Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez not only fought for the WBC Super Featherweight title, but also for the bragging rights of an entire country. Just who would emerge as Mexico’s top fighter on this night?
Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Juan Manuel Marquez
Both men have been at the top of Mexico’s favorite fighter list for years but Barrera’s spot is undoubtedly higher. After bouts with Erik Morales, Naseem Hamed, Johnny Tapia, and Paulie Ayala, Barrera has a higher profile resume than Marquez, who is making his first PPV main event appearance.
The crowd was buzzing to start this fight and the boxers did not withhold any excitement. The two men promised a brawl but pre-fight talk is sometimes dismissed as hype. Marquez showed he intended to make good on his prediction for a KO but Barrera wasn’t backing away as they traded heavy blows in the center of the ring during the second round. Each round laid a foundation for a more exciting round to follow. By the fifth round, Marquez had noticeable swelling near his left eye.
The building drama came to a head in the 7th round. Marquez was all over Barrera and had the champion in trouble. Being the warrior he is, Barrera can never be counted out and caught Marquez with a right that put Marquez to a knee. That’s when things got crazy. Marquez had a glove and a knee on the canvas, two grounds for a knockdown, and referee Jay Nady ruled it a slip. It was clearly from a punch. Before Nady can even make his ruling however, Barrera has already thrown a punch at a prone Marquez. Nady is having none of that and deducts a point from Barrera. So what should have been a 10-8 round for Barrera became a 10-8 round for Marquez. Absolutely horrible in a fight of this magnitude. Barrera is to blame for losing his composure but Nady just can’t blow calls like that. Had Nady called the knockdown as he was supposed to, he would have immediately directed Barrera to a neutral corner where he presumably wouldn’t have sucker-punched anyone.
The fight was awesome to this point and had a great momentum building but the call killed it. Marquez doesn’t look sharp in the eighth round. Not too many people look groggy after a slip, Jay Nady. Marquez steps it up in the 10th round landing a couple of nice combinations. Barrera keeps it close in the championship rounds and the two men slug it out to the final bell. I have a sick feeling that the 7th round point controversy is going to effect the outcome of the fight.
The scores come in and it is a unanimous decision for Juan Manuel Marquez. But wait, a closer look at the cards reveal that the scores were 118-109, and 116-111 on the other two cards. That’s astounding. I can see 116-111 for Marquez if I’m feeling extremely generous, but 118-109 is insane. I have no problem with Marquez winning, but I could see Barrera as the winner as well. When that is the case, the cards shouldn’t be as wide as they were for this fight. A rematch is virtually a lock for these two but it may not be immediate. Manny Pacquiao looms as an opponent for either man and it would seem Marquez would get first dibs as the winner tonight.
– Daniel Ponce De Leon retained his WBO Super Bantamweight Title with a unanimous decision over Gerry Penalosa. The scores were 119-109 twice and 120-108. The crowd loudly disagreed with the decision. The scorecards were odd all night.
– Demetrius Hopkins was given a gift unanimous decision over Steve Forbes. The fight was closer than the scorecards indicated (two were 118-110) but the win went to Demetrius Hopkins, who moved to 26-0-1. The crowd booed this decision too.
– Diasdado Gabi defeated Antonio Maria Cochero by second round TKO.
– Juan Alberto Rosas lost a unanimous decision to Sergio Espinoza.
– Eduardo Escobedo scored a 3rd round KO of Edel Ruiz.
– Anthony Martinez put Jesus Villareal away in the second round with a TKO.
– Ashanti Jordan wanted to be somewhere else so he knocked out Eric Molina in the first round.