By Mike Indri
Retired Boxers Foundation
LAS VEGAS - Leading up to this highly anticipated rematch both fighters made promises of victory.
Marcos Antonio Barrera, with the feeling that he may have gotten a very favorable decision in the first fight, stated he would lead Juarez by the hand and teach him a lesson. Juarez still smarting from a title worthy effort in which the only three people that probably didn’t feel he won that unforgettable night were, unfortunately, the judges, confidently said he would be more aggressive this time and fight the best style necessary to win.
Both fighters; one a glorified and established boxing legend, the other a promising young title contender with championship dreams, had their chance at redemption and in boxing’s grandest setting, the Las Vegas MGM Grand, had twelve rounds of championship boxing to fulfill their aspirations and make good on their promises.
For twelve listless and uneventful rounds this past Saturday night Marco Antonio Barrera made good on his promise. For whatever reason, or excuse, Rocky Juarez surely did not.
Featured as the main event, and following three highly exciting and dramatic bouts as part of HBO’s Pay-Per-View fight card, Barrera-Juarez II never came close to the action and spirited fighting of the controversial first fight; in which Barrera escaped with his WBC Super Featherweight belt via split decision. There wasn’t any suspense this time as the scorecards were read out, declaring Barrera the unanimous decision winner. Judges Dave Moretti and Chuck Giampa both scored it 115-113, while Hubert Minn saw it 117-111 for the 32-year-old champion.
Barrera, to his credit, never had to stray from his game plan of boxing and moving. Juarez, who stated he wouldn’t make the same mistake of giving away too many of the early rounds with his cautious approach, actually did just that. While Barrera was content to simply jab away and never get himself into a forced brawl with Juarez, the 10,421 fans surely weren’t happy with the action, or lack thereof, and vocally expressed their displeasure by angrily booing. As the throng of boos cascaded throughout the arena neither fighter felt the need to change their plan of attack.
While Barrera, now 63-4 (42 KO’s) can’t be blamed for doing what he had to do to win, Juarez must be taught it is not simply aggressiveness, but “effective” aggressiveness that wins points with the judges. Juarez (25-3, 18 KO’s) was moving forward for most of the night, yet never landed any substantial punches and simply followed his opponent, getting tagged by 105 Barrera jabs in the process. Throughout the entire bout neither boxer landed a single punch of any consequence, with the possible exception of a Barrera uppercut in the early rounds which effectively led to the closure to Juarez’s right eye by fight’s end.
"I’m the champion and I gave him his boxing lesson,” Barrera proudly exclaimed afterwards. “I used my jabs and moved very fast.” Barrera, one of the greatest fighters in his era and the pride of Mexico, did also say he plans to retire next year, but not before seeking his revenge against Manny Pacquiao in what would certainly be one of the biggest fights in 2006. Pacquiao defeated and dethroned Barrera with an 11th round stoppage in 2004.
The “Too Close To Call” co-feature between WBC Super Bantamweight champion Israel Vazquez and dangerous contender Jhonny Gonzalez was all that the main event wasn’t.
Vazquez came off the deck twice and truly earned his “Magnifico” nickname with a stupendous performance against a truly risky opponent.
After being controlled for most of the first six rounds of the scheduled twelve round defense of his title, Vasquez went to work in round seven and sent Gonzalez to the canvas with a crushing right hand which hurt his 25-year-old foe and had him holding on for dear life until the bell. Rounds eight and nine were much of the same for Vasquez, who pounded away and had Gonzalez fighting off the ropes.
By the end of round nine Gonzalez was bleeding profusely from the nose, his face was puffy and battered, and he appeared in deep trouble. Trailing on all three judge’s scorecards entering round ten Vasquez, himself bruised and bleeding, fought on like a true champion and landed several combinations of body shots followed by a right to the head dropped a weary and damaged Gonzalez, who appeared to be in no condition to continue. The young Gonzalez’s corner smartly threw in the towel, which forced referee Kenny Bayless to call a halt to this spectacular battle of proud Mexican fighters at 2:09 of the tenth round.
Vasquez improved to 41-3, with this awesome victory being his 30th by way of knockout.
A third world championship fight was included in the Golden Boy Promotions, in association with Main Events, event which celebrated the Mexican Independence weekend.
The first fight on the televised HBO Pay-Per-View portion saw Jorge Paez Jr. given all he could handle by Topeka, Kansas native Derrick Campos, who definitely didn’t travel to Las Vegas to lose.
Dropped in round two by a stunning Paez combination, Campos landed his own bombs which hurt the undefeated Paez, and the battle was on. Late in the fourth and final round Campos staggered Paez and sent the highly touted prospect to the canvas under a barrage of punches. Paez valiantly beat the count and fortunately for him the bell ended the exciting fight between these two talented young fighters.
Judge Dalby Shirley seemed to get it right, calling the bout a 37-37 draw, yet judges Jerry Roth and Robert Hoyle both scored it 38-36, giving Jorge Paez Jr. a majority decision win. The victory kept Paez unbeaten at 11-0 (7 KO’s), while the tough luck Campos falls to 6-3 (5 KO’s), but has nothing to be ashamed of with his sincere effort.
The reaction of the crowd told the REAL scoring - cheers and applause as Derrick Campos left the ring, while Paez Jr. was booed. Jerry Roth and Robert Hoyle should have been booed as well.