Chronicles of the master class Mexican hombres
By Bradley Yeh from Boxing Scene
Of all the performing arts, martial artistry is the most dynamic.
Despite the fact that there's thousands of serious cult fans captivated with boxing’s unique juxtaposition of, glory, fear, and uncertainty; boxing is a sport for which its players can always find a reason to leave.
Along with diametrically opposed requisites of extraordinary brilliance and tenacity to compete even at top-level amateur shows, boxing will always remain as a challenging activity for the disparity between, attitude, aspirations and real ability, to persist concealed in either a partly or wholly form. For good reason to, as despite the controversies surrounding integrity within boxing, inside the ring there is no hiding your true capabilities.
As modest as the claim may be, it’s true that there's easier places to fake it than inside a prize fighting ring.
Those that have tried their gloved hand inside the ropes, whether they be casual spectators, passionate devotees, proletarian participants, or even those from the sectarian church of prize-fight boxing, have all at one point been struck with the profound awareness that, intense training, sparring, perpetual competition, and, the lack of easy, recognition, breaks and financial returns, presents a severely sobering lifestyle constraint.
Particularly for a sport that appears only enjoyable if you dominate.
Big fights, the ones where you catch yourself dreaming, pondering if you would come out for the bell fighting yourself, even if you had you stayed in the gym for all these years continuing to acquire all the form of your boxing heroes.
If any, those are the fights that hold genuine ability to momentarily electrify fans into secluded optimistic reassessments of adolescent sporting aspirations and decisions.
The conclusion should then arrive with little surprise that the truly captivating fights are the ones that sufficiently install fans with enough enthusiasm to temporarily believe all the reasons boxing had been originally dismissed as a career choice had briefly disappeared like ice in the sun.
If only for the duration of the main event.
Charismatic fights like this allow us to escape and believe that we are capable of surmounting obstacles that have proven themselves to be larger than life, and for this very reason they are the fights committed to memory as classics.
Rightly so, as some things are not easily forgotten, and when one accomplishes that which another could not, even if their exodus from the same activity was fair and justified, many often feel obliged to donate attention and admire. And why not when personal hardship and consistent life compromises guarantee that the respect and grooves of our memory run deep.
One day a successful middleweight boxer invited me to come over and watch a little Mexican dynamo fight.
That little Mexican was Marco Antonio Barrera and the fight was Barrera vs. McKinney.
Prior to that time I had never heard of Marco Antonio Barrera, but the fight I was shown left me in no doubt it wouldn’t be the last, as Barrera vs. McKinney is a contest that is easily as entertaining as the first battle between Corrales and Castillo.
It can be effortlessly said with confidence that there are not many modern era fights that better define, sheer determination and willpower than the twelve three minute Barrera vs. McKinney sessions. In that superlative contest both men treated everyone to a blistering and brutal showcase as they campaigned for the WBO super bantamweight title.
McKinney at the time had previously served the sport at an amateur level with honor and was in the process of throwing down a new regime in the punch for pay ranks. Had it not been for Barrera that night, McKinney’s dreams may have become reality.
Barrera’s unyielding character was noticeably signed and evident on his otherwise child-like appearance as he raised himself from the canvass against McKinney in round eleven to win by TKO in the twelfth round, but not before McKinney was dropped twice in that round.
Barrera’s unparalleled resolve that night was hard and malicious. He would soon become famous for that trait.
McKinney himself would later indirectly avenge the defeat Barrera delivered, as in later years he KO’d Junior Jones, who himself wrote a tidy draft proposal on how to defeat Barrera. For all the damage Jones caused, he couldn’t stop the thrust of Barrera’s career as a Mexican hombre, and as Barrera’s career matured, particularly during his performance’s peak pressure loads Barrera’s smooth endearing features carried a trace of menacing resolve.
In action with this expression Barrera lent new authority to the term “spiteful punching”, and for that we called him the “”Baby Faced Assassin”.
One look at Barrera’s record and you're unmistakably presented with an expert puncher - a master blaster of the fight game. Barrera has done it all. If there's more to do in boxing than Barrera has achieved it is probably defined in weight divisions out of reach of Marco’s featherweight frame, or by the announcement of rematch with his ominous conqueror “Manny Pacquio”.
Notwithstanding the Pacquio loss, not many would deny that Barrera has been an all time thriller for years. His career has so far eclipsed all those that have shared the ring with him, win lose or draw, and if boxing were a popularity contest governed by cable network executives his recent rival Juan Manuel Marquez would be a bobbing buoy nurturing a sense of personal inequality between gasps for air in the whitewashed wake of Barrera’s momentum.
Overshadowed by Barrera and other Mexican luminaries, Marquez these past years has found little value in the search for solace and sympathy within the dark spaces and shadows cast out by Barrera’s reputation and achievements. Armed with an ultra-totalitarian Mexican mindset and the support framework of esteemed trainer Ignacio Beristain, Marquez’s attitude has been to move forward regardless. Marquez has always displayed more than a few glimpses of boxing brilliance, and whilst Barrera revelled in his own supremacy, Marquez carefully drew plans and to began to create and identify himself as a serious danger in the future house of featherweight fighting.
Whilst Marquez’s ominous featherweight forecast emerged slowly swelling over boxing’s event horizon, most available patriotic attention became further polarized toward Barrera as he violently thrashed about with outclassed victims. As a result Marquez was unable to compete for interest with Barrera. And it would have been foolish to try, as Barrera had already began to peak by then, and the void that Julio Cesar Chavez’s departure had created was fast becoming crowded with Barrera’s ultra-nationalistic Mexican boxing fans.
It was in this way that Barrera became Mexican fight fans dream come true. He was adored both for his unbridled attacks and for openly expressing a devotion to a fight strategy so muscular and determined that it was described glowingly by supporters as the blueprint for an Aztec warlord’s boxing empire. With Barrera you always knew the fighting core was real.
Aside from the fact that there's something gloriously refreshing about the way most Mexicans fight, if you had threateningly mentioned the name Marquez with adrenaline in your voice at this time in Barrera’s career, you would have been met with a full range of expert invalidation.