View Full Version : Marco Antonio Barrera - Juan Manuel Marquez Pre-Fight Press & Predictions

01-03-2007, 12:48 PM
Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Juan Manuel Marquez is on
By David A. Avila from Sweet Science

Marco Antonio Barrera will defend his WBC junior lightweight title against fellow Mexico City warrior deluxe Juan Manuel Marquez in three months, said Golden Boy Promotions on Tuesday.

“It’s finally signed,” said Richard Schaeffer, CEO for Golden Boy Promotions. “It took a while but it’s definitely going to happen.”

Barrera (63-4, 42 KOs) will meet Marquez, 33, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on March 17, 2007.

Ironically, aside from the two hailing from Mexico City, Barrera and Marquez also fought for Forum Promotions based in Los Angeles and were main events for many fight cards at the Inglewood Forum. Now they battle for Golden Boy.

When Barrera, 32, first emerged on the boxing scene he was known as the “Baby-Faced Assassin” who willingly scrapped with anyone inside the ring. Then he slowly traded his toe-to-toe style for a more rounded boxer-puncher style that used his speed and brains. His victory over Prince Naseem Hamed and two subsequent victories over Erik Morales were his crowning achievements.

“I want to fight this year then retire,” Barrera said after his last fight against Rocky Juarez.

Marquez (46-3-1, 35 KOs) arrived in California under the tutelage of Nacho Beristain, who is recognized as one of the finest boxing trainers in the world. His main pupils of classic Beristain are Ricardo “Finito” Lopez, who retired undefeated and will be inducted into the International Hall of Fame in June 2007, and Rafael Marquez, the current IBF bantamweight world titleholder and younger brother to Juan Manuel. The high guard with precision punching and excellent defense has propelled both brothers to world titles.

It was Marquez’s battle against Manny Pacquiao that gave him his greatest moment. Though knocked down three times in the first round he proceeded to give Pacquiao a boxing lesson in winning all but three rounds on the judges scorecards. He needed every one of those rounds to gain a draw. Saw people felt he beat Pacquiao.

“It’s going to be a HBO pay-per-view card,” Schaeffer said. “It’s a big enough card.”

01-03-2007, 01:23 PM
Man, I always wanted to see this fight and now that it's going to happen I have mixed feelings. I really like both guys and I know that this fight may well be their last great fight. I want Barrera to win so he can retire on a high note but I also want Marquez to win so he can potentially setup a rematch against Manny. Whatever the case I hope it's a great fight.

Grandmaster B
01-03-2007, 01:40 PM
He may have to give up the WBC title in order to do so. Humberto Soto is not backing down.

01-03-2007, 01:42 PM
I don't think it is going to be a great fight, as both are counter punchers;


01-03-2007, 01:44 PM
You're right, it may well be a dull fight. But when these guys do engage and let loose those nice combos they now seldom throw, they look beautiful doing it. One of them will have to start the action and lead, hopefully.

01-03-2007, 06:38 PM
I wish Barrera would just retire & call it a day. He's going to end up like Morales. & Mr. B is right, with two counter punchers this could be a real snoozer.


01-04-2007, 12:08 AM
I don't think it will be dull. Both are counter-punchers yes but Marquez is extremely hungry and will take the lead and push the fight just like he did in the last fight.

Marquez will win a very entertaining decision and maybe even score a KD.

01-04-2007, 09:44 AM
I see this as a boring fight. Two naturally cautious guys who are now counterpunchers for the most part.

Barrera doesn't want to fight in wars anymore. Marquez won't wade in recklessly against Barrera like he has in his two most recent fights - so we're left with a fight that will go to the cards. It'll be boring and about the same as the second Barrera vs. Rocky Juarez fight.

The way to beat Barrera is to apply constant pessure and try to overwhelm him with punches. You can't box with the guy and win. Barrera probably wins this by decision or on cuts but I won't be paying for it.

01-04-2007, 02:16 PM
Obviously both guys are avoiding who the public wants them to fight. Manny Pack of course.

01-04-2007, 02:22 PM
I dunno, Rock. Barrera is so far gone he could get badly hurt. I don't see an outcome much different from the last Morales fight. Marquez however is a different kettle of fish.

Despite the 3 KD's in the first round it can be argued that Marquez should have gotten the nod. I think there would be more interest in Marquez-Pac than Barrera-Pac.

I also think Marquez-Pac II should have already happened. What's it been, 2-3 years since the first fight?


01-08-2007, 06:28 AM
Is this an 'eliminator of sorts' for a big money rematch with Pac?

Why has the great Barrera shown little inclination to challenge the guy who wiped the floor with him?

Who is Pac going to fight in the interim, i.e. the first half of 2007? (considering the 2 fights a year routine of all big name fighters these days) Who are his other worthy challengers, if any?

01-08-2007, 09:17 AM
Well it's a bout that should have happen five, or six years ago. As has already been mentioned...Barrera is just going to end up like Morales, but then again...there really are very few fighters that ever go out on top and more go out the route of Matthew Saad Muhammad than the route of Gene Tunney.

01-08-2007, 11:07 PM
I disagree with the opinion that this will be a boring fight. Both guy's are not naturally cautiious fighter. Marquez may be, but Barrera has always been a natural brawler type fighter, he matured into a controlled boxer-puncher and into a pure boxer in his last fight but his natural tendecies are to go out there and fight.
In a fight with as much importance to the Mexican fight fans both guys will be loking to impress. This will not be an all out war from the start, but a controlled, intense, heated boxing match that will erupt as it progresses. This may turn out to be the fight of the year.

With Pac's impending legal tangles, this may be Barrera's last chance for a big win before he retires. maruqez's also for that matter. I'm looking forward to this more so than Delahoya-mayweather...well maybe not that much but pretty damn close.

01-08-2007, 11:26 PM
Well it's a bout that should have happen five, or six years ago.

Exactly! Why do many of the good matchups have to happen several years after they should? Both of these guys have seen better days. I favor Marquez, but he will have to make it a tactical match to win. The "new" Marquez -who sold out his style to network pressures- gets hit a lot more than he should, and using a leaky defensive style will spell disaster against an accurate and compact puncher like Barrera (even this old Barrera). IMO, a counter-punching version of Marquez beats Barrera in virtue of his nice defense, speed advantage, and superior punch variety.

01-09-2007, 02:47 PM
Bucket I AGREE with you that Barrera would get very hurt to fight Pack now, but the other guy and Manny is a natural especially after the first one. I think both guys are trying to cash in with a big money fight that wont hurt them and avoid Manny Pack who looks awfully hard to beat right now.

01-09-2007, 03:08 PM
I favor Marquez as well. Thanks to his adjusted style he is throwing with more power than ever. He will get hit more but his accuracy & punch selection is better than Barrera's as well as his strength.

This fight has the potential to be a real stinker if they want to outpoint one another with finesse but this fight may not be as simple as who can outbox who. It's hard to say how the importance of this fight will play into the action. It could play into caution's hands or it could play into bravado at some point. I think we will get treated to some good exchanges at points because these 2 are fairly evenly matched and at some point they will want to pressure one another rather than lay back, at least the new Marquez will anyway.

I think the aggressor will get the nod in this fight score-wise. Honestly I hope they open score this fight. I'm glad this fight happens now than 5 years ago. Back then it would have been a guaranteed stinker.

01-09-2007, 03:19 PM
I somewhat disagree. I think the aggressor has the potential to get countered big time here.

01-09-2007, 03:32 PM
Both Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales should retire because
they are shells of their former selves. Juan Manuel Marquez should
be able to beat Barrera easily. Because of their boxing styles, such
a Marquez-Barrera bout could be boring, but that is hard to predict.

A prospective Marquez-Barrera bout brings up an interesting question
about why either fighter isn't trying to get a bout with Manny
Pacquiao at the present time. Of course, Barrera took quite a
beating in a previous bout with Pacquiao. I feel that a rematch
wouldn't be any different. Marquez may feel that he will have
an easier time facing Barrera rather than having a rematch with
Pacquiao. Moreover, Marquez would be in line for another big
payday with Pacquiao if he beats Barrera.

- Chuck Johnston

01-09-2007, 05:19 PM
I believe it was Golden Boy promotions intent to make a Barrera-Pacquiao rematch when they signed Pac. Pacquiao is the one who stalled that attempt by signing another promotional deal with Top Rank. Hopefully he can get his business affairs sorted by the summer and we can see the winner of this one take on Pacquaio.

BTW IMO either Barrera or Marquez will make a very good fight with Pac and could come away with the W. Barrera does not have trouble making weight and is always in supberb shape. Pac will not roll through Marco again. Barrera's biggest mistake in their first was underestimating Pac's power. He came out firing from the start and as soon as he tasted Pac's power he froze, he never had a plan B. In a rematch you can belive barrera will come in looking to box and counter much more. Pacquiao is an intense power puncher but he can be outboxed and his power can be nutrilized. Marquez did it in the latter part of thier fight. Pacquiao is a better fighter now than he was back then but he still fights in the same manner and makes alot of the same mistakes.
It will be intresting to see how Marquez handles the move up in weight. The guy has been a Featherweight for almost every fight he's had.

01-09-2007, 05:34 PM
I somewhat disagree. I think the aggressor has the potential to get countered big time here.

Very well could but its not as if one guy is going to advance with reckless abandon and neither are poor enough defensively to get completely lit up by the other. That being said, judging typically does not score for the counterpuncher unless the the advantage is apparent (which I do not see being the case here).

Whatever the outcome is, I hope it is resolute...but I doubt it.

01-09-2007, 06:06 PM
Marquez was more aggressive in his last two fights but at the expense of getting hit a ton in return by lesser guys. If his approach is anywhere near as open against Barrera, he'll pay a big price.

01-09-2007, 06:13 PM
I think we both know that Marquez will be much more careful with Barrera. He's been trying to satisfy networks lately and making things harder for himself than he had to but this fight will be more about winning than looking good I suspect.

01-09-2007, 06:16 PM
Exactly, that is my point. I think Marquez needs to be more tactical to give himself the best chance of winning this fight.

01-09-2007, 07:00 PM
Let's just hope it doesn't stink. I still give the nod to Marquez. Skills aside, I think he has more in the tank & wants it more.

Olympic Auditorium
01-10-2007, 04:33 PM
I think Marquez beats Barrera.I also think Marquez will beat Manny again ,I had Marquez beating Manny the first time.

01-10-2007, 05:39 PM
Marquez should win, but I am not certain he will stomp on the gas pedal to get it done. JMM seems like the choice.... there is something telling me that he will dance to MAB's pace and the decision will be ultra-close and perhaps tilted towards MAB.

It will be interesting to see if Barrera tapes his entire gloves this time.

01-12-2007, 12:49 PM
WBC allows Barrera to defend title
Ronnie Nathanielsz / BoxingScene.com

WBC president Jose Sulaiman says his organization is "very, very, very confused" over plans for a possible super featherweight title bout between reigning champion Marco Antonio Barrera and mandatory challenger Manny Pacquiao.
In a phone conversation with Viva Sports/Manila Standard Today, Sulaiman, who had spoken to Pacquiao and his close associate Rex "Wakee" Salud on Wednesday, said "one day Pacquiao tells me that he is ready to fight Barrera in April but they cannot put the date" and the next day there is talk about a fight with WBC featherweight champion In Jin Chi or another opponent.
Sulaiman pointed out that the dates are set by the promoters once they are able to secure a television date.

The WBC president said that after his conversation with Pacquiao he learned that Pacquiao was "going to fight In Jin Chi in Macau." The offer of Chi to move up from featherweight to super featherweight to fight Pacquiao on April 28 in Macau was relayed to both Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and Pacquiao on request of Chi's manager Kusung Lee and his close friend, lawyer Rudy Salud, by this reporter.

Arum said he would clear it with Pacquiao, although he said the Korean WBC featherweight champion was tough and it would be a good fight. Pacquiao however indicated he had nothing to gain by fighting Chi, but would take the fight if his purse was a good one.

Sulaiman revealed that Golden Boy Promotions who handle Barrera and signed a seven-fight contract with Pacquiao in mid-September told him "they just cant get an agreement with this man (Pacquiao)" adding that the WBC "cannot freeze the champion as they have a date on March 17."

Because of the lawsuits between Golden Boy and Top Rank, Sulaiman said he was advised by the legal counsel that "we (WBC) might get involved in litigation problems because they are in court."

Sulaiman said he will allow "both fighters to have the opportunity to have one fight." He said that once those fights are done the WBC will "immediately proceed with free negotiations, purse offers and all of that" setting a three-week deadline for a purse offer should negotiations fall through even in the midst of the legal battle between contending promoters Golden Boy and Top Rank.

Sulaiman said his organization would allow Barrera to fight Juan Manuel Marquez as announced by Golden Boy Promotions with the fight taking place on March 17 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Sulaiman disclosed that should Barrera win and then say he doesn't want the fight with Pacquiao "he will lose the title and if Pacquiao doesn't he will lose his rights as mandatory challenger."

01-24-2007, 12:42 PM
Barrera-Marquez: A Beautiful Bastard Child
By Brent Matteo Alderson from Boxing Scene

Finally after years of mismanagement and miscalculations, Juan Manuel Marquez is going to get the opportunity to fight a superstar in a super fight. Juan Manuel has never been very lucky. He was the WBO’s number one ranked challenger for a two year period in the late 90’s while Prince Naseem Hamed was champion. You know how the organizations are, the WBO loved Hamed and the publicity and income that his fights generated and kept granting the Prince extension after extension. They even declared Hamed a so-called “Super Champion”, which game the charismatic puncher even more lee-way to legally side-step his mandatory defense against Marquez.

After all the waiting, bickering and negotiating Marquez realized that Hamed would never step in the ring with him and in September of 1999 fought undefeated southpaw Feddie Norwood for the WBA 126-pound title in a boring scrap that in all honesty could have gone either way.

After ten wins and three & a half years later, Marquez won his first title, the vacant IBF 126-pound title with a dominating seventh round knock out of Manuel Medina in February of 2003. Later that year partially unified when he practically chased Derrick Gainer out of the ring. Marquez's next big break came in May of 2004 when he fought Manny Pacquiao on HBO.

After being dropped three times and almost knocked out in the first, he battled his way back on at least even terms through the rest of the fight and salvaged a legitimate draw. After the bout Top Rank offered Marquez $750,000 for a Pacquiao rematch, but his manager, Nacho Beristein refused the offer. Erik Morales’s people stepped in and took the fight with Pac-Man and Marquez ended up being stripped of his title for failing to defend against the WBA interim champ Chris John.

During the time that Juan Manuel Marquez’s management was squabbling with Bob Arum over how he mistreated Juan Manuel by maneuvering his star Erik Morales into a fight with the Filipino juggernaut, the WBA made Chris John the sole owner of their championship and made Juan Manuel it’s number one contender and called for a purse bid.

Marquez who was really the champion since he hadn’t lost the title in the ring, had to go to Indonesia to fight a tall, awkward, undefeated challenger in his hometown as a challenger for a measly $30,000 dollars. Juan Manuel lost a controversial decision and has been trying to get his career back on course ever since.

The career of Marquez received an early present when a rematch talks for Pacquiao-Barrera fell apart, and he was able to land a genuine super-fight. The fight should be very competitive even if it’s going to happen when his performances have shown that he’s on the decline at the age of 33. Pacquiao already had a win over Barrera when Marquez fought him to a draw, but he hadn’t developed into the box office international super star that he is today and the match wasn’t viewed as a super attraction like this one is today.

You have to commend Golden Boy Promotions for giving Marquez the shot, nobody else has, but it’s not because De La Hoya wants to live up to his promise to finally help Marquez realize his potential or because he wants to make a great fight between two astute Mexican gladiators. No, the Barrera-Marquez match is a bastard child that has grown out of all the things that are wrong with boxing and it’s going to happen in 2007 because Barrera-Pacquiao probably isn’t. And ironically it might be the most beautiful child that the sport will bare in 2007.

Golden Boy has done some major promotions with Barrera and realizes that his marketability isn’t on the level of Oscar’s. Golden Boy can’t make money with Marco unless he’s in there with someone that the public views as a live underdog. Barrera’s fights with Fana and Robbie Peden were pay-per-view busts. The fight with Fana did 75,000 buys and the fight with Peden did marginally better with 110,000 buys.

Barrera needs to fight live opponents because Latin boxing fans are very knowledgeable observers and know the difference between a mere showcase and a legitimate prize fight. The Hispanic market is what drives the pay-per-view sales on Barrera's fights.

What other match up could De La Hoya have made for Marco? A fight with Jorge Barrios would have been attractive, but he just lost and a fight with his conqueror, Joan Guzman would have been way too risky. They probably would have went after Jesus Chavez, but the tough Texan has to defend against the interim champ Julio Diaz.

Bernard Hopkins’s reign as IBF champ showed that above all else a fighter without exceptional marketability needs to keep his title. A fight with Erik Morales would still sell tickets because it’s a famous rivalry and it’s guaranteed to be a barn-burner, but because of his on-going fued with Bob Arum that has been magnified by their power struggle over the promotional rights involving Manny Pacquiao, that fight would not be possible.

I think Barrera has earned his right to a super fight with Pacquiao and has already solidified his position with his conclusive win over Rocky Juarez. I think Golden Boy Promotions is acting unprofessionally and taking things far too personally. This is boxing, it’s not a rendition of the film, the Notebook. Barrera is in his thirties and has had a lot of wars and just fought in September. He could have waited out all of 2006 and it wouldn’t have significantly hurt his chances against Pacquiao if he ended up fighting him late in the year.

Which brings us to Juan Manuel Marquez. Juan Manuel is respected throughout the industry and is very well known in Mexico. The pay-per-view should not have a problem doing solid numbers. Fights with hungry guys like Marquez, who never truly reached the mountain top like Marco did with his win over Prince Naseem, are always going to be there.

If Richard Shaefer had the boxing acumen of a Joe Jacobs or even a Shelly Finkel, he would have worked to make the fight between Pacquiao and Barrera. It’s the biggest most lucrative fight below 147. They should have had a sit-down at the HBO offices with Pacquiao and his plethora of representatives, the HBO suits, Representatives of Golden Boy, and representatives of Top Rank and hammered out a deal. It could be a fifty-fifty co-promotion. It’s possible.

Arum’s worked with Don King before on the De La Hoya-Trinidad fight and everybody knows that Arum has an eternal hatred for King. Golden Boy Promotions doesn’t want to take that route and believe they have the legal rights to Paquiao. Oscar thinks he’ll be victorious in court against Arum, just like he was when he broke his promotional accord with the Harvard law trained promoter. This time, it’s a lot different. Courts are more inclined to find in favor of an individual athlete seeking his independence from a restrictive contract than a promoter who is seeking the contractual obligations of an athlete.

Plus in my view Arum’s contract with Paquiao is legitimate because it proceeds the contract that Oscar has with Manny. I’m not talking about the one that Arum announced right after Pacquiao’s third fight with Morales I’m talking about the one for the Morales’ fights which forbid Pacquiao from entering in another promotional agreement until after Manny’s series with Morales. How can Golden Boy say that Top Rank stole Pacquiao when Arum already had him under a contract agreement? Golden Boy Promotions was the first company to violate any type of promotional contract involving Manny Pacquiao when they signed him to a deal when his contract for the Morales trilogy forbid him from entering into any promotional deal until the terms of the contract for the Morales bout had been concluded.

All is well that ends well, and all of this bickering has brought about the inception of a beautiful fight that nobody believed would happen. And if Barrera can somehow maintain his spot on top of the mountain and prevail yet again against another decorated gladiator, then the public will demand the fight with Pacquiao and it could still happen before the end of the year.

Brent Matteo Alderson, a graduate of UCLA, has been part of the staff at BoxingScene.com since 2004 and teaches Spanish at the High School level in Southern California. He has published articles in Ring Magazine, KO, World Boxing, Boxing 2006, and Latin Boxing Magazine. He has also been featured on the ESPN Classic television program “Who’s Number One?”

01-26-2007, 02:24 PM
Barrera vs. Marquez: Better Late than Never
By Doug Fischer from Max Boxing

Never say never in boxing.

During the mid-to-late ‘90s, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez, then 20-something phenoms out of Mexico City, thrilled Southern California fight fans at Inglewood’s Great Western Forum and The Pond of Anaheim. Barrera, a 122-pound standout with a relentless pressure fighting style, was thought to be the next Julio Cesar Chavez; while Marquez, a deadly accurate featherweight technician, looked like the closest thing to Salvador Sanchez.

The only drawback to watching this dynamic duo ply their craft inside the ropes was the knowledge that they would most likely never occupy a boxing ring at the same time despite the fact that they had the same promoter, the now-defunct Forum Boxing, Inc.

Well, better late than never. They went their separate ways when Forum Boxing stopped putting on fights in Southern California, won a combined seven world titles, and now, as 33-year-old veterans, both men are fighting under the same promotional banner again with Golden Boy Promotions – and FINALLY squaring off against each other on March 17th.

For hardcore boxing fans who watched Barrera and Marquez cut their proverbial teeth in Southern California (where Barrera fought 13 times between ’92 and ’99; and where Marquez fought 15 times between ’95 and ’99) Thursday’s official press conference at the House of Blues in Hollywood, California announcing that the two will fight for Barrera’s WBC 130-pound title at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is an almost surreal experience.

For more than half a decade fight fanatics fantasized about how Marquez would withstand Barrera’s pressure or how Barrera would deal with Marquez’s counter-punching ability or how Marquez would cut the ring off on Barrera if he decided to stick and move or how Barrera would handle Marquez’s underrated power, and so on.

There were too many scenarios to consider when mentally pitting these two together because of their obvious skills, versatility, warrior hearts, and let’s not forget their ring smarts. Barrera and Marquez are not only two most complete Mexican fighters in the game since Ricardo Lopez retired, but they are among the most intelligent boxers from ANY country.

Unfortunately for fight fans, Barrera’s former manager, Ricardo Maldonado, was also pretty smart – and as shrewd as they come. English is not Maldonado’s first language but if any gringo boxing scribe dared to bring up Marquez’s name as a potential opponent when he was managing Barrera he spoke it loud and very clear:

“Are you INSANE!?”

As far as Maldonado was concerned Barrera needed Marquez about as much as he needed a sulfuric acid enema. That fight was not going to happen on his watch.

As the years went by and Barrera far surpassed his old promotional stablemate in terms of recognition and respect with memorable 12-round bouts with the likes of Erik Morales and Naseem Hamed, and even after Barrera and Maldonado split, most boxing writers (including this one) began to assume that the fighter shared the old manager’s reluctance (or perhaps even fear) to face Marquez.

Boxing writers really shouldn’t assume such things.

“When this fight was brought up to me all I said was ‘when?’” Barrera said in passable English at the House of Blues Thursday. “I know who Juan Manuel Marquez is. He’s a warrior. I respect him. I will come 200% ready.

“We’ve waited many years for this fight. I want to retire soon, but I don’t want to end my career with easy fights.”

After locking horns with the likes of Kennedy McKinney, Junior Jones (twice), Morales (three times), Hamed and Manny Pacquiao along with 11 other former world title holders, nobody is going to accuse Barrera of taking the easy road during his certain hall-of-fame career.

Marquez has faced his share of world-class fighters, too, but he doesn’t have the kind of names that Barrera’s ledger contains – in part because a lot of top fighters have avoided Marquez over the years, but the other part of that reason is poor management. The one monster name on Marquez’s ledger is Pacquiao, whom the Mexican battled to a stirring draw in 2004. Marquez, on the “advice” of his trainer-“manager” Nacho Beristain, passed on the opportunity to fight a rematch with the PacMan that, if he won, would have catapulted him into the top five of most pound-for-pound lists as well as a new tax bracket.

He also passed on the opportunity to expose Hamed before Barrera did – this, after being the no. 1 contender to Hamed’s WBO featherweight title for nearly two years. Marquez acknowledged that he’s made some mistakes in the past at Thursday’s presser and vowed to make things right on March 17th.

“Life doesn’t give you many opportunities like this and this is one opportunity that I will not miss,” he said. “I’m going to be more prepared for Marco Antonio Barrera than I was for Manny Pacquiao.”


Barrera-Marquez is an HBO Pay-Per-View event that is going for a suggested retail price of $44.95. There’s no doubt that the two fighters in the main event are worth paying for – especially vs. each other – but the bout has come under some criticism (and rightfully so) because it is basically a long-overdue showdown that would have been on regular HBO (probably Boxing After Dark) had they actually fought in their primes, and it will likely only sale well in the Southern California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico areas of the country. In other words, it’s a regional fight.

While Golden Boy Promotions doesn’t necessarily agree with this line of thought, the company is attempting to cover its butt by adding a co-feature that may appeal to some non-Mexican fans living east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line – a 140-pound showdown between former title holder Steve Forbes, of The Contender: Season Two fame, and Philadelphia native Demetrius Hopkins, undefeated holder of the USBA junior welterweight title.

“It’s not done yet,” said GBP matchmaker Eric Gomez, “but a contract was sent to The Contender people today. We’re trying to make it happen.”

Also, being discussed – but not signed and sealed – is a WBO 122-pound title bout between champ Daniel Ponce-DeLeon and former titlist Gerry Penalosa and a 10- or 12-round bout involving Abner Mares, who is dropping from the 122-pound division to bantamweight.

“The Mares bout will be 10 rounds minimum,” said Gomez. “If we can do a minor title over 12 rounds, we’ll do it.”


Gomez said that the March 24th WBA/WBC 168-pound title fight between champ Mikkel Kessler and undefeated no. 1 contender Librado Andrade, which will take place in Kessler’s native Denmark, will be televised on an HBO Boxing After Dark, following the tape-delay broadcast of Barrera-Marquez.


Tickets for Barrera-Marquez are priced at $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50 and are now on sale at any Mandalay Bay box office and all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (Smith's Food and Drug Centers, Macy's stores and Ritmo Latino). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call the Mandalay Bay box office at (702) 632-7580 or Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000.

02-03-2007, 12:29 PM
Notebook: Barrera-Marquez clash works out nicely

By Dan Rafael

Barrera (63-4) will make his fifth title defense at 130 pounds on March 17.
When a rematch between junior lightweight champ Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao failed to materialize because of Pacquiao's promotional entanglements, Barrera didn't pout.

Instead, the future Hall of Famer switched to Plan B, and what a Plan B it is: featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Marquez, who, like Barrera, is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

The Mexican stars have danced around each other for years, but never met in the ring. That will change March 17 (HBO PPV), when they meet at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for one of the top fights that can be made in boxing.

Pacquiao owns a knockout win against Barrera, and Marquez has a draw with Pacquiao in a fight many believe Marquez clearly won.

"Barrera will take on the challenger that Erik Morales never wanted," Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer crowed. "Barrera is not going to sit around and wait for Pacquiao, so we are moving ahead with another big fight."

Golden Boy Promotions, which handles both fighters, dubbed the card "Fearless," which makes sense because neither man has ever backed away from a challenge.

"For as long as I can remember, when you talked about the best fighters in the world, the names of Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez were always mentioned, but a fight between them never came off," said Golden Boy Promotions boss Oscar De La Hoya. "I'm excited that we've finally been able to put these two great warriors together and present the fans with what I believe will be one of the best fights of the last 25 years."

It has a chance. Barrera (63-4, 42 KOs) has been involved in a slew of memorable fights, including his trilogy with Erik Morales. Marquez's draw with Pacquiao was a brawl from start to finish.


The pay-per-view undercard is expected to include:

• Junior featherweight titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon -- one of the most savage punchers in boxing -- defending against former junior bantamweight titlist Gerry Penalosa.

• Junior welterweight Demetrius Hopkins facing former junior lightweight titlist Steve Forbes, the runner-up in the second season of "The Contender."

Marquez (46-3-1, 35 KOs), who will move up in weight to challenge Barrera and to earn a career-high $1.5 million payday, has been in top form in his past two fights, winning both by knockout, as he put a controversial points loss to featherweight titlist Chris John in Indonesia behind him.

"This is one of the most important fights of my career and I think I am going to knock out Barrera," said Marquez, who doesn't typically make such bold statements. "Barrera has fought a lot, but I'm at the peak of my career and it is time for him to retire and for me to take the reign."

In his last fight, Barrera boxed his way to an easy decision against Rocky Juarez in their September rematch. Marquez's prediction has Barrera fired up to make their fight more memorable than his last outing.

"Juan Manuel thinks he is going to knock me out? I'd like to see him try," said Barrera, who will earn $3 million. "He is dreaming that he is going to win. His dreams are not reality. Instead he should be training because I am going to shut his mouth with my punches, not with words."

Mark Taffet of HBO PPV loves these kinds of fights. He said it reminds him of the Barrera-Morales and Pacquiao-Morales trilogies.

"Barrera won a legendary trilogy with Morales, and Marquez showed incredible heart coming back from three knockdowns to earn a draw in a memorable fight with Pacquiao," he said. "Barrera-Marquez is another one of those 'best vs. best' matches that boxing fans always look forward to."

Roberto Aqui
02-03-2007, 03:16 PM
Don't see how anyone can be so definitive on this fight. Best to best I'd favor Barrera, but he is right at his shelf life date. Marquez SHOULD have an advantage, but I'm doubtful if he will lead enough to rack up the points needed.

Barrera is nowhere near as shot as Morales. He's always been a smarter boxer which is why he's still going. He is stretching things though and should consider retirement very soon and forget about Manny. It's Marquez that has something to prove, not Barrera who's a HOF lock. At his age he can no longer count on consistency or durability, but has enough experience to turn out a masterclass performance if he gets warmed with all cylinders running.

02-03-2007, 03:49 PM
This is one that should have happened a long time ago; but I'll take it now. My gut tells me to go with Marquez; but we'll see. Either way, this fight sets up a rematch, one way or the other, with Manny Pacquiao for the official passing of the torch. So, this is good for boxing, and that's the bottom line.

03-08-2007, 12:40 PM
A long wait for Marquez-Barrera fight
By Robert Morales, Staff Writer

A fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera always seemed natural. They are both from Mexico City, they're the same age and they have been in, or near, the same weight class.

They both made their money fighting out of the Forum under the Forum Boxing Inc. banner in the 1990s. However, it is not often that fighters working for the same promoter will fight each other because a promoter isn't going to go out of his way to get one of his top fighters knocked off.

Then again, Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions doesn't have a problem with it. The company now promotes Marquez and Barrera, and they will fight on March 17 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Barrera's World Boxing Council super featherweight belt will be at stake.

"We are looking to do the best fights with the best fighters," said Eric Gomez, Golden Boy matchmaker and vice president. "That is what the public wants. These two warriors want to fight each other, want to face each other and give back to the boxing community."

With that, Marquez will finally get the chance to make an indelible mark on the sport. Marquez, 33, is 46-3-1 with 35 knockouts and has held the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation

featherweight belts, as well as the World Boxing Organization interim featherweight belt.
Marquez-Barrera will be available on HBO pay-per-view.

Armando Garcia, chief executive officer for the California State Athletic Commission, said Wednesday that he is investigating the events surrounding the brain injury suffered by Victor Burgos at the hands of Vic Darchinyan during their flyweight title fight Saturday at Home Depot Center.

Garcia, however, said little else about the fight that left Burgos seriously injured. Burgos, who lost via 12th-round technical knockout, had post-fight surgery late Saturday to remove a blood clot on his brain. On Tuesday he had come out of a medically induced coma and was responding to verbal commands given by doctors.

"I don't mean to be evasive or anything, but the state has decided to respect the family and not make any comment," Garcia said. "I have to do some checking so I can finish up the report. At some point, I think we will be able to talk in detail."

Wladimir Klitschko will defend his IBF heavyweight belt against Ray Austin on Saturday in Germany. HBO will televise.

Klitschko, of Kiev, Ukraine, will be attempting to make the second defense of the belt he won with a seventh-round technical knockout of Chris Byrd last April. Klitschko, 30, stopped Calvin Brock in the seventh round in his first defense last November.

Klitschko is 47-3 with 42 knockouts.

Austin, 36, is from Cleveland. He is 24-3-4 with 16 knockouts.

Catch the replay of the October 1981 lightweight title fight between Alexis Arguello and Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini tonight on Versus. Arguello won via 14th-round technical knockout.

03-10-2007, 09:55 PM
I like Marquez in this one. Forbes - Hopkins is a good undercard match.

03-14-2007, 02:05 PM
Barrera Knows Marquez, which is Why He Knows it Will be a Great Fight
By Doug Fischer from Max Boxing

Marco Antonio Barrera doesn’t need Juan Manuel Marquez. He doesn’t need this fight that the sport’s most diehard fans are salivating over.

World-class boxers in the featherweight and junior lightweight divisions need a fight with Marquez like you need a massive case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Barrera’s not dumb – he’s actually one of the smarter prize fighters to come around in the past 25 years – so he knows what a tough fight he will have with his fellow Mexico City native; just like he knows that he didn’t have to accept this bout, which will be fought for his WBC 130-pound title this Saturday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (and broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View).

Barrera beat ’88 Olympic champ and former world titlist Kennedy McKinney in a classic war that helped to launch HBO’s ‘Boxing After Dark’ series 11 years ago. He engaged in an all-time great trilogy with Erik Morales, and got the better of his arch rival in the breath-taking series that was waged over three weight classes. He undressed the previously undefeated and highly regarded Naseem Hamed in one of the most complete boxing clinics ever conducted on the world’s stage.

He’s defeated 14 former, current or future world title holders during his 17-year, 67-bout pro career, including Kevin Kelly, Paulie Ayala and Johnny Tapia.

Who’s Juan Manuel Marquez?

If any active fighter in the 126- or 130-pound weight classes can be excused for asking that question, it is Barrera.

But here’s the deal: Barrera knows who Marquez is, and for better or worse, he made the decision to face Marquez before he ends his certain hall-of-fame career even though he knows that he would have received a free pass from the media and from the fans had he pretended that Marquez, who recently joined his promotional company Golden Boy Promotions, did not exist.

“A victory over Marquez will not bring any more significance to my legacy that it doesn’t already have,” Barrera told the media at a press luncheon held at El Paseo Inn in Los Angeles Monday afternoon. “This fight won’t make or break me.”

Most knowledgeable observers of the sport would agree with that statement. So if that’s the case, then why did he take the fight? Why is Barrera risking a loss at this stage of his career when a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, the last fighter to beat him (and the only fighter to DECISIVELY best Barrera in past 11 years), could be made this year and not only provide a record payday but the opportunity to avenge his one-sided 2003 loss to the Filipino icon?

“Because,” Barrera says calmly, “Pacquiao was not available due to legal problems, and this [bout with Marquez] is a great fight.”

Barrera put extra emphasis on the word “fight” because he admits that he isn’t sure if the composed stick-and-move strategy that he employed to great effect against Hamed back in 2001, and has used to control many world-class opponents since then (including Enrique Sanchez, Robbie Peden and Rocky Juarez in their recent rematch), will work against a fighter as talented and complete as Marquez.

Having come up through the ranks with Marquez in the mid-to-late ‘90s, back when both were promoted by Southern California-based Forum Boxing, Inc., Barrera is very familiar with his March 17th foe.

Back then Barrera was a relentless 122-pound titlist who drew comparisons to Julio Cesar Chavez, while Marquez was a featherweight prospect so technically sharp that he reminded fans of Salvador Sanchez.

From ’95 to ’99, the two Mexico City fighters alternately headlined dozens of Forum Boxing cards at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California, the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, and the Tropicana in Las Vegas.

When Barrera wasn’t the headliner he was often able to observe from ringside the steely focus, technical proficiency and deadly accurate combinations that Marquez became known for among hardcore fans by the late ‘90s.

“Of course, I knew of him back then,” said Barrera, reminding the press that he’s also a fight fan. “I watched him fight and followed his career as any good countryman would his fellow Mexican.

“He’s a top-level fighter; very good at counter punching, with a tight defense. I know I’m fighting the best and that’s why I’ve worked so hard in camp.”

For this fight, Barrera lived and trained in Big Bear Lake, California, a mountain resort town 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles and more than 7,000 feet above sea level, for two months.

Team Barrera – which basically consists of Barrera, longtime trainer Rudy Perez, co-trainer Sendai Tanaka, advisor Roberto Diaz, his father Jorge Sr. and his brother Jorge Jr. – made the house and home gym of Barrera’s GBP partner Shane Mosley its base of operations, where a talented and experienced group of sparring partners were assembled to help prepare him for Marquez.

Former WBC featherweight title holders, veteran Guty Espadas Jr. and 23-year-old Rodolfo Lopez (both of whom were once trained by Marquez’s respected coach, Nacho Beristain), joined Japan’s 130-pound champ Yusuke Kobori (a 19-2-1 fighter from Tokyo with a no. 10 ranking in the WBC) and undefeated (14-0) lightweight prospect Brandon Rios to make up the bulk of Barrera’s sparring.

All were expected to bring the high-held left handed counter-punching style that Marquez is known for into their reportedly lively sparring sessions with Barrera, who admits that the style gave him trouble.

“We tried to learn [Marquez’s style] in camp,” he said. “I tried to box against my sparring partners and I really couldn’t do it. I couldn’t learn it, so we’ll have to go back to being the old Barrera for this fight. I can’t bring the new Barrera to beat him. I’m going to have to fight him.”

Fighting Marquez generally doesn’t work very well. Fighters who have given him fits in the past were slick and crafty boxers like ’92 Olympian Julian Wheeler (one of Marquez’s early opponents who was leading on the scorecards before he basically quit in the 10th and final round of their bout) and former WBA featherweight titlist Freddie Norwood, who staled and stuck and moved his way to a forgettable decision victory eight years ago.

Tough guys who tried to stand and trade with Marquez, like Australia’s Robbie Peden, Mexico’s Marcos Licona and more recently Thailand’s Terdsak Jandaeng and the Philippines’ Jimrez Jaca, were systematically broken down by the late rounds of those nationally televised (on HBO and Showtime) bouts, often in brutal, bloody fashion.

However, the prime example of Marquez’s mastery over an aggressive, come-forward warrior is his 2004 classic confrontation with Manny Pacquiao – the quintessential boxing badass. The Filipino firebrand, who was fresh off his 11-round domination of Barrera, nearly Blitzkrieged Marquez in the opening round of their bout, dropping the counter puncher three times with blistering left hands.

Marquez, whose badly bloodied nose was smashed flat and probably broken, got up from each knockdown and then proceeded to coolly dissect Pacquiao over the next 11 rounds the way he had 42 previous opponents. Marquez’s tenacity and technical superiority was enough to earn him a controversial split-draw and win him new fans.

Barrera, one of the old fans, was more than impressed with Marquez’s performance. He was proud of it.

“I applauded that fight,” Barrera said. “I was cheering [during] that fight. It showed the world what Mexican fighters are supposed to be, what Mexican fighters are all about.”

What are Mexican fighters all about?

“Never giving up and never backing down from a challenge,” Barrera says.

And that’s why Saturday’s excellent matchup is taking place, but why did it take so long for this fight to happen? Both Barrera and Marquez, a veteran of 50 pro fights, are 33 years old. Shouldn’t this showdown have happened sometime when both men were in their 20s?

“I really don’t know why the fight never happened when we were younger and fighting for the Forum,” Barrera said. “This fight was never offered to me [before now]. Maybe it was because we had the same promoter, I don’t know.”

Barrera is not dumb, but he obviously knows how to play dumb. The Marquez fight was there for him, but A) Forum Boxing probably did want to protect their cash cow (him) for as long as possible and B) Barrera’s former manager, the shrewd and very influential (at the time) Ricardo Maldonado, would not hear of a matchup between his star fighter and Marquez.

Maldonado was just doing what he thought was right for his fighter.

However, what Maldonado thought was best for his fighter was not necessarily what was good for fight fans.

Eric Gomez, matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions, is proud that his company was able to make the fight that Mexican fans and diehard observers had dreamt about for more than 10 years. He’s also proud of Barrera and Marquez.

“This is what separates boxing from other sports,” Gomez told the press at Monday’s press conference before he introduced Marquez and Barrera. “When you watch the [NBA] finals in basketball or the Super Bowl or the World Series, the best two teams are always facing each other.”

Not so in boxing, Gomez added, telling the media something they know all too well. The two top fighters in a particular division facing off in the ring just doesn’t happen with the regularity that it once did, which is probably one of the many reasons why boxing now takes a back seat to not only football, basketball, and baseball, but golf and tennis, and also the UFC and various ‘X-Games’-type sports.

“Even if the two best fighters are from the same city [they often don’t fight],” Gomez said. “Marco desperately wanted a rematch with Manny Pacquiao this year because he’s thinking of retiring soon. For whatever reason we couldn’t make it happen, so he told us, ‘OK, give me the next toughest guy, the next biggest name who will fight me’. That fighter was Juan Manuel Marquez, who immediately accepted the fight.

“That shows the commitment these two have to the sport.”

It’s no surprise that Marquez, who missed out on numerous big fight opportunities over the past eight years for a variety of reasons but mainly because the other elite fighters didn’t want to face him, however, for Barrera to take this bout so readily, is well, refreshing.

“I know [Marquez] is a fighter that nobody wanted to fight, that a lot of people turned their backs on,” Barrera said when asked why he was so quick to make the fight. “But he’s very good, and I want to demonstrate that Marco Antonio Barrera is here to give fans big fights against top-level fighters.”

He admits that his imminent retirement had much to do with his decision.

“I’ve been thinking about it for the last three years,” he said. “It’s kept me up at night. My family told me to go ahead and hang them up, but I wanted to have a few more big fights before I left the sport. This will be my last year. I will not be the typical fighter who announces his retirement and then fights again. When I’m done, I’m done.”

So Barrera intends to make his last year in the sport count for something.

Because of this mentality, regardless if he wins or loses Saturday night, regardless if the Marquez bout is his last fight, and regardless if he ever gets the chance to even the score with Pacquiao, Barrera is guaranteed to leave boxing as a champ – a real champ, which all he ever wanted from the sport to begin with.

“I’ve accomplished a lot in boxing,” Barrera said, “much more than I thought I ever would. All I ever wanted was to be a champion. I became a champion in three divisions. I have been very successful, very fortunate.

“Boxing has been good to me.”

By facing Marquez, Barrera is being good to boxing.

03-15-2007, 08:39 AM
Barrera is going out in a blaze of glory

IT'S no surprise that the last two fights of Marco Antonio Barrera's career could be two of his toughest.

Barrera will put his World Boxing Council super featherweight belt on the line against Juan Manuel Marquez, one of the terrific featherweights of this era, on Saturday at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

If all goes well for Barrera, he would be looking to take on Manny Pacquiao in a rematch of their fight in November 2003, won by Pacquiao via 11th-round technical knockout.

The Mexican legend then would say good-bye to boxing after a spectacular career that began in Mexico City in 1989 at age 15.

"He has told us he wants to go out with a bang," said Eric Gomez, matchmaker for Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Barrera. "He says, `Look, I could have fought a couple of bums and retired. But I want to create some excitement for boxing.' "

It goes deeper than that.

"It's very important for me, for the fans to remember me as the fighter that I was, fighting the top fighters and giving them the great fights and not be remembered as a fighter that ended his career fighting dead fighters," Barrera said.

He and Marquez are 33. Barrera has accomplished

more than Marquez, but he has had to endure much more. Marquez (46-3-1, 35 KOs) has been in tough fights, but he never has been stopped inside the distance in 50 bouts.
Barrera (63-4, 42 KOs, one no-contest) has been a pro four years longer than Marquez and has 68 fights. Of his four defeats, he was stopped by Pacquiao and would have been stopped by Junior Jones in their first fight in November 1996, but Barrera was disqualified when one of his cornermen stepped inside the ring during the fifth round.

That's not to mention the three slugfests against rival Erik Morales, two of which Barrera won. There are, in other words, more than a few experts who believe Barrera won't even get to Pacquiao because he'll lose to a fresher Marquez on Saturday.

"Very brave on his behalf," Marquez said of Barrera taking him on. "He showed a lot of courage there."

It's about legacy, one that puts Barrera in the upper echelon of a long line of great fighters from Mexico. When you think of who some of them are, you come up with Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez and Ruben Olivares. To many, Barrera belongs right there with them.

"Well, I've accomplished much, much more than I ever dreamed of," Barrera said. "That's why I'm so grateful to boxing. It's given me much more than I ever thought it would. I wanted to become a world champion. I became a world champion in three (weight) divisions, something I never dreamed of.

"That is why, at my 33 years of age, I feel very well, very good. That is why I want to exit and find the right door, the big door, to go out of boxing on top."

Saturday's fight will be available on HBO pay-per-view for $44.95.

As of Monday, injured boxer Victor Burgos remained at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.

Burgos, a flyweight, was stopped in the 12th round by Vic Darchinyan on March 3 at Home Depot Center in Carson. Burgos had surgery that night to remove a blood clot on his brain. He was brought out of a medically induced coma the ensuing Tuesday and has been responding to verbal commands by doctors.

Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 44, will continue his comeback Saturday when he takes on Vinny Maddalone in the main event at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas

03-15-2007, 07:39 PM

15 March, 2007 by Cliff Rold


Arlington, VA – For pundits of the ‘boxing is dead/dying’ variety, this is a terrible weekend. For everyone else, on three continents, it doesn’t get much better. Every fight isn’t good, but there’s enough good to go around. Of course, we all have a superfight to look forward to Saturday night and I’ll have plenty to say about Marco Antonio Barerra-Juan Manuel Marquez later in the week. The highlight of the weekend off pay-per-view won’t even be seen in the United States, but it’s a dandy.

Read the Rest Here... (http://ringtalk.com./index.php?action=fullnews&showcomments=1&id=1183)

03-17-2007, 08:37 AM
Barrera aims to be among Mexico's best
History motivates the 'Baby-Faced Assassin' in his super-featherweight title bout with Marquez.
By Lance Pugmire, Times Staff Writer
March 17, 2007

LAS VEGAS — He wears not only the World Boxing Council's super-featherweight champion's belt, but the experience of 67 professional fights and 33 years of life.

Marco Antonio Barrera has stepped upon many scales at weigh-ins throughout a career considered one of the most successful in Mexico's boxing history.

As he now moves toward a planned retirement by the end of 2007, the "Baby-Faced Assassin" said he's found the most difficult scales are the ones a veteran boxer must balance.

On one side of Barrera, there's the motivation of victory and affirming a legacy as one of Mexico's best fighters. On the other, the perspective of knowing that he's aging in a sport in which skills can evaporate overnight.

"I want to prove what kind of fighter I was, and when I retire, I don't want to come back," Barrera said recently as he prepared for his fifth title defense, tonight against former World Boxing Assn. featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. "I think 33 is a good age to say goodbye."

Motivation? Barrera wants to beat Marquez and one final opponent — probably the man who battered him in 2003, Manny Pacquiao — to clinch his spot among Mexico's greats.

"The most important Mexican fighters have been Salvador Sanchez, Carlos Zarate, Ruben Olivares, Ricardo Lopez and Julio Cesar Chavez," Barrera said. "I gave you five. The sixth is me. Mexico is a seed that grows many champions. I don't think I can surpass or equal any of them. I'm leaving boxing soon, and I'm satisfied with what I've accomplished."

As long as he keeps winning.

Barrera is aware Chavez continued to fight despite eroding skills, suffering technical knockout losses to Oscar De La Hoya, losing to journeyman Willy Wise and being knocked out by then-champion Kostya Tszyu. Zarate (66-4) also was boxing as late as age 36, when he lost two super-bantamweight title fights.

Mexico's greats have left lessons for those who have followed. Sanchez's death in a car crash at age 23 reinforced the truth that life can be short. Former strawweight and light-flyweight champion Lopez showed a boxer can walk away on top. He retired with a 51-0-1 record in 2002.

"With thanks to God, I will retire reminding people I was a good fighter, not thinking that I was crazy to still be here," Barrera said.

He said he's being pulled away from the ring mostly by his family — his wife of eight years and three children: a 5-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter and newborn boy.

"I've thought while training, 'What will happen if I stop boxing?' But then I see my kids," Barrera said. "I want to be with them."

Barrera's popularity among fight fans has been built on his frequent involvement in classic fights, mostly the 2000-2004 trilogy against Erik Morales that began with Morales winning the Ring Magazine's fight of the year, and closing with two Barrera victories by decisions.

The rivalry between the fighters from Mexico has been fierce. Barrera once punched Morales at a news conference, and Morales described Barrera in a recent HBO program with a term fit only for an R-rated broadcast, but Barrera acknowledges, "Thanks to Erik Morales, I will always be thought of as one of the best."

"Marco is so admired in Mexico because of the way he fights," said Ramiro Gonzalez, a former boxing writer for the Spanish language newspaper La Opinion who now works in public relations for the Barrera-Marquez fight promoter, Golden Boy Promotions. "He exchanges a lot of shots … he likes to give, and he can receive. He's become a master, a real technician.

"Marco is too humble to say this, but if he wins these last two fights, I think you can place him No. 3 on the list of all-time great Mexican fighters, behind Sanchez and Chavez."

Said Barrera: "I've tried to write my own history. I haven't emulated or copied anyone."

Barrera (63-4, 42 knockouts) made his mark in the U.S. by fighting on 10 Forum cards in Inglewood. In 1996, he defeated former Olympic gold medalist Kennedy McKinney, rallying from his first knockdown to floor McKinney five times.

Questions were raised about Barrera's ability to achieve a major sanctioning body's world championship after he suffered the second of consecutive losses to Junior Jones in 1997.

He responded, however, with a memorable performance in the first Morales fight, a thorough beating of the flamboyant "Prince" Naseem Hamed in 2001, and the revenge victory against Morales in 2002.

"Maybe the fans like my dedication, the way I can turn fights around," Barrera said.

After being beat down by Pacquiao in 2003, Barrera has won six straight fights. He said he made a firm decision to avoid retiring with a belt retained against lesser-skilled foes.

When a rich rematch with Pacquiao failed to immediately materialize because of the current lawsuits connected to Golden Boy's dispute with Top Rank Inc. over the rights to promote the Filipino star, the $1.2-million purse offered for a Marquez fight proved tempting too.

"Instead of going into the sunset, Marco wants to put an exclamation on his career," said Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions. "He's fighting a guy in Marquez who clearly has been one of the most avoided fighters. This is about pride, history, and about who is the best fighter from Mexico."

A strong counter-puncher, Marquez (46-3-1, 35 KOs) said he envisions a typical slug-it-out Barrera fight, because the champion is "so very tough and skilled I expect him to fight like he did 10 years ago."

Barrera joked Marquez will need a baseball bat to knock him down.

"I plan to go toe-to-toe and give the fans a great performance," he said. "Obviously, I don't feel the same as I did 10 years ago…. But it's very important to me to leave the sport as people have known me — victorious."

Barrera weighed in Friday at 130 pounds. Marquez, who's being paid $700,000, was at 129. He and his brother, super-bantamweight world champion Rafael, could become the first siblings to simultaneously hold WBC titles

03-17-2007, 02:37 PM
BoxingScene Staff Predictions: Barrera-Marquez
Compiled by Rick Reeno

World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Featherweight Champion, Marco Antonio Barrera will meet World Boxing Organization (WBO) Featherweight Champion Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday, March 17 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Boxing fans have been waiting a long time for this battle between two of the most recognized Mexican fighters in the world.

David Greisman - Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez are two men with too much in common. They've both competed for a good duration at the highest level. Both men know how to box, but each will dig deep and throw down when required to do so. They have faced a common opponent. Oh, and when they win, the ring announcer enunciates three names for them.

But fortune isn't always dished out evenly. Barrera is the popular Mexican warrior while Marquez is known of but underappreciated. Barrera has been in the headlines. Marquez is approaching a deadline.

With Barrera-Marquez, the former is a superstar while the latter is a pound-for-pound denizen who has strived for the brightest lights and biggest bucks. It is Marquez' hunger that may make the difference.

Against Terdsak Jandaeng and Jimrex Jaca, Marquez didn't just go for the win -- he decided to be victorious in style. Whether it's due to his slowing down and being hit more or if it is a conscientious effort to send a message to fans, the decision makers and his fellow boxers, Marquez is literally -- and finally -- making an impact.

Barrera, meanwhile, can no longer flash back to boxing and retain an advantage. In Barrera's first bout against Rocky Juarez, the scorecards were too close for comfort. Barrera showed his scientific side in the rematch, the style that has kept his career going even while his pay-per-view buy rates are low.

It's hard to predict the fight. We could end up with a boxing match or a brawl, and we could also end up with one man as a boxer and the other as a puncher -- and it's unsure which man will be which.

But Marquez has more to gain. Both he and Barrera want a rematch against Manny Pacquiao -- a bout that will be a highly anticipated megafight, should the Pacquiao/Top Rank/Golden Boy litigation situation ever be resolved.

It's Marquez, however, who fought in relative poverty compared to the checks Barrera was cashing in. Marquez has more to gain and more to lose. Both men have accomplished so much, but Marquez desires so much more -- that desire should propel Juan Manuel Marquez to victory.

Tim Smith - This is an incredible matchup. You look at each man's work against Pacquiao and Marquez weathered that storm a lot better than Barrera. That doesn't mean Barrera can't handle Marquez. I'm not sure how much Barrera has left in the tank. But I believe he has just enough to get past Marquez. Barrera in a split decision.

CompuBox – Juan Manuel Marquez by split decision

Patrick Kehoe - "Not sure why I feel like I am going out on a limb picking Marquez to decision Barrera. Maybe it's because Barrera's losses came when he faced pressurizing power and Barrera is not one to be out boxed, not normally. Both fighters may be 33, but it's Marquez with the bit between his teeth and his entire career to validate; now that's motivation! If the judges can look at this fight with ANYTHING like objective rationality, a stretch I admit, then this might be Marquez's time to prove a point.

In a battle of the jab and counter pot shotting, Marquez edges Barrera over the distance. Let's hope one or both of them get up some attitude somewhere over the 12 rounds so we don't fall asleep waiting for a classic fight to break out amid all the technically aesthetic boxing!"

Brent Matteo Alderson - This fight isn't really a big deal for Barrera. It's not as big as the Naseem Hamed fight or his second and third fights with erik Morales. In comparison it's huge for Juan Manuel. It's his first time headlining a major pay per view and its a chance for him to make everything that's gone wrong with his career right. A victory for Juan Manuel will vindicate his career as well as his career choices because it will finally help establish his legacy and put him in a position to fight against Golden Boy's vast stable of talented 130-pounders. Plus Marco has been around so long and has already established himself as one of the top five Mexican fighters of all time. Marquez isn't a make or break fight for him. Also Barrera has had so many wars that you figure that they have to catch up to him sometime and I think it's going to happen tomorrow.

I like Juan Manuel in the fight, but please afterwards don't claim that Marquez was always better than Barrera and Morales because he wasn't. But he ist right now. I was at Barrera-McKinney and the first Morales fight and even though Barrera is still a great technician, he's slowed down quite a bit.

Bradley Yeh - One look at Barerra’s record and you're unmistakably presented with a man that is an expert puncher - a master blaster of the fight game. Barerra has just about done it all. If there's more to do in boxing than Barerra has achieved it is probably defined only in weight divisions out of reach of Marco’s featherweight frame, or by the ominous name of “Manny Pacquio”.

Rocky Juarez recently lasted the distance twice with Barerra. The second time was a complete shutout. Marquez is easily as good if not better than Juarez. Marquez also has all the experience that Juarez may have lacked the second time when Juarez’ offensive maneuvers were forensically dissected by Barerra the master-craft-Mexican-boxer.

Marquez is more likely to embrace a technical and tactical battle for the same given amount of received power pressure than Barerra. Whereas Barerra loves to, and has mostly made a legend of himself by, putting his opponents through the shredder until they capitulate or lose consciousness. Such is his fight plan’s muscularity.

History shows long distance punchers possessing superior mobility have had success with Barerra. Junior Jones and Pacman are two examples.

Marquez clearly has movement and a fine sense of distance. A case can also be made for his punching power, as Marquez’ KO percentage is better than Junior Jones and Barerra’s. It’s also equal to Pacquio’s. Barerra isn’t a slouch in the KO department either, with a 61% KO record.

Because Marquez has shown with Barerra destroyer Pacquio that he can manage the risk of superior speed and superior power to Barerra, to win against Marquez Barerra must alternate between his styles to ensure Marquez doesn't find his comfort zone in this fight. If Barerra can find a way to make his experience count and do this he will be successful. But as wide as the experiences gap between them may be it is somewhat offset, I believe, by Marquez’s less demanding schedule, his trainer, and Marquez’s all round ring savvy.

I am not saying Barerra is lost in the ring here either. But I am saying Marquez is a real handful.

Arguably Barerra came to his zenith with his shut out embarrassment of Naseem Hamed. If there ever was another fighter that could have handed Naseem Hamed defeat on the same day Barerra did, it was Marquez. Marquez was a mandatory that Hamed had selectively overlooked on more than one occasion.

To prevail, Barerra will need to alternate styles and fight both like he did in his matches with Morales, and also as the matador as he displayed against Juarez the 2nd time. The approach has value in its ability to remove any predictability that may be carefully recorded by Beristain in his studies.

In addition with the risk factor that Marquez genuinely presents, it should also be noted, that that there has probably not been a more dangerous combination of, era and opponent for Barerra, than right now with Marquez.

If Barerra successfully overcomes the Marquez challenge this weekend then the 68-fight champion will surely be a frontrunner to be mentioned with Salvador Sanchez and Chavez in the years to come when great Mexican fighting heroes are remembered.

Locked into war with another heroic Mexican, Barerra’s pride will reign slightly above pre-fight policy and plans. Along with it a slight loss of purpose will creep in to his angered actions. Barerra will chose to fight hard for the Mexican fan purists and their boxing hearts that have forever been infatuated with fighting styles that have shed unnecessary technique during their evolution. To the crowds delight, Barerra will sit down on punches and earn the respect of his fellow fighting compatriot.

The development of Marquez’s defense in almost equal proportions to his offence will be the key difference this weekend. Marquez’s defense will safe guard from excessive energy depletions associated with being the recipient of Barerra’s fistic benevolence. Also it will allow him to comfortably attain residency at precise locations and distances, from where he will execute economy of motion and land powerfully.

As much as I don’t like to predict against MAB my logic says Marquez wins this one by either KO or points.

Sergio Martinez - The Juan Manuel Marquez-Marco Antonio Barrera contest has the makings of a great fight as both of these Mexican hombres have a ton of pride and skills to match. Barrera, who is so multifaceted that no one really knows which version to expect, has said that he will got to war on Saturday. This game plan will backfire on the Mexican legend as Juan Manuel Marquez is possibly the best counter puncher of this generation and an all-time great in that same category. It will be a chess match early on with Marco winning a lot of the early stanzas. Juan Manuel will turn the bout midway with his precision punching and will stop Barrera late in what is sure to be a great boxing match.

Jose “OnFire” Aguirre – Juan Manuel Marquez by KO in 8.

Tom Donelson - Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez are both 33 and on the downside of their careers. While both fighters still have enough left for a great fight and still rank among the best, both fighters have seen their share of wars.

Marquez's advantages is that he is a well-schooled boxer and this is his opportunity to make a name ofr himself among Mexican fighters. But, Barrera is also well schooled fighter and Barrera is one of those fighters who’s been able to change his tactics over the years to reflect his opponent and age. Barrera has shown to be a excellent boxer in his own right and certainly can brawl if need be. That is what makes this a great fight.

The one thing that Marquez has in his favor is that he had a draw against Pacquiao whereas Pacquiao dominated Barrera. Marquez showed his ability in the Pacquiao fight, not just a great chin in surviving that disastrous first round, but he changed his game plan in the later rounds to produce a draw. And Marquez has been involved in fewer wars than Barrera and has a few more miles left in the tank.

And there is one final thing to consider. Barrera’ legacy among Mexican fans is already secure and Marquez has never able to gain the same following as either Morales or Barrera. One reason has been his boxing style, which resembled American movement as opposed to the go for broke brawling Mexican style.

For Marquez, this is his final opportunity to show Mexican fans that he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with either Barrera or Morales when judging great Mexican fighters of this generation. Lose and the perception that he was just behind his fellow Mexican fighters would be reinforced. Win and his claim to greatness will be secure. From a legacy point of view, this fight means more to Marquez than Barrera. That is why I am giving Marquez the slight edge.

Larry Tornambe - Barrera's pride should carry him through the rough times that Marquez will present. Look for Berrera to come on late on his way to a decision win.

Mike Casey - Two wonderful fighters will step into the ring at the MGM for what should be a wonderful fight. We know that Marco Antonio and Juan Manuel are both blessed with great talent and courage and can overcome adversity. Marquez fought with incredible fire and courage in surviving a first round nightmare to take Manny Pacquiao to a draw. In this writer's opinion, Marquez should have been awarded the decision in that one.

The great Barrera seems eternal, yet both fighters, I feel, are now beginning to live on borrowed time. I just have a hunch that Barrera still has a couple of great fights left in him and is the superior talent of the two in all-round skill. A tough and uncompromising battle looks inevitable, quite possibly a real thriller.

The pick here is Barrera on a bruising unanimous decision or late TKO.

Jaime Estrada - The prediction is a flip of a coin in the air. I have to go with Juan Manuel Marquez and by KO.

Richard McManus - Barrera has the experience and skill to handle the technical prowess of Marquez but I think Marquez might take the cue from his brother and take the necessary chances to do what it takes to win here. Besides, for all his skill, it’s about time Marquez took some chances in the ring. If he freezes up here, he might not deserve another shot.

Marquez by Unanimous Decision

Troy Ondrizek – Juan Manuel Marquez by unanimous decision.

Alphonso Costello - Don’t expect a full-fledged blood and guts brawl to break out on Saturday night. It should be a tactical, skillful and counter-punching chess match. It’s a very even match-up, but I’m leaning toward Juan Manuel Marquez in this fight. Marco Antonio Barrera is slowly declining and he can no longer withstand the punishment of an all-out slugfest. If Barrera brawls with Marquez he will get knocked out. Marquez is a skilled counter-punching surgeon with fast hands. He should beat Barrera to the counter-punch.

Juan Manuel Marquez by decision.

Terence Dooley - For me Barrera is going to have a little too much for Marquez at this level. He will know how to pull the energy to punch out at the right time. As long as Marquez boxes his game Marco will be able to pace the fight.

There will be a lot of quality on show but Marco will win on points.

Eric Alan Rineer - I'm taking Juan Manuel Marquez in this fight, which should be a classic. You've got two champions squaring off, two warriors who have thrilled us time and time again. I think Marco Antonio Barrera has a slight edge in power. He could do a lot of damage early in the fight. He is still, at age 33, an extremely solid fighter but I believe he's up against a hungry and very determined Juan Manuel Marquez. Juan Manuel has wanted this fight for years and I believe he will take control of the fight in the latter stages of the bout. It should be very entertaining but I like Juan Manuel by a split-decision.

Adam Pollack - Not really sure who will win. Barrera at his best is clearly better than Marquez, who has never been all that great in the big one. That said, I think Marco is basically shot and has seen his better days. Marquez has been looking good lately, been taking more risks, and beating down his opponents more. More importantly, he has a lot more left in the tank of his career than does Marco. IF Marquez fights hard and at a fast pace, he can win. If he lays back and allows Marco to box, he loses a decision. My only other concern for this one is the big cut Marquez obtained in his last fight. If it re-opens, it could cause a premature termination.

Amy Green - Barrera will rise to the occasion and pull out the title win against Marquez. This won't be a dull battle, with the number one and number two Mexican warriors both bringing their best to claim the WBC super feather title. Barerra will earn the victory which means Marquez will be forced to re-evaluate his career and decide what road he and Nacho Beristain should take next.

Ron Gallegos - It seems that time and time again, Barrera has been written off especially following a lackluster performance such as that against Pacquiao. Who didn't feel he was done at that point. My own feelings were that all warriors no matter how great their skills, are finally vanquished by time and years in the ring. Barrera has had many long years of unsurpassed battles in the ring.

Two Mexican boxers with all the heart in the world, only one will get the nod and that's Barrera.

Ernest Gabion - Followed both fighters since the Forum Boxing days so as a big fan of both it is hard to pick against one or the other. However, I do like what Marco has done at 130 in terms of boxing and utilizing his skills. We have an unknown in terms of how Marquez will do at 130. Also, add in the factor that Marquez really hasn't gone over the top in big time fights and I see Barrera's experience being the factor. Barrera by unanimous decision.

TK Stewart - I don't think this will be that competitive of a fight. The bottom line is that Barrera is the best tactician in the game right now. His jab and movement are brilliant and he can handle an opponent who brawls or one that boxes.

Barrera is a great fighter while Marquez is a very good fighter and that will be the difference. Juan Manuel Marquez' tissue-paper like skin will probably begin to bleed during the Mexican national anthem. I think Barrera will handle any rushes that Marquez may offer up. Marquez' only chance is to force Barrera back and never give him a second of rest. Marquez is naturally cautious so I don't think he'll rush Barrera very often. I like Barrera and his left jab to win by stoppage because of cuts to Marquez' brittle skin. Probably somewhere around the seventh round.

Joe Harrison - This will be a great fight. Two great warriors who will do anything to win. I think Barrera is the better all-around boxer. This bout will go the distance with Barrera coming out on top. Barrera by unanimous decision.

John Hively - It's a tough fight to predict. Should go down to the wire. I like Barrera by a nose.

Paul Gallegos - This is going to be a good one. A real Mexican war with the entire country on the line. Barrera brings the experience, the people of DF and that X-factor that he always seems to have when it comes to this type of a fight. On the other side of the ring, Marquez is one of those guys who has the ability to adjust to an opponent's strengths or weakness' during the middle of fight or even a middle of a round. Marquez is also extremely crafty when it comes to the ability to control the pace of a fight.

Neither man has ever taken a backward step in a fight, even though both men have tasted defeat and the canvas before. I don't expect them to start fighting defensively now.

Marquez, despite the fact that Barrera will train his ass off for this one, is going to be too strong and too composed to let this one slip away. Marquez will even put Barrera down a couple of times before a seventh round stoppage.

The most interested person in the arena that night will be the Pacman who will be hoping that both men destroy each other.

Ronnie Nathanielsz - If Barrera keeps his word and fight like the Barrera of the Erik Morales trilogy then it should be a great fight and he should prevail. However, if he decides to fight the way he fought Rocky Juarez in their rematch then Marquez will have the edge but the bout could be a letdown.

I figure Barrera is a little too smart, hits a little too hard for Marquez to win but having said that one can never forget that is a master counter-puncher Marquez.

One thing for sure Golden Boy Promotions put up the next best thing to a Manny Pacquiao-Barrera rematch despite all of Bob Arum's claims that the fight would never happen. They deserve to be congratulated and hope Pacquiao gets by Jorge Solis and then takes on the winner. It should be a dandy.

Sammy Rozenberg - Marco Antonio Barrera by KO in 8 rounds.

James Blears - The dubious prize for the winner of this mouth and eye-watering clash will be a re-match against Manny Pacquiao.

A matching of Mexican might of this magnitude has all the hallmarks of being truly historic, if Marco and Juan Manuel decide to throw the boxing chessboard into the air and slug as well as jab, then it'll be a kitchen sink classic.

Marco has by far the greater experience at this rarefied championship level. That said, he's also had three wars with Erik Morales, undergone a fearful mauling from Manny Pacquiao and come through quite an ordeal with Rocky Juarez in their first encounter, not to mention the problems against Junior Jones. But he's also shown his technical versatility being able to hammer on the front foot or box on the back one. I'm very glad to see that Marco's finally gone back to the sloops of Big Bear to hone his body for an ordeal, which is going to be awesome.

Juan Manuel coped a lot better with the shockwave assault of Manny bouncing back thrice to force a well deserved draw, but that was another fight and styles make them. Juan will have to abandon his pot-shotting counter puncher style and go on the attack against Marco forcing the pace to a higher and draining tempo, which if successful could pay dividends as the fight wears on. When he's done this recently Juan's aggression has been successful, but it's also got him cut up quite badly and shown that his face is vulnerable to damage.

Marco is aging like a fine bottle of wine, but the fizz and crackle has gone out of his boxing. I believe that Juan Manuel is hungrier, appreciably quicker and ready to go for broke with an opportunity that has surprisingly presented itself and certainly won't come again.

If Juan can remain uncut and force the pace throughout, he'll come through the ordeal of fire to win a very hard fought unanimous decision. It promises to be one...or even "Juan" helluva fight, which will be talked about for ages, and has the potential to win fight of the year, at a canter.

Cliff Rold - Marquez has been in fewer wars and is a harder puncher. He also may be a hair faster. The way to beat Barrera hasn't changed: catch him coning in and get there first. I think Marquez will. Barrera is already going to the Hall; Marquez wants to get there. Look for Juan Manuel to carry the evening with a come from behind knockout in the final round.

Ronan Keenan - The fight could either be a tactical chess-match or a classic Mexican war. If its the former, expect Marquez to win a close but clear decision - he's a better technical boxer than Barrera is or ever was. In a war Marquez may just nick a decision - he's fresher and knows its his last shot at any form of greatness.

Rusty Rubin - Never count Barrera out, but I'll take the harder puncher, Marquez, by KO.

Rick Reeno - I don't think Barrera has enough left in the tank to fight an all-out war against Marquez. Barrera's strategy will be to box and conserve his energy for the later rounds. Unless Marquez has been hiding under a rock for the last year, he knows that in order to beat Barrera, he needs to attack early.

If Rocky Juarez would have stepped up the pace a few rounds earlier in his first meeting with Barrera, he would have likley won a decision that night. Because Juarez let Barrera control the pace for most of the early rounds, he was unable to pile up enough points in the late rounds to win.

Barrera barely had to break a sweat in the rematch because Juarez did nothing to push the fight. Marquez needs to push the fight and I expect him to push the fight. I look for Marquez to win a unanimous decision, or even stop Barrera in the late rounds.

03-17-2007, 02:42 PM
Barrera vs. Marquez - The Last Rounds of Forum Boxing
By Steve Kim from Max Boxing

Antonio Curtis will be among the most interested observers of Saturday night’s showdown between Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. During his tenure (1984-99) as the matchmaker at the now defunct Forum Boxing, Inc., he helped develop both fighters as young prospects as they matured into world-class performers.

To him, this is Forum Boxing's last hurrah.

"Two weeks ago I watched the fight between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez, two kids that I brought up as youngsters. I'm watching the fight and I feel bad for Vazquez, happy for Marquez. But I was really hurt for Vazquez because it's two good kids, and it’s the same way with Saturday night. I'll be watching that fight. I won’t be rooting for anyone. I wish that both of them can win."

Forum Boxing, which was owned by Jerry Buss, was a staple of the west coast boxing scene for years. With their bi-monthly Monday night shows at the Great Western Forum, they regularly had well-contested tournaments, featured great rivalries like the trilogy between Daniel Zaragoza and Paul Banke, and promoted Mexican stalwarts like Humberto Gonzalez. Barrera was their last great fighter.

In the early 90's, Curtis was tipped off to 'the Baby Faced Assassin' by a Forum colleague.

"Even before the first time I saw Barrera, Carlos Avilas, he was doing a fight in Mexico and he said, 'Tony, I saw a kid named Marco Antonio Barrera. At the time he was like 12-0 and he said, 'He's the type of fighter that you like. He's your type of fighter.' I go, 'Oh, yeah?'"

Not too long after he would see Barrera perform on a Spanish network.

"He fought some kid three weeks after and he knocked the kid out," said Curtis of the then jr. bantamweight banger from Mexico City. "At the time I was doing a 115-pound tournament and I contacted Armando Rayon in Mexico, I called him about this kid. He said, 'Well, I'm going to talk to his dad.' He talked to him and his trainer and they wanted to put him in the tournament. But when they sent in their papers I found out he was only 17 years old. So I couldn't do anything."

But soon, Barrera would come back into his life.

"About a year passed and somehow he and Ricardo Maldonado got together and he said, "I got a kid named Marco Antonio Barrera. He's a helluva fighter,'" recalled Curtis of the then-influential manager who consistently supplied talent to the Forum. "I said, 'I know who the kid is.' He said, 'I'm going to sign him up. Would you want to bring him here and use him?' I said, 'Hell, yeah! I tried to get him for the tournament.' He probably would've won that 115-pound tournament."

In November of 1992, Barrera would make his Inglewood debut by stopping Esteban Ayala in four. After one more outing to close out the year, he was kept active by the Forum, with six bouts in 1993 (alternating between the Forum and Mexico) and another six bouts the following year, when he'd start to perform in Las Vegas. His final bout of 1994 came as the main event performer on a local station in Southern California, KCAL9, which had a regularly televised series with Forum Boxing.

It was then that he truly opened Curtis' eyes.

"I knew he was something special, but the fight that really convinced me was when he fought Eddie Cook on KCAL. Cook put him through a test, Cook extended him, hit him. Before he was doing all the hitting, this time Cook put it to him and he answered back. That was when I knew," explained Curtis. Barrera would stop the gutsy Cook in eight exciting heats. "I thought he was ready to fight anybody. After that fight I would not hesitate to put him with anybody."

In 1995, he would continue to climb up the ladder in defeating Daniel Jimenez (to win the WBO jr. featherweight title), Frankie Toledo, Mauricio Diaz, Agapito Sanchez and Eddie Croft. A solid crew of veterans.

Then to kick off his seventh year as a professional fighter (at a ripe old age of 22) a bold leap would be taken.

Kennedy McKinney.

"That was the first 'Boxing After Dark' show,'" said Curtis of that bout, which took place in February of 1996 at the Great Western Forum, for what turned out to be a historic night of boxing.

"We were approached by Lou DiBella, that they wanted to start a new creation, 'Boxing After Dark' and he says, 'Well, we got Kennedy McKinney', who at the time, of course, HBO was pushing. And they called and said, 'Are you interested in putting in Barrera?' We knew it was going to be a tough fight for Barrera. I called Maldonado and said, 'There's a new thing starting, 'Boxing After Dark'. They want us to do the first show and they want to put Barrera in there but they want us to fight McKinney. Maldonado didn't hesitate to say yeah."

McKinney, a former U.S. Olympian, was not only a skilled boxer, but a guy who could crack with both hands. Having already built a sizable fan-base in the Latino-rich Southern California region, this was a risky proposition. Many others would've shied away from the assignment.

"I was surprised, I was really surprised and Marco took the fight," Curtis said. "Because I was hesitant about putting him in there with Kennedy. He had just started fighting at 122 at the time. He had maybe two, three fights at 122 and we stepped him up with a guy who could knock a brick wall down with a left-hook or right-hand."

In a stirring affair that set the tone for HBO's late night series, Barrera would overcome a trip to the canvas by knocking down the courageous McKinney five times before this classic bout was waved off in the 12th and final round.

The rest as they say, is history. Outside of a hiccup or two (versus the likes of Junior Jones and Manny Pacquiao), Barrera became one of the generation’s best prizefighters. He would engage in an unforgettable three fight series with Erik Morales (winning two), and he would expose Naseem Hamed, in addition to winning titles at 126 and 130 pounds and earning pound-for-pound accolades.

His first-class flight to Canastota is already booked.

The same can not be said- at least not yet- for Marquez, who need a win over a Barrera to validate a career, which is accomplished, but at the same time disappointing.

“When we got together with Juan Manuel he had about three, four, five fights," Curtis remembers. "I found out about him because he was sparring with Daniel Zaragoza. Zaragoza was Nacho Beristain's guy, he was the breadwinner at the time. I was in Mexico City for a Julio Cesar Chavez fight and I saw him spar for the first time. I went by the Romanza Gym that Nacho has. And I saw him spar with Zaragoza and he was a six-round fighter and he gave Zaragoza all the hell he wanted. So Nacho said, 'Well, Tony, I'm going to get a visa for this kid. Could you get him on some cards?' So that's what we did, we brought him on a card."

Marquez would make his initial foray at the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings in January of 1995, halting Martin Ochoa in one round. Four bouts later he struggled and was downright lucky to beat Julian Wheeler with the aid of some questionable officiating. Chalk it up to a young fighter learning some lessons against a slick, crafty veteran. But in April of 1996, he would begin to hit his stride.

"When I really thought a lot of him is when I put him in his first main event against the ex-WBA champion, Julio Gervacio," said Curtis of that bout at the Anaheim Pond. On that bill he actually shared co-main event status with Nestor Garza, a hot prospect at the time, who eventually held a version of the 122-pound title for a short spell. "He fought him into the eighth round and then he knocked him out with style. I thought that was his toughest test. I said, 'Well, this kid can go places."

After a cadre of career-developing wins, by 1999 he had earned the top spot in the WBO featherweight rankings. A title shot loomed. Only problem? The title was held by Hamed, a cash-cow for an organization who was intent on not taking him to any slaughterhouse.

As Marquez languished as the top contender, the WBO hemmed and hawed and did everything in their power to deny him his rightful shot at the belt.

"That was really frustrating for me; that was frustrating for Forum Boxing because of all the work that we did," Curtis would say. "We were the number one contender for two years. Paco Valcarcel (the WBO president) gave us all the dance. They made us come over to Puerto Rico. They were supposed to have what you call an 'executive committee meeting.' We went down there and we presented our case. It was a kangaroo court."

Usually, when a sanctioning body convenes a group, it's usually an organized mugging. And in this case, all the usual machinations were in place to protect 'the Prince'. The WBO would go against their own regulations - and then create new ones - to make sure Hamed would not be in the same ring as Marquez. It was eventually ruled that a unification bout would take precedence over a mandatory challenger.

So how did Hamed end up fighting Augie Sanchez (a non-titlist) in the summer of 2000 instead of Marquez? While he was slated to face Daniel Jimenez around the same time?

"When they said they were going to make a unification, I forgot who the hell they were supposed to be fighting. What happened is this, as soon as they told us no, we took another fight. As soon as we took another fight, then they called us when we had already signed for another fight and then they wanted us to fight Hamed," Curtis recalled, of those events. "Now, I wanted to pull that fight, to fight Hamed. But Nacho said no. He would've gotten a half-million for the fight and Nacho turned that fight down."

It would one of many decision made by Beristain the manager that would be questioned. Many believe that Marquez's toughest opposition has been his own management.

"Yes," agreed Curtis, who is actually very fond of Beristain. "He's been tougher than Hamed, Barrera or whoever else he could fight. He's made some bad decisions, but he thought he was right. He has convictions so I can't get mad at him. I won't criticize him. But I disagreed with him about some of the decisions he made. But it's not only him, it takes two and Juan Manuel went along with him."

Forum Boxing's last show at their arena would take place in 1999, as Buss decided to stop funding the operation. With that, while they continued to represent Barrera through 2003, other fighters were let go, like Marquez.

"We didn't ask him for a nickel. John Jackson (the president of Forum Boxing) released him, which I didn't agree with. But then John wanted to. He said, 'Tony, the only thing we can offer right now is KCAL fights and then we'd be doing him an injustice to keep him. We only had the KCAL shows, the arena was sold."

By 2001, Marquez would be fighting under the Top Rank banner, where he would go on to win world titles, but outside of a hotly contested draw against Manny Pacquiao in 2004, defining events have eluded him.

Curtis was stunned that Barrera-Marquez was consummated.

"I'm very surprised," he would admit, "because after the last fight, Marquez fought in November, I never thought that fight would happen because Barrera said he didn't want to fight no other Mexican. I was surprised they took the fight. And the reason they took the fight was because Pacquiao is not available - he's with Top Rank - and they have whatever fights they have between them. So that left Barrera no options if he wants to get paid."

The Forum's association with Barrera would come to an end after April of 2003.

Curtis would reveal: "Our last fight with Forum Boxing and Barrera, the opponent they asked for was Pacquiao. And we said, 'No, make Pacquiao for pay-per-view. Build him up and make him pay-per-view and everybody gets paid.' And they said OK and we ended up fighting Kevin Kelley.

"The next fight De La Hoya and them, they got Barrera. The first fight, they got him knocked off."

Against none other than 'the Pac Man'.

"When we had Barrera, there were two guys that we didn't have on our list - Juan Manuel Marquez and the other one was Manny Pacquaio. And it wasn't because I didn't feel Barrera could beat them but I think their styles, he wasn't going to look too good fighting these guys."

03-17-2007, 02:44 PM