By Chris Robinson
I recently ran across former three-division champion Marco Antonio Barrera in Las Vegas. Having engaged in several memorable battles all over the city, Barrera still frequents the area for work, often covering action from ringside for TV Azteca, as was the case this past Saturday during the Toshiaki Nishioka-Rafael Marquez bout.
It was only logical to ask Barrera, nicknamed the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ during his fighting days, about the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez duel, set to go down November 12th at the MGM Grand. Barrera knows both men well, having lost to Pacquiao via 11th round TKO in November of 2003 and by way of a unanimous decision in October of 2007 while suffering a competitive points loss to Marquez that same year.
While it’s not a thorn in his side, Barrera feels that he did enough to defeat Marquez in their March 2007 encounter, pointing to his 7th round knockdown, which was actually overlooked by referee Jay Nady, for part of his reasoning.
“I think so,” Barrera said when asked if he should have pulled that fight out on the scorecards. “I feel I beat Juan Manuel Marquez. Because I knocked him down and I took many points from him.”
I then asked Barrera to compare Marquez to his countryman Erik Morales, whom Barrera fought in three close battles, winning the second fight and the rubber match. Barrera was quick with his response, stating that ‘Erik Morales is the best’.
Outside of his shock loss to Junior Jones in November of 1996, a fight in which Barrera was dropped with a wicked right hand before seeing the fight waived off via disqualification as he took punishment along the ropes while his corner rushed the ring, there has been no other fighter who has overwhelmed him the way Pacquiao has. The Filipino star’s blend of speed and power caused serious troubles for Barrera in both of their fights and he feels that Manny will have enough to stop Marquez come November.
“In third fight with Juan Manuel and Manny, I think the prediction is that Manny Pacquiao is going to knock him out. The weight is the difference. And the age at 39 years old, while Pacquiao is 32 years old,” said Barrera of the bout, set to take place at a catch weight of 144 pounds for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight bauble.
Barrera last fought this past February, stopping little-known Jose Arias in two rounds in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. After that fight there were rumors that he might be lined up to face WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios later in the year but it’s not something Barrera is too interested in.
“No, I don’t think so. I think maybe in the future I will do one fight, one last fight. But not that fight.”
Anyone interested in more images of Barrera, including his fights with Prince Naseem Hamed, Pacquiao, Erik Morales, and others plus the Baby Faced Assassin in training and with Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Bernard Hopkins, please check out the Marco Antonio Barrera Gallery