June 21 2002

Who is the best featherweight in the world?

Now that the circus of the Tyson-Lewis heavyweight mismatch is now history, boxing fans can now turn their attention to a real championship fight when Marco Antonio Barrera and Erick Morales square-off Saturday June 22.

May critics called their first fight on February 19, 2000 the “fight of the year’ and the fifth round of the bout, as the “round of the year.” This epic battle, which Morales won by split decision, had many shaking their heads believing that Barrera had actually won the fight.

Barrera (54-3, 39 KO’s), who calls Mexico City home, looks to reverse this loss using the same strategy he used in the first fight except he is going to “apply more extensive pressure.”

The fight has been called a “war between Northern and Southern Mexico.” And there is definitely bad blood between the two.

Barrera says that Morales, a Tijuana native, who also boast an impressive 41-0, 31 KO’s record, is responsible for creating the cultural rivalry that surrounds the bout.

At a press conference to promote the bout, Berrera confronted Morales about things he had been quoted as saying about him in the Mexico press. They exchanged derogatory remarks and Barrera swung and hit him with cameras rolling. Morales attempted to counter, without success.

For Morales it is a question of pride. Despite his impressive record and the championship belt many fight fans consider Berrera the better fighter, often talked about as one the best fighters pound-for-pound, while Morales is seldom mentioned within this same company. In fact the experts have placed Berrera as the 2 to one favorite to win this fight.

Two years ago, the judges’ cards read 115-112 and 114-113 for Morales to 114-113 for Barrera. Since then Berrera has gone 5-0, including a very impressive victory of Naseem Hamed. Meanwhile Morales is 13-0 in world championship bouts.

Honor and pride is the moniker to describe this fight between two warriors who step into the ring with one coming out as the best featherweight in the world.

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