November 21, 2003

Barrera Dethroned In Shock Loss

By Fiona Manning

While many countries around the world have been dealing with natural disasters of all sorts, fired, flood, famine – Mexico City was in turmoil this week over a 126 pound human tornado – Filipino superbantam king Manny Pacquiao who stepped up and toppled the “uncrowned featherweight king” Marco Antonio Barrera in a brutal, dominating fashion at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday night.

In what could only be described as the year’s biggest upset, featherweight king Marco Antonio Barrera was toppled from his throne when powerhouse challenger Pacquiao astounded the boxing world with an 11th round technical knockout on an HBO-televised, Golden Boy Promotions card Saturday night.

10,000 shocked fight fans watched in disbelief as the Filipino challenger distressed, dismantled, and, ultimately, dispensed one of the world’s pound-for-pound fighters and top featherweight with an awesome display of power and speed.

In his first fight for Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, Barrera was expected to take care of business despite a wave of distractions ranging from legal disputes with his former promoter, Forum Boxing, to recent brain surgery. He also had to relocate his training camp just three weeks before the fight.


Victor, superbantam king Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao, the IBF’s super bantamweight champion, was a 4-1 underdog, but despite a knockdown credited to Barrera in the first round, Pacquaio .

Pacquiao began his assault in the second round, dictating the tone for the rest of the fight by pressuring Barrera to the ropes and outjabbing the champion, followed by straight lefts.

In the third round, Pacquiao shot a hard right jab at Barrera, then followed with a lightning-quick straight left that dropped the Mexican to the canvas.

The champion sat against the ropes in disbelief before rising at the count of six, then began to fire back at Pacquiao. Near the end of the round, Pacquiao backed up Barrera and landed unanswered combinations to his head and body, making the champ look almost as bewildered as the crowd.

Round four was closer, but Pacquiao’s effective speed and power shots slipped through Barrera’s lack of defense.

Barrera tried to compose himself in the 5th despite a swollen eye, but “Pacman,” throwing his punches in bunches, continued to out-hustle.

After Pacquiao opened up the sixth round with a big straight left, Barrera banged back, only to eat a hard left cross that put him on the canvas again. Referee Lawrence Cole misruled again, however, and the true knockdown was ruled a slip. Barrera was on his feet again but was unable to match Pacquiao’s ferocity and speed.

Right hands from Barrera opened up the 7th but Pacquiao took back the fight as he let loose on the champion. Halfway through the round, the two clashed heads, sending Barrera to one knee and holding a deep laceration near the corner of his eye. Wincing from the wound and bleeding, he was checked and OK’d by the ringside physician.

Round Eight was Barrera’s last stand. He took the fight to Pacquiao, possibly picking up the round, but was hanging on near the end when Pacquiao resumed his onslaught.

Pacquiao started to dominate and Barrera spent much of the time on the retreat, holding and backing up after an initial attack early on. During the break-up of one clinch, Barrera let loose with a right and was penalized a point by ref Cole.

Barrera was a defeated man by the 10th, spending most of the time surviving and holding Pacman, who looked like he could go another ten rounds.

Again beaten pillar to post, Barrera showed his huge heart but had nothing left for the vicious challenger. Barrera was ready to go down at any moment. A final battering against the ropes, his trainer Rudy Perez climbing into the ring to stop the slaughter at 2:56, giving Pacman the TKO win.

Clearly devastated but showing respect after the fight, Barrera, who drops to 57-5 (40 KOs), gave his props to the new champion.

“I have no excuses,” he said. “He’s the true champion now. He was the better man tonight.”

Reminiscent of his countryman, “Flash” Elorde, Pacquiao rises to 38-2-1 (30 KOs) and becomes the new People’s champion at featherweight.

“Very early, I knew I was going to knock him out,” an exuberant Pacquaio said after his victory. “When I knocked him down in the third, I thought it was over. But he came back.

“I’m surprised he lasted that long... ”

On the judges’ scorecards, Barrera needed a knockout to win. Pacquaio was far ahead on the cards, 97-90 twice and 97-89.

“It was a bad night for Marco,” Barrera’s chief trainer Perez, said after leaving the ring.  “He did not have his concentration tonight. I don’t want him to fight again.”

Barrera and promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, said afterward that he would return.

“I have the energy to come back from this defeat,” he said. “I want prove to the people that I can do it. But I’m going to relax now and take some time off with my family.”

Barrera has overcome many setbacks before but leaving longtime manager Ricardo Maldonado and trainer Oscar Maldonado was probably the most foolish decision “The Baby Faced Assassin” has ever made.

Pacquiao is staying at featherweight. He will vacate his 122 pound title and is eyeing several possible targets. Erik Morales has already called him out and his options include WBA/IBF featherweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez and WBC superbantam champ Oscar Larios.

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