By Chris Robinson
If ever there was a fight that could be looked at as a breakthrough performance for Manny Pacquiao, it would be his 11th round thrashing of Marco Antonio Barrera in November of 2003 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Pacquiao was a heavy underdog heading into the match, as he was moving up in weight to face Barrera, who had rejuvenated his career at the time with a pair of battles against Tijuana’s Erik Morales that thrust him back into boxing’s spotlight.
But Pacquiao wasn’t to be denied, as he dropped Barrera in the third round and overwhelmed him for the remainder of the fight with his speed and power. Seeing Barrera helpless along the ropes in the eleventh, referee Laurence Cole would call a halt to the action, rewarding Pacquiao with what was then his biggest victory as a professional.
Barrera and Pacquiao with link up again nearly four years later, with Manny winning an uneventful twelve-round decision, and Marco has always stayed classy whenever I have mentioned the Filipino icon’s name around him.
I crossed paths with Barrera this past weekend at the Nonito Donaire-Jeffrey Mathebula weigh-in inside of the Marriott in Manhattan Beach, California. With Pacquiao coming off of a controversial split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley last month at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, I felt the need to get Barrera’s take on the action.
“Yes, I saw it,” Barrera would state. “Manny Pacquiao won the fight, I think so. [Tim Bradley] won only two or three rounds.”
At the moment, Pacquiao is slated for a November return but it remains to be seen exactly who he will be facing next. Signs were initially pointing towards a fourth duel with Mexico City’s Juan Manuel Marquez but Barrera insists that Pacquiao must first get revenge against Bradley before looking at other options.
“The rematch [with Bradley]; the fight for Manny Pacquiao is the rematch,” said Barrera.
Pacquiao’s third fight with Marquez this past November was wildly-competitive, just as was the case in their first two encounters, and Manny escaped with a majority-decision that many felt he was fortunate to get. Marquez surely had his moments early but Barrera wasn’t too impressed.
“No, no. I think Pacquiao won the fight,” Barrera added. “[Marquez] didn’t throw many punches. He did what was necessary to win the fight.”
The last question for Barrera was if he still had any hope for a fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is presently spending time locked up in a Las Vegas jail cell, serving a 90-day sentence stemming from a September 2010 domestic violence case.
A Pacquiao-Mayweather match had been a hot topic in the sport dating back to late 2009, but it seems that the public has lost a little bit of interest in the match, as both sides have failed to come to terms on the showdown. Still, Barrera won’t quite give up on such a matchup.
“It’s interesting. It’s a fight I want to see,” stated Barrera.