Pacquiao-Barrera Fails to Ignite

by: Matthew Hurley
manny pacquiao, marco antonio barrera

In a long anticipated rematch between Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao the early fireworks many expected fizzled out fast. Instead of explosions the bout provided intermittent periods of combustion enveloped in a rather dull tactical match that saw a wary Barrera try to stay on the outside and establish his jab while Pacquiao relentlessly pursued. The lack of sustained drama often sapped the enthusiasm from the crowd and even seemed to lull Pacquiao into complacency at times.

The early rounds were tense mainly because of the anticipation of Pacquiao striking home and forcing Barrera to fight back. It opened up sporadically in the fourth and fifth but soon slipped back into a tactical match after Barrera’s corner implored him not to exchange, “not yet”. If one were to intuit the meaning of that it would be that Barrera’s plan was to drag an unprepared Pacquiao into the later rounds. But when has Pacquiao ever slowed down? Four rounds later the same men in the corner were imploring Barrera to start punching.

Meanwhile, in Pacquiao’s corner, Freddie Roach was trying to keep Pacquiao focused. Manny began talking to someone in the crowd and laughing, refusing to listen to Roach. Going into the eleventh Freddie told Pacquiao not to get lazy. It was sound advice because the round contained the most sustained action of the fight and, once again, Barrera’s sometimes blatant bending of the rules struck again when he hit Pacquiao on the break with a big right hand. Pacquiao, who didn’t see the punch coming, was legitimately stunned and referee Tony Weeks deducted a point from Barrera for the foul. In terms of the scoring on the cards the fight was already decided by that point.pacquiao-barrera fight

But according to Barrera, whose pride never allows him to admit he was bested, said after the decision that he believed he won. He felt his jab controlled the fight despite the fact that he was almost constantly going backwards and his punch output was dwarfed by his opponent’s.

“I lost my head in a few rounds,” Barrera said in a post fight interview. “I shouldn’t have lost my head. I should have boxed more. But I think I won the most rounds.”

For his part Pacquiao often seemed annoyed that Barrera wasn’t engaging him and that he tried tie him up whenever he charged in. In several clinches Pacquiao began talking into Barrera’s ear and at the end of rounds he would glare at Barrera that glare seeming to ask, “Why won’t you fight?"

Barrera, however, knew that he could not engage Pacquiao as Erik Morales did because his fate would most probably have been the same as “El Terrible’s”. Barrera, a smarter, better defensive fighter than Morales knew that in order to keep Pacquiao at bay he had to fight tentative and pick his spots. Barrera fights with his head whereas Morales fights with his heart. Still the results were, in the end, the same – a win for Manny Pacquiao.

The final scorecards read 118 –109 (twice) and 115 – 112 all for Manny Pacquiao.

Barrera announced his retirement after the bout and ended his career with a record of 66 – 6 (42). Pacquiao meanwhile still has several big bouts awaiting him, most notably a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez the WBC 130-pound champion who he fought to a draw.

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