barrera into a manageable mental framework. Having fought on equal terms, and in some estimations, more than equal terms with Barrera, Juarez readily asserts is own notions of eclipsing eminence.

“Barrera was given a gift… I believe he was in excellent shape for the fight and he certainly didn’t overlook me the first time… he knows he was in good shape and I know he was in good shape… I learned the inside style of fighting and I also learned how he rests.”

The would-be king of the featherweights might well have said, “I also learned when he rests.” Yes, we understand the implication of this confident assertion; the subtle secrets between champion and challenger have been revealed along with formidable strengths and undeclared liabilities. “I know I really have to make Barrera fight, fight when he doesn’t want to fight, and to do that I will have to get in more shots, maybe take some more risks punching earlier than I did in the first fight… and that’s going to make him fight back too ‘cause he’ll have to respond.”

Indeed, Team Juarez felt that the signs of Barrera’s storied career were to be found in his ability to avoid punches that would have reached most other fighters and in the fact that Barrera was not the stronger fighter down the stretch. Certainly, a paradox worthy of further gloved experimentation. To that vine they cling for added inspiration and informing evidence. Remember how the issue of which brand of gloves the fighters would wear dominated the last week of media coverage before their first fight? Juarez can only laugh at how much of a non-issue ‘glove-gate’ turned out to be. For in his mind, the critical opening frames during which he chose to box and punch selectively was the difference between allowing for the possibility of Barrera winning and securing the championship on his own merit, straight up with aplomb.

It isn’t in Rocky Juarez’s makeup to talk trash making outrageous statements as to his unmatched talent. We don’t have to listen to him rip the skin of decency or denounce his sport for the sake of taking his ego out for a very public examination, under the scrutiny of the world’s media. Yet the challenger has his designs and the confidence of knowing he’s unsettled, if not officially unseated, the champion, virtually catapulting him forward toward Saturday night’s championship rematch.

“Before the first fight I saw the belt around my waist… I could see it there… I reached over and touched it… for a second.” Interesting how something that didn’t happen is neither a dream denied nor irresponsible imagining. “It’s about getting the opportunity of getting the fight against a great champion; it’s about being champion of the world… I imagine myself in the middle of the ring as the next WBC champion of the world.” We all know that if you cannot picture yourself, as you will be in the near term future, then the short term future is not yours for the making. Apparently, Rocky has had a vision.

Determination must find activism in best practice, and in his own intuitive way Juarez understands the task of making his fighting effective against the adaptive sophistication of Marco Antonio Barrera’s operatic talents. “I am going to fight the best style possible to win and I am going to have to adapt, while being aggressive and getting in my big shots… because Barrera will want to land some,” Juarez almost recites for those who are ready to listen. The logic of fashioning reprisals in kind has forever been the essence of Marco Antonio Barrera under fire, his championship standing under siege. And Rocky Juarez wants nothing better than to see Barrera having to make a good old fashioned fight out of their rematch.

“But he got exhausted at the end… I just started late… he was surprised I was just as strong as him, then stronger… He knows he’s going to have to take some big risks, if he wants to stay with me in the middle of the ring and exchange punches… with the first fight, with the result, he might have felt like he really lost.”

Even Rocky Juarez – it seems – has some time for a sprinkling of bravado; he knows he fought well and gave the champion, the great Barrera, a night he’ll never forget. The real trick is making Barrera’s greatness ebb for a second time, making him mortal and then vulnerable. That’s going to take some doing; it might require finding a dimension of his professionalism he’s never given us reason to believe exists. But then again, when you dare to take the place of a legend you are promising to make good on second chances for becoming something akin to a second coming. Expectation is the pressure gauge of desire. How will Rocky handle all of this misfortune reversed, revised for his determining?

With Barrera slightly wounded and dangerous fighting for his reputation, what will Rocky make of this his second chance at greatness, this dangerous moment in time?

GorDoom
09-13-2006, 12:29 PM
Rocky Juarez: Cowboy from Hell
By Jim Cawkwell from Boxing Scene

Losing a crossroads bout to Humberto Soto did not lessen the enthusiasm towards Rocky Juarez’s explosive potential as he slid under the radar for his title shot against Marco Antonio Barrera. Meanwhile, Soto, the logical, ranked challenger still awaits his chance. Juarez did Houston, Texas proud in a fight he actually lost; except, whether it was incompetence, or that Golden Boy Promotions has yet to perfect the promoter’s sleight of hand, a draw became a Barrera win on live television. Controversy reigned. Now they return to set it aside.

“Domination,” “A New Level,” “Strength beyond Strength,” or even, “Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit”; if Rocky Juarez has a soundtrack for the preparation of his rematch with Barrera, it probably sounds a lot like Pantera. And if Juarez is to dethrone this particular Mexican legend, his anthem can be the one that accompanies us through this piece: “Cowboy from Hell.”

“Under the lights where we stand tall,
Nobody touches us at all.”

Few have stood taller than Barrera. Mexicans will not speak of an heir apparent to the great Julio Cesar Chavez, though if they did, Barrera might be the prime candidate. A rare legacy full of passionate rivalries, bitter defeats, and numerous career resurrections leading to glorious victories carried Barrera to the ring to face Juarez. It was a collision of instinct honed through a lifetime of battles versus the unparalleled hunger of a young fighter searching for the start of his own legend.

“Showdown, shootout; spread fear within, without.”

Shockingly, the usually resolute under fire champion retreated from the challenger’s power and sought to fight at range. Promoter Oscar de la Hoya proved that he still has a few lessons to learn in the bullshit department as he blamed Barrera’s uncharacteristically hesitant performance on an ill-fitting mouthpiece. If anything, Juarez’s consistent pounding of Barrera’s face was a catalyst for Barrera’s gum and shield becoming better acquainted.

Of course, De La Hoya’s excuses were the weakest since Manny Pacquiao insisted that he could not reach optimum performance against Juan Manuel Marquez because he was wearing the wrong socks. Sometimes, no matter how talented, a fighter enters a weight in which he is simply out of his depth, and that’s how Barrera looked against Juarez.

“We’re gonna take what’s ours to have
Spread the word throughout the land.”

It’s difficult to control your emotions when you’re watching something groundbreaking unfold before you. There was sorrow for Erik Morales as he knelt over, forlorn and finally broken by Pacquiao’s speed and power, but not before the exhilaration of witnessing Pacquiao achieve the unprecedented.

What Juarez lost in points on the scorecard, he more than gained in the esteem of those that saw him physically dominate Barrera. The appearance of impropriety in the subsequent conversion of Juarez’s draw with a legend into a loss galvanized Juarez as the sympathetic figure and true winner of the fight’s drama.

Substituting for Jesus Chavez, Juarez was not expected to be the potential roadblock he has become. With a Pacquiao rematch rooted in his heart and De La Hoya at ringside during the fight with Juan Manuel Marquez - a subsequent Golden Boy acquisition - Barrera’s future was full of marquee possibilities. If it is to remain so, he must be the Barrera of old, not an old Barrera.

“You see us comin,’
And you altogether run for cover.
We’re takin’ over this town.”

This time it’s the MGM Grand where Barrera is yet to lose a fight. The headliner is the showpiece of a monstrous fight card including: Israel Vazquez vs. Jhonny Gonzalez plus Jorge Barrios vs. Joan Guzman.

Before a partisan Los Angeles crowd, Juarez claimed a moral victory; however, regardless of the audience, anything less than a career best performance will not be enough to unseat a champion who has proven evermore dangerous with his back to the wall.

“Here we come reach for your gun,
And you better listen my friend.”

Juarez expects that serving twelve rounds against Barrera will provide a greater insight into overcoming him in the rematch. But the champion reinvents the steel like no other. When necessary, Barrera will stand with Juarez, defying logic round after brutal round, or toy with him behind a masterful jab. The question is whether or not Juarez can live in that environment.

“Ain’t talking no tall tales friend.”

Hopefully, by the time of the fight, De la Hoya will see to it that Barrera’s mouthpiece matches specifications, and just for insurance, ensure that his dressing room is laid out in harmonious Feng Shui. Seriously, there should be no excuses; however, there is the rumor that Juarez will not be allowed to wear Reyes gloves - notoriously suited to heavy hitters - into the ring.

We’ve seen these glove controversies before; some take them with a pinch of salt; others laud their significance. Both fighters wore Reyes gloves last time, and the destructive effects of Juarez’s punches told on Barrera very early in the fight while Juarez himself appeared unscathed in comparison.

Of course, Barrera hits hard, but if his strategy is based on using his craft to out-box Juarez, increased padding will not hinder him; whereas, Juarez’ plans - based on his power - will suffer. If that scenario occurs, then Barrera awarding Juarez the immediate rematch no longer seems like such a noble gesture.

“So out of the darkness and into the light,
Sparks fly everywhere in sight.”

The first fight established Juarez as a legitimate threat. Now, everything is at stake for both fighters. Saturday night could represent the death throes of Barrera’s career, or the night we realized that Juarez was just a nearly man on the fortuitous end of one bad night in the life of a legend.

Whichever man is to be vindicated, they’ll have to go through hell to earn it. Many expect Barrera’s skill to neutralize Juarez; but with his pride in the balance, expect Barrera to try and produce a hybrid masterpiece of guile and aggression.

Choosing against Barrera is ill-advised anytime, especially when he feels he has a point to prove. However, I’m going to do so in this case, not because Juarez is a better fighter, or that he deserves vengeance after suffering a bad decision. But because it’s time.

Having spent more than half his life as a professional prizefighter, Barrera has proven that he will not go out on someone else’s terms; he’ll have to be put out on his shield. The tide is turning. Gatti, Vargas, and Morales have all fallen this year. Like them, Barrera must make way for a new breed.

Barrera has seen so many wars and has nothing more to prove. The spirit and passion he exhibited through the years seemed boundless, but we know that, sooner or later, the day will arrive when he cannot muster another miracle. I say sooner.

Why?

“‘Cause high noon, your doom,
Comin’ for you, the Cowboy from Hell.”

HE Grant
09-14-2006, 11:21 AM
I say Barrera has another good one left in him. I believe he took Juarez light and was not in the best condition. I believe that even at this stage of the game Barrera is a level above him.

I like Rocky. He's gutty and he can hit. I just feel his speed and seemingly laid back attitude don't measure up to the top world class level of a Barrera. I like Marco by a clear decision over a game but outclassed Juarez.

Sharkey
09-14-2006, 12:10 PM
Juarez needs to avoid pulling a LaPorte and throw some punches. I'm guessing he won't throw many combos, follow MAB around, and lose. Perhaps this time he will actually be beaten.

I'd like to see some urgency from Juarez..... MAB may put a clinic on him, but Barrera is no longer the defensive whiz with the solid pins of his prime. This fight is all about Juarez and what he brings to the table IMO.

GorDoom
09-14-2006, 12:53 PM
Juarez Already Missed His Chance
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by TK Stewart

Everybody asks me, and I tell them that Rocky Juarez doesn’t have much of a chance this weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas when he takes on Marco Antonio Barrera for the second time. Juarez’ best chance for a victory against Barrera was back in May in Los Angeles when the California State Athletic Commission was adding up the scorecards.

In that fight, Barrera was the overwhelming consensus choice and he may have taken Juarez lightly. The fight was initially declared a draw and then later changed to a split-decision victory for Barrera when a scorecard error was discovered. The second time around, Juarez is not going to be the lucky benefactor of facing a Barrera that is less than his best or having a commission that is arithmetically challenged.

Barrera, “The Baby Faced Assassin”, with a hall of fame career record of 62-4 (42)KO, 1NC turned pro at the pubescent age of 15 in a dusty Mexico ring. From all accounts, Barrera has trained like a man possessed and says he is going to show up in much better mental and physical condition for this fight. Barrera had this to say last week during a press tour: “I feel I have to take the fight to take away any doubts about the first fight. I have no choice but to fight hard and I’m not going to leave any doubts. I’m facing a young hungry fighter, but I’m going to go in and win. I haven’t felt this way in years.”

Look for Juarez to fight at least as well as he did the first time, but my hunch is that Rocky Juarez will not fight a better fight. The difference in the first bout was the fact that Barrera was gassed after five rounds and he allowed Juarez to unload that sneaky left hook to the chin while they were on the inside. When Barrera was up on his toes and moving in the center of the ring he dominated with his left jab and he peppered Juarez time after time with his piston-like left hand.

Juarez, for his part, says he knows what he did wrong in the first fight. “I have an example of how to fight him already. I’ve been in the ring with him. We’ll be cautious, but we also know we have to take bigger risks and throw more shots to outwork him and do what we need to do to get the victory.”

Rocky Juarez, 25-2 (18)KO has always had a flaw of waiting too long in fights. Juarez is too patient and often times downright passive and he has just never let his hands go enough in his professional career. It is Juarez’ most serious stylistic flaw. Juarez had Barrera in serious trouble on numerous occasions the first time around and it’s doubtful that he will have those same opportunities Saturday night. If Rocky had just let his hands go and really applied some pressure and mixed in some bodyshots in that first fight he very well may have taken Barrera to the cleaners. Seemingly, Barrera is always better in rematches or when he has something to prove. Look for Barrera to come away from this fight with a wide decision victory or perhaps even a late round stoppage.

Pretty Risky

Everybody asks me, and I tell them that I don’t think Carlos “Tata” Baldomir has much of a shot against “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather in November. I was as guilty as you in thinking that since Baldomir also beat Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti that he may really be able to give Mayweather a run for his money. Although Baldomir is a wonderful character with a touching story and is easy to root for - he just isn’t in the same galaxy as Floyd Mayweather when it comes to skills.

While Baldomir, the true welterweight champion at 43-9-6 (13)KO, is no doubt the larger man physically and is probably stronger than Mayweather at 36-0 (24)KO it must be said (and regrettably so) that Mayweather is light years ahead of Baldomir when it comes to the fundamentals of boxing. Floyd rarely gets tagged with so much as a combination and he could be the best defensive fighter in boxing in addition to all of his other talents.

Floyd is undoubtedly the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet and he also is never one to mince words. Floyd had this to say last week in Los Angeles during the press tour: "I'm in the sport to either put you on your ass or put you on your face. This is not a gentleman's sport. This is not golf or tennis - this is boxing - and I'm the best at what I do. I know I'm the best. I'm not here to brag. I'm not here to boast. I ain't gotta’ tell you what I can do.”

Watch again, dear fight fan, the first several rounds of Carlos Baldomir against Zab Judah in the basement of Madison Square Garden. Judah, the best five round fighter since Mike Tyson, was able to totally befuddle Baldomir with subtle movement and a right jab. Baldomir was horribly off balance and was getting painted with stinging shots to the head. Then Zab got hit with a right hand and blamed Don King for it.

I shudder to think at what the gifted Mayweather will be able to do with Baldomir. The promoters are calling this fight “Pretty Risky”. They should be calling it “Pretty Ugly” because that’s how Baldomir is going to look at the end of this one.

Arum Getting His Money Back

Everybody asks me, and I tell them that Bob Arum is feeding the Outdoor Life Network venison and calling it filet mignon. Boxing fans are already complaining about the quality of Arum’s dishes on the OLN (what did you expect, Kelly Pavlik and Brian Viloria on a pheasant hunt?) and the lack of compelling match-ups. Arum is reportedly being paid $250,000 per episode and so far he’s served up matches that are from the ESPN or Telefutura soup line . The main courses have featured Kelly Pavlik and Brian Viloria and on the menu Thursday night is “Kid Diamond” facing Jairo Ramirez for something called the NABF “Interim” Lightweight title.

For the end of the month entree, Arum gets out the leftovers when he feeds the horribly used-up, 39 year-old former featherweight titlist Kevin “The Flushing Flash” Kelley to former junior lightweight titlist Carlos “El Famoso” Hernandez who is no spring chicken cordon bleu at age 35. Somebody in a state athletic commission needs to get off the pot and flush the toilet on Kelley’s boxing career.

For $250,000 per show, Arum should be making better fights, but how else should we expect him to make back the million dollars he lost on the Maskaev vs. Rahman II pay-per screw?

TK Stewart is a 2005 Boxing Writers Association of America Barney Award winner. TK is also an active member on this board.

GorDoom
09-14-2006, 01:07 PM
Barrera–Juarez: A Worthy Pay-Per-View
By Matthew Hurley from Boxing Scene

I officially closed the summer this past Saturday night at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts completely and utterly entranced by Roger Waters performing Dark Side of the Moon beneath a clear sky and a full moon. When the concert was over the looming dread of another miserable Boston winter grabbed me for a moment and then I remembered that there are several terrific boxing shows upcoming and I perked up as I drove home. One of the best cards is this weekend’s rematch between Marco Antonio Barrera and Rocky Juarez. From top to bottom this is a solid pay per view event – something boxing fans rarely get.

Along with the Barrera – Juarez rematch we have WBC junior featherweight titlist Israel Vazquez against WBO bantamweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez and WBO junior lightweight champion Jorge Barrios against Joan Guzman. It’s rare that the under card of a major championship bout is as intriguing as this. Both fights should prove to be entertaining.

But it’s the main event that really has boxing fans buzzing, mainly because the first fight was such an evenly contested battle with yet another dubious decision ending. No one truly had any problem with the bout being ruled a draw. Indeed most boxing scribes and fans either had it one or two points one way or the other or, as I did a draw. Barrera, ever the gentleman, nodded in agreement with the decision. Juarez, disappointed that he didn’t get the nod, acknowledged both his own effort and his rival and seemed ok with the verdict.

It was only later, when the ruling was changed to a victory for Barrera because of an “error in adding up the scorecards”, did Juarez lose his cool. But even then, the even keeled Juarez didn’t storm off like Winky Wright after his draw with Jermain Taylor. He simply met with the media and quietly asserted his belief that he won and that at the very least he deserved a rematch.

Barrera, prideful but always dignified, agreed with his young opponent. “He fought a great fight. We looked at what was open to us, what was best for us and decided that the fight was so close and good that we should have the rematch. He deserves it and I know that I can improve on my performance.”

Juarez has maintained that stoic quality throughout the build up for the rematch but his excitement at getting a second opportunity does escape him from time to time, albeit quietly. “I can beat myself up over what I should have done in the first fight,” he says, with a slight shrug. “But I think I learned so much about him and myself in that fight that I’ll be even better. That fight made me realize that I belong with the best out there. I know I should have turned it on sooner but I had too much respect for Barrera. I should have taken more risks than I did, but I thought I had to be careful.”

Juarez’s confidence in himself during the fight heightened in the bout’s second half but in retrospect, and after having viewed the tape, he feels he earned Barrera’s respect much earlier. “I believe I caught him with a good right hand in the first round and from there he got very cautious. But he’s Barrera. I still had that in my mind. It wasn’t until later that I realized I was just as good. I should have taken those risks earlier. My confidence is totally there now. I won’t be hesitant because I know now that I can take those risks.”

Barrera has seen and heard all this before. But one of the hallmarks of his greatness as a fighter is that he doesn’t underestimate opponents. He may have been caught a little off guard by Juarez considering that Rocky was a substitute for the injured Jesus Chavez or, and Barrera acknowledges that the day will come, he may be slowing down.

“Retirement is obviously coming,” he says with a smile, “but not this year. One bad performance and the press just writes me off. You did it after I lost to Pacquiao. You did it way back when I lost to Junior Jones. It doesn’t bother me. My mind is completely focused on Juarez. There may be other fights out there but I’m focused on this one.”

That other fight out there is obviously a rematch with Manny Pacquiao who stopped Barrera in the 11th round back in November of 2003. Pacquiao is scheduled to fight a rubber match with Erik Morales, Barrera’s other nemesis, in November of this year. The winners of these two fights, Barrera – Juarez and Morales – Pacquiao, will probably meet sometime around April of next year. At least that’s the way it should work out. In boxing the only certainty is that nothing is certain at all.

“I would love to fight Manny again,” Barrera says. But he then adds, “I’ll be rooting for Morales. He’s Mexican.”

Although he maintains a high respect for Morales as a fighter he finds his Tijuana counterpart arrogant and dislikes him. “We’re not friendly. I respect him as an excellent boxer, as a warrior, but as a person I don’t understand him.”

Barrera’s Mexican pride precedes his own sense of fistic self-evaluation. In regards to his place in the Mexican pantheon of fighters Barrera is again quick to acknowledge others. “All of them, from Carlos Zarate, Ruben Olivares, Miguel Canto and Pipino Cuevas were great. Of course Julio Ceasar Chavez was probably the biggest. I grew up watching him. I would place myself behind all of them.”

Regardless of whether he wins his rematch with Juarez his humble nature will not keep him from standing alongside, not behind, those fighters in the boxing hall of fame when he ends his illustrious career. His credentials are already written in stone. And for Rocky Juarez a second chance to not only prove he belongs in the ring with Marco Antonio Barrera but to prove that he can beat him makes for a great pay per view event this Saturday night.

GorDoom
09-14-2006, 01:27 PM
Barrera’s Rematch with Juarez is a Risk, but not as Risky as Vazquez-Gonzalez and Barrios-Guzman
By Doug Fischer from Max Boxing

Even fight fans who thought Marco Antonio Barrera clearly won his WBC 130-pound title bout with Rocky Juarez this past May understand that the grueling 12-round fight was a clear indication that the 17-year veteran is nearing the end of what most observers would call a great career.

Although Barrera boxed well over the first hall of the bout and boldly stood his ground with the younger, stronger challenger during the hotly contested late rounds of the bout, the proud Mexican’s face had the battered look of an aging champ at the end of the 12th round.

Barrera, who retained his WBC title by majority decision (after the bout was originally announced a draw) that night in Los Angeles, has recently stated on record that 2007 will be his last year as an active fighter.

So given the fact that Barrera will only fight a few more times before hanging up his gloves for good (and probably only has one or two more ring wars – if that – left in his battle-worn body) even fans who thought Juarez won four months ago would have excused the three-division champ for by-passing a rematch with the young Texan in favor of a showdown with one – or both – of his rivals, Manny Pacquiao and Erik Morales, next year in what would surely be record-breaking money fights.

However, Barrera is not taking the rest of the year off. He’s not avoiding Juarez in order to save himself for a “cash-out” fight with the PacMan or El Terrible. In a refreshing act of confidence and professionalism, Barrera is facing Juarez, 25-2 (18), in a rematch this Saturday (HBO Pay-Per-View 9 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Barrera, 62-4 (42), is behaving like a real champion in an age where elite boxers are EXPECTED to act more like managers than fighters. Barrera chose manhood over money; pride over politics.

Make no mistake, although Barrera was his usual classy self during the pre-fight press conferences for the rematch, the 32-year-old veteran is coming into Saturday’s bout with a chip on his shoulder.

“I don’t like that Rocky said that I was helped by the California commission and by the fight being in L.A.,” Barrera said in English at a press conference held at El Paseo restaurant in downtown Los Angeles this past Tuesday.

“Now the fight is in Nevada, so Rocky, no excuses.”

There will be no excuses after the fight and there are no complaints going in. Juarez and his team are just happy to get another crack at Barrera and they give the champ his due respect for agreeing to the rematch.

“Barrera didn’t have to take this fight,” Carl Moretti, VP of Juarez’s promotional company, Main Events, told the media Tuesday. “He could have waited for the Pacquiao-Morales winner.

“His reputation and legacy are solid. He was a hall of fame lock five years ago.”

That’s true.

Although the rematch is a risky bout for Barrera, a loss against Juarez is not going to erase his signature victories over Kennedy McKinney, Morales, and Naseem Hamed along with nine other former title holders. He’s still a first-ballot hall of famer.

The same can’t be said for the four fighters who make up the two co-featured title bouts on Saturday’s quality pay-per-view card brought to you by Golden Boy Promotions.

The 122-pound tilt between The Ring (and the WBC’s) junior featherweight champ Israel Vazquez and the WBO’s bantamweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez, and the WBO 130-pound title fight between belt-holder Jorge Barrios and former WBO 122-pound king Joan Guzman are even matchups between strong, young and hungry world-class fighters (hence the card’s title “Too Close To Call”). These ain’t “gimme” title defenses for the belt holders and the challengers aren’t going up against paper titlists.

These are real fighters in real fights and, unfortunately, two of these guys are going to lose Saturday night (unless we are witness to a very rare occurrence of two title fight draws). They should be lauded in the same manner that Barrera has been for taking such risky fights, but they aren’t as accomplished or well known and we all know that fans are not very forgiving of young fighters who come up short in high-profile bouts.

It isn’t fair to the fighters, but these days one loss can set a promising boxer back an entire year or more – just ask Juarez, who was fighting off TV after losing a competitive fight with Humberto Soto on HBO, or Kermit Cintron, who was practically declared a “stiff” after being overwhelmed by Antonio Margarito last year.

So how did Golden Boy Promotions convince all the parties involved to make Vazquez-Gonzalez and Barrios-Guzman?

“It wasn’t easy,” said Golden Boy’s matchmaker Eric Gomez.

“If I was just dealing with the fighters the fights would have been made in one day. That’s the great thing about this card, the fighters are all confident that they are going to win. It’s incredible.

“However, when making a fight you deal with a lot of people, including foreign promoters, which was the case with Barrios, co-promoters like the Sycuan who promote Vazquez and Guzman with us, and of course managers.

“It’s usually the managers that are the most worried about a fight; not the promoters and certainly not the fighters, who understand that they have to take these kinds of fights to get to the next level in the sport.

“I’ll give you an example: Jhonny Gonzalez told us after his last fight that he can no longer make 118 pounds and he’s been looking for a big fight for the last year or so. It just so happens that Israel Vazquez has also been asking for a big fight, so we thought ‘Why not have them fight each other?’

“When I called Gonzalez’s people they told me Jhonny immediately accepted the fight. He took it without hesitation; money was not even an issue. However, Vazquez’s manager was not interested in the fight at first. But then Gonzalez’s manager began blasting him in the Mexican press and he called Vazquez a chicken, which got his manager angry – angry enough to make the fight and make a $50,000 side bet with Gonzalez’s manger as to who wins the fight.”

However, it generally takes more than macho talk in the press to make a tough fight come together. In the event that both fighters have the same promoter it’s easier to make provisions that ensure that the loser doesn’t get swept under the rug and that was the case with Vazquez-Gonzalez, according to Gomez.

“It wasn’t written into the contract but there’s an understanding that if Vazquez-Gonzalez is a good fight – and I think it has the style matchup of Barrera-Morales when they were at 122 pounds – that there will be a rematch; particularly if Vazquez loses. We also promote WBO 122-pound champ Daniel Ponce DeLeon and he is a future option for whoever loses the Vazquez-Gonzalez fight.

“Ideally, we would like the winner of Vazquez-Gonzalez to face the best out there and we think that’s Rafael Marquez now that he’s stepping up to 122 pounds. We would push very hard for that fight and the ball would be in Marquez’s court.

For the Barrios-Guzman fight, the incentive for the participants and their teams are clearer than the junior featherweights because they occupy the same weight class as the main event fighters.

“Barrios and Guzman know that HBO is watching them and that there’s a future on the network for the winner of their fight,” said Gomez. “Obviously, if Barrera wins he’ll look for a rematch with Manny Pacquiao but if that fight can’t be made for some reason the winner of Barrios-Guzman is a possibility.

“Barrios wants the winner of Barrera-Juarez, but he’s also interested in stepping up to 135 pounds for a rematch with Acelino Freitas, which is a fight that HBO is interested in.

“Guzman also wants the winner, and he’s a fighter that HBO executives have mentioned to me as someone they would like to feature more of.”

Gomez believes the hard work was done in making the two main support bouts for the Barrera-Juarez rematch; future matches involving Vazquez, Gonzalez, Barrios and Guzman should be much easier to make because each fighter will have had more exposure thanks to Saturday’s card and the stakes – and money – of their next bouts will be much higher.

“I know that boxing can be hard on the fighters who lose but sometimes a loss can enhance a fighter’s stature,” Gomez said. “Look at Juarez – he’s living proof of this. His loss to Barrera didn’t hurt him at all because he came to fight and it was a great fight and now he’s getting another chance.

“As long as Saturday’s fights are good ones, none of the fighters will really lose.”

Olympic Auditorium
09-14-2006, 05:21 PM
This time Barrera will be 100%,he will knock out Juarez in 9rds

kikibalt
09-14-2006, 05:35 PM
I think that if there is ko in this fight Juarez will be the one scoring it.

At this point I don't think Barrera can be any better then he was the last time, too many tough wars, too many fights, plus he is not a young puppy.
thats not to say that he can not win, just that Imo he will not be any better this time.

Frank

El_Salsero
09-14-2006, 05:38 PM
Barrera vs Juarez I see Barrera winning a unanimous decision
Barrios vs Guzman Barrios wins by ko
Gonzalez vs Vasquez I can only say foty material 100% guaranteed

ricky
09-14-2006, 08:51 PM
Barrera IMO can be better prepared for Juarez in this fight than he was last time. I agree he's not going to come in with great physical improvments, but I think he will be more informed on what he can and can't do with Juarez to make the fight easier for himself. Juarez on the other hand I feal will be stronger for this fight as well as more aclimated to a big fight atmosphere. He's a young man with desire and thats a dangerous combo for a veteran fighter to deal with. I'm leaning towards Juarez.


But not with any certainty. This fight is a close one and should be a great fight.

The World Championship fight between Israel Vazquez and Jhonny Gonzalez is another great match up of styles. Gonzalez more of the boxer and Vazquez a good pressure figther. If the extra weight doesn't bother Gonzalez I like him in this one. I never heard of him really struggling to make 118 so we'll see come fight night. Vazquez is a strong fighter and a natural at 122. It'll be intresting to see how Gonzalez handles it.

This whole card has all the makings of an action packed night of boxing.

Mexal
09-15-2006, 11:15 AM
I'm hoping that Barrera wins, but I think Rocky will prevail. Too many years fighting and way too many wars for MAB. I think he will come better prepared than last time, but so will Rocky, and I believe Juárez will tag Barrera repeteadly as the fight progresses, prompting a stoppage by the referee. Barrera, as they say, just won't have it in him.

GorDoom
09-15-2006, 11:32 AM
BoxingScene Staff Predictions: Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Rocky Juarez
By Rick Reeno

There are so many instances in the modern day version of the sport where controversial endings are left alone, and rematches are rarely made. Unlike Taylor-Wright 2, De La Hoya-Trinidad 2 or even Barrera-Pacquiao 2, this rematch is actually going to happen.

Saturday night, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., super feather weight champion Marco Antonio Barrera (62-4, 42 KOs) and Rocky Juarez (25-2, 18 KOs), will meet in a rematch to settle the dispute in their previous May meeting which took place in California's Staples Center.

The first meeting did not lack excitement, and unfortunately the excitement was smeared with post-fight controversy. After Barrera started off quick to pile up a decent early lead, he slowly began to fade in the later rounds as Juarez took over the fight. After the end of the final bell, both fighters felt they had the fight won.

Initially the fight was announced as a draw. After the actual live HBO broadcast went off the air, it was revealed to the crowd that two of the judges miscalculated their scores and Barrera was declared the winner by way of split-decision.

The staff of BoxingScene comes together to voice their opinions, strategies and predictions for the big fight.

TK Stewart - The best opportunity Rocky Juarez ever had to defeat Marco Antonio Barrera took place back in May in Los Angeles. Juarez had a Barrera that took the fight lightly and wasn't in top flight mental or physical condition. That was Rocky Juarez' best shot at a victory over Barrera and he let it slip away. As it was, Juarez had all that he could handle with Barrera - and then some. I scored the first fight for Barrera 115-113 and thought that it was the older, not in top shape Barrera that won the final two rounds to eke out the decision victory.

This Saturday night in Las Vegas will be a different story. Barrera always rises to any challenge and he generally has always performed well in rematches. I look for Barrera to be in much better condition and to control Juarez with his exquisite left jab and deft movement. Barrera will be on guard for Juarez' dangerous left hook and will likely avoid the exchanges that he was forced into during the first fight.

Rocky Juarez' professional flaw has always been the fact that he just doesn't let his hands go enough. Juarez had Barrera hurt a few times in the first fight, but he didn't follow up and was just too passive. Juarez let Barrera off the hook and allowed Barrera to fight back. Make no mistake, Juarez is dangerous and he carries his power into the late rounds, but I look for Barrera to put on a boxing clinic to end up sealing a unanimous decision in a fight that will be similar to his victory over Naseem Hamed.

Ron Borges - The question is not about Juarez this time, it's about Barrera. Was he ill-prepared and sick as he claims or has time run out on the great Mexican fighter? Although age and wear-and-tear are a worry the bet here is he still has his pride and enough in the tank to win a decision. Juarez is not likely to be improved over his first fight, although it's possible. It's impossible for Barrera not to be improved unless he's shot.

Marco Antonio Barrera by a hard-fought decision.

Tim Smith - Juarez took a step forward against Barrera in the last fight and I thought he controlled the final few rounds of the fight. Juarez learned his lesson and he'll show Barrera just how much he learned.

Juarez by decision.

Dan Creighton - I have Marco Antonio Barrera winning the fight by way of a knockout in the 7th round.

Rusty Rubin – Rocky Juarez should have been given the nod in the first bout. I have Rocky Juarez winning the rematch by decision.

Dave Wilcox - This might be the end of the road for the proud warrior, Marco Antonio Barrera. The punishment he has sustained over the years, as well as father time will get him Saturday night. Not to mention that Rocky Juarez will be in front of him. Rocky is younger and stronger at this point. I thought he won the first bout and think he will improve on the stellar effort. I look for a bloodied and battered Barrera to make it to the final bell, but he will come up short.

Juarez by split decision.

Joe Harrison - Juraez is a very good fighter, but I think Barrera is a great fighter. One of the best. I know Barrera didn't look great when he fought Juarez before, and some would say that he deserved to lose that night. But this time, I think Barrera will be better prepared, and ready to give Juarez a real boxing lesson.

Barrera by unanimous decision

Ron Gallegos - Rocky really rose to the occasion and caught a flat Barrera in their last fight. The scorecards did not reflect what really happened. Rocky roundly outscored a Barrera who had not properly prepared for the onslaught of the young warrior.

Barrera has been caught flat before and unprepared for an opponent whom he considered not up his standards. Witness his fight with Manny Pacquiao, although for the life of me I can't figure how he would underestimate the Philippine fighter who eventually would beat him at every aspect of his game.

In retrospect, Barrera can come in and illustrate his place as one of Mexico's greatest warriors or he can come in so flat that he in no way resembles the Barrera that is destined to take his place as one of the boxing icons of the era.

This fight will not catch Barrera flat. Rocky has guts, he showed no fear in the first fight. However, the Barrera who entered the ring that night will in no way resemble the terror that will engage Rocky in this second fight.

I look for Barrera in a hard fought unanimous decision.

Paul Gallegos - I was highly disappointed in the first fight--not in the fight itself, but in the scoring. What hell was going on there? Did the judges watch the fight? I firmly believe that Juarez beat Barrera 7-5 in rounds. A draw was a travesty and what ensued after the fight was pure tragedy.

With that said, this fight comes down to which Barrera shows up. Is it going to be the Barrera that gave Morales 36 rounds of hell or is it going to be the Barrera that was beaten on every level against Manny? The left hook of Rocky will command respect as well as control. I think that Rocky will stop the legend on this night, much the same way that Antonio Tarver stopped Roy Jones in their second meeting after a bogus first decision. It must be Staples Center that produces these types of results--only in Hollywood.

Look for Rocky Juarez to score a major upset with a 7th round KO and put a legend to sleep.

Brent Matteo Alderson - This is a tough one. Barrera is a legend and I believe that he's one of the top three or four best fighters in the history of Mexico. I also believe that he over-trained for the last fight and that he came in at a physical and mental low. He had previously been scheduled to fight Jesus Chavez in March and the dates kept on changing until he was finally scheduled to face Juarez in May. The fight was a war, a close competitive fight and I thought a draw would have been just.

Since that time something about Barrera has changed. When I Interviewed him for Ring Magazine last October he said that he wanted to fight a few more years and have six or seven more fights, but recently he stated that he only wants to fight a couple of more times. I think Barrera really took a physical beating in the last fight and that it really took it's toll on his 32 year body. I hate picking against Marco because he's one of my boxing heroes, I was there when he fought McKinney at the Forum and I was there when he fought Morales in 2000, but I think his time has run out and feel like Juarez is going to go in there with more confidence, with less respect and take the fight to Barrera all the way to the end.

I like Juarez by decision or by late round TKO. One thing is for sure, Marco is going out on his shield and he'll fight until he can't fight anymore. Adios Marco y gracias por todo. Eres uno de los mejores.

Mike Indri - Barrera was given all he could handle in the first fight, and somehow managed to leave the Staples Center ring with his world title belt around his waist. Juarez won't give away those early rounds this time, plus has gotten over the fact that he is fighting a boxing legend - and will earn a hard fought victory.

Rocky Juarez defeats Marco Antonio Barrera via Unanimous Decision

Mike Casey - I thought Juarez shaded a strangely sluggish Barrera the first time around, but I certainly didn't want a major argument about it.

I just feel that Rocky had to beat Marco Antonio that night or he wasn't going to beat him at all. Barrera still has ambition and plenty of fire burning in his belly. I think he will be looking to prove his superiority beyond dispute with a thoroughly comprehensive performance.

I believe that is what he will do, laying the foundations with care and then powering through for a stoppage win.

Barrera by TKO in round 9 or 10.

George Phillips – Marco Antonio Barrera will redeem himself in the rematch by scoring a knockout in the 5th round.

JC Casarez - There is no questioning the greatness of Marco Antonio Barrera who was forced to dig deep in order to pull out a razor thin split decision over Rocky Juarez last May. That decision would be a bit tainted by the California commission who originally miscalculated the scores and a draw was announced to the crowd. At that moment I realized that this indeed is a young man’s sport and although I feel that the decision was just I couldn’t help but think that even in defeat Juarez won more night and Marco lost the physical fight.

Rocky Juarez is far from the kid that won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics. He is now a fighter who has shown that he can hold more than his own with any fighter in the world. Now when I mentioned that I thought that Barrera lost the fight I meant that he received the worse end of the physical damage. I expect Rocky to start round 1 of the rematch as if it was round 13 of the first fight. He will look to get inside and land the harder more compact punches. He can’t allow Marco to box on the outside and control the pace of the fight, and I don’t think he will. Work to the body will pay dividends for the Houston native in the 2nd half of the fight. This is something he neglected in their first encounter. I don’t believe Marco’s body can hold up to a fast pace fight this time around.

I have noticed over the last couple of years that for Marco to be successful he must control the tempo and make it a boxing match rather than a slugfest. Rocky will look to make it just that a slugfest. I see Juarez dropping the great Barrera on his way to winning a Unanimous Decision and may even score the stoppage late. Rocky will not be denied and while his Olympic teammates have beat him to winning world titles the time is now for the lone star state’s Rocky Juarez.

Alphonso Costello - It’s easy to discount Marco Antonio Barrera after his sluggish and controversial victory against Rocky Juarez. Barrera’s ability to absorb punishment is declining, but his courage and technical skill cannot be questioned. His boxing skills should carry him to another victory if he stays on the outside and avoids those punishing exchanges. On the contrary, Juarez needs to be aggressive in the early rounds and bang Barrera on the inside. Juarez should win if he uses his strength advantage to brawl with Barrera. If Juarez can make the proper mid fight adjustments and win the war of attrition, he should score a knockout victory over Barrera. Nonetheless, Barrera’s ring savvy, experience and heart will overcome youth and strength.

Marco Antonio Barrera wins another close decision.

Tom Donelson - Their last fight was a tough affair with Barrera eking out a close decision that could have gone either way. With his face busted up, Barrera found a way to keep boxing and moving while taking Juarez’s sledgehammer shots. The keys to victory are simple:

For Barrera to win, he must keep the fight in the middle of the ring and use angles. Juarez has trouble with boxers who give angles. What Barrera must avoid is getting trapped on the rope.

For Juarez to win, he must throw punches. Juarez is accurate, but economic in his punches. His punches pack wallop but against a boxer with activity, he can lose close rounds. That is what happen in the early rounds against Barrera, whose activities build up enough of a lead to be able withstand Juarez’s onslaught down the stretch. When Barrera goes to the rope, Juarez must nail the body and not allow Barrera to escape.

Logic says that Juarez’s youth will prevail in the rematch, but I like Barrera to win. Experience edges out youth.

Larry Tornambe - I think both guys will have something to prove and fight with purpose. Look for an exciting fight and the younger guy getting the win by decision.

Juarez by Decision.

Sammy Rozenberg – Rocky Juarez is going to start better, and end the fight by knockout before the tenth round.

Bradley Yeh - Barrera has consistently shown in rematches he can adapt and improve, and of course there is also his world-class experience that makes it extremely difficult to bet against an operator of Barrera’s ilk. Juraez at 26 years of age may very well be the next big thing coming through the super featherweight ranks, and at times in his last fight with Barrera Juraez certainly looked the part. How much of Juraez’s gloved optimisation in that bout was due to Barrera’s self confessed less than perfect preparation, is anyone’s guess though - but if Juraez shines this weekend we’ll all have something great (Juraez win) and something sad (Barrera loss and possible game exit) to write about.

Youthful frames are very rarely synonymous with experience, and so often in boxing we find ourselves comparing experience against youth, and that’s probably because it takes almost a lifetime to master the craft to expert level. By then the stamina demands of the championship rounds are far better served by a youthful frame - all else being equal that is. This upcoming fight is no exception. Being super critical; Barrera now has a tendency to slow in the latter rounds where his ability to evade punches diminishes.

Who doesn’t slow down when you fight at Barrera’s pace and intensity - maybe Juraez doesn’t.

Juraez doesn’t have anywhere near the experience that Barrera has (no secret there), nor does he have the craftiness that’s often required to pull big close fights off. However Juraez does have a very good foundation, with the great amateur success he enjoyed in Sydney through to his current professional career, which is now bristling with energy and promise. Something that’s not always stated about Juraez is that he also has good power. He threw and landed some heavy artillery in his last fight with Barrera. All up that’s a nice competitive package wrapped up with the youth and hunger that Barrera may now miss in the sunset of his achievements.

Unless you think Rocky’s corner are playing for an early stoppage against the Mexican gunslinger, the Juraez team surely will look to maintain position early and come down through the late rounds very hard and seek to test Barrera’s aging stamina. Problem is; Barrera knows that’s their most likely plan, as Barrera started punching for money when he was 15 years old and he is 32 years young now - 32 is not old.

The story can so easily be re-written with an ending that favors either combatant. With the caveat that Barrera comes into the fight in excellent condition, (recalling my last incorrect Toney prediction); Cautiously, I like Barrera to take this one.

James Blears - Not prepared to put the work in anymore:

A glittering but long career has blunted Marco’s work ethic. To be the best, you’ve got to possess the natural gift of talent. But to utilize this to the full, you’ve also got to peak physically.

Marco skipped his normal training routine habit of pushing and punishing his body through high altitude camp at Big Bear, prior to the last clash with Rocky Juarez, and I still believe he lost that fight.

Unabashed he’s again incredibly shunned ultra high altitude training at Big Bear, and stayed put in his superb gym in Mexico City.

For an aging fighter like Marco who walks around comfortably at Mexico City’s three thousand meters altitude, this is just NOT good enough. He’s denying himself the boost to his red blood cell count, lung capacity and heart rate. It smacks of complacency and it’s plain foolish.

Rocky is younger, hungrier and realizes that he can defeat Marco if he forces a high tempo, demanding a unrelenting punch output. It’s then that Marco will be wishing he’d not remained within a comfort zone.

Erik Morales also avoided the ardor or high altitude training before his second fight with Manny Pacquiao and he paid the price, lacking sharpness and tiring badly, and getting clobbered. He’s going back to the wilderness close to the stars and skies on September 20th. At least he’s learned his lesson.

I feel the same physical meltdown will happen to Marco. I think he’ll run out of steam, somewhere past the eighth round and get stopped. By then it’ll be too late to reflect on a mistake that was made…and then repeated.

Eric Rineer - I just hope the end of this fight isn't marked with controversy like the first time around. Look, you've got a legend in Marco Antonio Barrera who somehow amazingly is still one of the top fighters in his weight class. He has proven time and time again that he is a true warrior. He is a hero in his country and that sets his heart on fire every time he climbs into the ring. He never underestimates his opposition. No matter what happens on Saturday night, Barrera is certain to be cemented as one of the greatest Mexican fighters who ever lived. I don't think he will win the rematch to the younger and highly motivated Rocky Juarez, but he will make it a great fight. I look for Juarez to edge Barrera in a close but unanimous decision. And I look forward to watching this legend, Barrera, lace up his gloves in one of the final chapters of his brilliant career.

Terence Dooley - I go for Barrera on points only by a wider margin. Last time he won clearly but closely yet it was a win nonetheless and Juarez did not warrant an immediate rematch.

Regardless, Barrera will have learnt from the last fight and if Juarez was going to get Barrera’s scalp he would have done so the last time out. Barrera did enough in many of the rounds and out-boxed Juarez at time by using his jab and experience, that jab and the experience will not vanish into the ether, so much relies on how Juarez adapts.

If Juarez hurt Marco in the last fight I will expect Marco to box conservatively throughout, on the other hand Barrera may feel that he can drop bombs on Juarez and bring about an exciting battle. In terms of the pitch of the battle Marco should settle the issue by boxing cautiously for the first few rounds before putting his plan into place. Juarez needs to hustle Marco and bust him up early on to avoid Marco stealing the later rounds.

Either way Marco by UD is the pick for me.

Jim Cawkwell - Rocky Juarez lost the first fight by two points so there can be no argument over Marco Antonio Barrera being a deserved winner. The controversy of the draw turned to a decision loss plus Juarez's physical domination against one of the pound-for-pound best in the world sees them back for the rematch. I expect an even better fight than last time with both fighters accustomed to one another. Also, the added pressure on each man should produce something special, as they know that their future's hang in the balance. My prediction is that Barrera will come out fast and look to compile a swift lead, but Juarez will be less inhibited in his attacks and force Barrera to rethink. I think these two have it in them to produce shades of a Castillo-Corrales I type battle. Juarez's youth, energy and power will come on strong down the stretch and dethrone Barrera by a close decision.

Rick Reeno – It’s very hard to go against Marco Antonio Barrera. A few years ago my gut instinct made me pick him to beat Erik Morales in their trilogy bout. At the time Morales was perceived as unstoppable, and Barrera was going to be a stepping stone. My gut does not give me the same feeling in this bout.

Against Pacquiao, he was beaten that night be a better fighter. When he fought Juarez, he began to fade as the rounds progressed, something I can’t recall happening to him in any of his past performances. He looked old and he looked slow. I actually had him winning the fight, but it was certainly a close fight. If Juarez had started at a quicker pace in the early rounds, he would have won the fight or even stopped Barrera in the late rounds.

I can’t see Juarez doing any better, and I think Barrera is going to improve. He must know something we don’t, because this was not a fight he had to take. The public was not necessarily crying out for a Barrera-Juarez rematch. It’s still going to be close, but I’m going to pick Barrera to pull out a decision win.

GorDoom
09-15-2006, 11:37 AM
Barrera-Juarez II Fight Predictions from Sweet Science

Live Saturday night from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (HBO PPV), the exemplary Marco Antonio Barrera gets it on a second time with Houston, Texas’ younger, fresher, less beaten up Rocky Juarez. Although MAB took their first 12-rounder by disputed decision, if it had gone 15 Juarez would have won, simply because Barrera had run out of gas. Now Rocky has a chance to avenge to that loss against one of Mexico’s all-time greatest fighters. This how The Sweet Science writers see Barrera-Juarez II.

I thought Barrera looked way too fallible in their first match. Maybe it's the straight ahead style of Juarez and Pacquiao, but to me, Barrera hasn't looked sharp in a while, not since he beat up old Kevin Kelley three years ago. Juarez should be better this time around, so Juarez by clear-cut decision.
Mitch Abramson

Is this Marco Antonio Barrera's swansong? Could be. The classy Mexican started his pro career in 1989, and won his first world title in 1994. He didn't necessarily look old in the Juarez original, but you got the feeling that, five years ago, he would have shut the Houstonian out. Once Juarez figured out that aggression would slow Barrera down, he waded right in with little regard for what Barrera fired back. He was bigger and stronger than Barrera, who started his career as a flyweight. This time around, expect Juarez to start much faster, banging away at Barrera's body. Look for Barrera to box and move, shooting the jab and looking great over the first five or six rounds. But, around the seventh, Barrera's legs will start to look their age in light of the body work and pressure that Juarez is applying. By the championship rounds, Barrera will be busted up and bruised and on his last legs. He will fight back with his usual gusto, but simply won't have the punching power or energy to deter the younger, fresher Juarez. End of an era. Juarez by unanimous decision.
Matthew Aguilar

Marco Antonio Barrera has been boxing professionally since he was 15 years old. At 32, and with 67 fights under his belt, he knows his craft. Barrera can box as well as punch, and he uses this versatility to keep his opponents off balance. In his May fight against Rocky Juarez, Barrera spent too much time mixing it up with his stronger opponent, and barely eked out a split decision. In the rematch, Barrera will box more and fight less, using his experience to blunt the youth and power of Juarez. Barrera by decision.
David Berlin

Barrera will be more cautious than the first time around. If he tries to bang with Juarez, then Barrera will be in deep trouble. Barrera will out think Rocky Juarez in a very good scrap and take a close unanimous decision win.
Ralph Gonzalez

Barrera dug deep and pulled out a slim victory the first time. There's still plenty left to dig. He'll need to go to a higher level against young, confident stud, but he's Barrera, one of the greats. Barrera on points in another thriller on what looks like a terrific card.
Michael Katz

Juarez is still younger and faster than Barrera and this time he will get the decision on the judges’ cards. Barrera has trouble with fighters who can get off and land before him and then use movement to get out of harm’s way. Juarez fits that bill to a T and should be able to use his hand speed to beat MAB to the punch and use movement to avoid the return fire. Barrera is still as good as they come and uses ring smarts to stay in the game at its highest level. Look for Juarez to land first, get inside and double up the left hook as the judges award him this time for landing the cleaner, harder punches.
Joey Knish

If Barrera looks like the old man that stumbled down the stretch in their first fight, we can expect this to be a repeat of what happened when he was bludgeoned by Manny Pacquiao. Boxing, especially in the lighter divisions, is a young man's game. Juarez, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist, is younger, fresher, and has the confidence that he can hang with a ring legend for 12 rounds. Look for Juarez to win a unanimous decision, although the scores will be much closer than they should be.
Evan Korn

Juarez gave Barrera a beating once already and I don't see what Barrera will be able to do differently to offset his power. Juarez has got Barrera's number and will make it look easier this time. Juarez TKO's Barrera in 9.
Scott Mallon

Although I thought he won, Barrera looked very vulnerable in the first fight with Juarez. Juarez is much younger and has room for improvement, while Barrera might be a little too old to do anything different. In a battle of wills, Juarez will prevail this time around. Juarez TKO 9.
Robert Mladinich

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line – the bane of Marco Antonio Barrera’s career. Junior Jones, Eric Morales and Manny Pacquiao, all straight punchers, threaded the needle. Rocky Juarez is not; he’s a hooker – a pressure fighter, not a sharpshooter. But he was busy enough – did enough damage (though he didn’t get the nod last time) to make this rematch a must-see. MAB’s more versatile, mixes it to the head and body better and throws in clusters. Rocky loads up, is relentless and keeps battering with the hook. This is Juarez’s litmus test: Does he graduate to TV’s short list, or go back to the treadmill? Barrera’s ripe. Time and wear ‘n’ tear has to have taken a toll. Juarez is bound to bring-it even more. But, it’s still the same scenario: Juarez is a hooker, and straight punchers beat MAB. I think Barrera has enough in the tank and ring savvy to win a bruising split decision.
Joe Rein

Should be another close fight. I like the fact that the rematch is being held only four months after the first fight. A longer layoff could have hurt Barrera because mentally and physically the training grind often adversely affects older fighters, and Barrera is 32 years and 62 fights old. Barrera by decision.
Ed Schuyler

Opinions vary on who won the first match between Marco Antonio Barrera and Rocky Juarez, and both fighters enter their rematch with something to prove. As promoter Oscar De La Hoya said, "Marco wants to prove that the first win was no fluke and Rocky wants that title belt around his waist. This is a war in the making." In this bout, both will get their wish and we will have a thrilling trilogy in the making. Juarez by decision.
Aaron Tallent

Yet another top, tough to call matchup in a year that's seen many such affairs. If Barrera box box boxes he should still have enough left to pull out another close fight. Still, the screaming Mexican Independence Day crowd will get everybody psyched, and Juarez could very well become the latest legend killer in boxing's youth movement. Another literal coin toss, this one came up cabezas, for Barrera.
Phil Woolever