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Pacquiao and Barrera, ready to battle again this Saturday night four years later!

but can the result - or even the fight - be any different this time around?

This Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, former Featherweight Champions Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera will meet in rematch of the Featherweight Championship fight they fought almost four years ago. This bout will be fought in the 130lb weight class.

On November 15, 2003, Barrera entered the ring as a 15-1 favorite, as many outside fans had no idea who Pacquiao was. To them, he was some Phillipino entering to the ring to be exposed by a great Mexican champion who was rated on everyone's pound for pound list. Some die hard boxing fans were picking Barrera, based on the fact that Pacquiao had been knocked out earlier in his career and he was stepping up in weight as well as class to face a great champion in Barrera. Little did we all know what was actually in store.

Pacquiao administered a terrible beating to Barrera, stopping him after eleven one-sided punishing rounds. Since that fight, both fighters who taken different paths to where they are now. Pacquiao has been in some big fights, including his memorable unification draw with Juan Manuel Marquez in May 2004 and his exciting trilogy with another Mexican legend Erik Morales. The first fight of the trilogy with Morales marked Pacquiao's debut at the 130lb weight limit. In the three fights with Morales, Pacquiao lost the first by decision in March of 2005, but came back to out due Morales with two blazing knockout victories (one 10th round KO in January 2006; another 3rd round KO in November of that year). Currently, Pacquiao is rated in the top three of most fans and experts pound for pound lists.

Since the devastating loss to Pacquiao, Barrera has also moved up to 130lbs. He dethroned Morales for the WBC Super Featherweight Title in the third fight of their trilogy in November 2004. Since that fight, Barrera has not quite looked the same as he did prior to the move up in weight. His fights against Robbie Peden and Rocky Juarez, particularly the first fight with Juarez, indicate that Barrera does not have the stamina he had at 122lbs and 126lbs. He seems to gas out in the late rounds, as he once again did in his last fight when he lost his Super Featherweight Championship to Marquez.

When you analyze their pre fight situations, you noticed this time around that Pacquiao is in the position that Barrera was in four years ago. Entering the fight as a substantial betting favorite, Pacquiao is involved in numerous activities outside the ring, such as politics and acting, that could potentially come back to conspire against him when the fight happens. Barrera was the favorite the first time around, but had a number of distractions himself such as the publicity over the metal plate in his head as well as having to evacuate Big Bear due to a forest fire. These things supposedly took away from Barrera's focus during preparation, and according to those around him, he wasn't ready for the fight.

Winding down to the end of the week, heading towards October 6, fans are ready to see this rematch. Can Pacquiao, who may very well be at his peak, be any better than he was the first time around? Is Barrera, who is clearly at the end of his career, going to be psychologically effected by the beating he took from Pacquiao the first time around? Will that tell the tale of the evening, or will Barrera be hungrier than he's ever been going into this titanic confrontation against this Phillipino buzzsaw who fights like the energizer bunny? Will Barrera's stamina cause his demise against his power punching opponent?

Logic tells me that Barrera's boxing style will not work against Pacquiao. He tried to box from the outset in the first fight, but the boxing match turned into a bloody brawl in less than five minutes. Barrera might have to enter to the jaws of the lion in order to win this fight. He might have to apply effective aggression, ala a Kelly Pavlik, to get Pacquiao's attention and make some contact in order to hurt the Philipino superstar. Barrera is one of the most intelligent fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves. Even in a losing effort, fans saw how easily he adapted to Junior Jones in their rematch. He made a compromise and modified his style and strategy and, as a result, was much more competitive against Jones. However, we must keep in mind that that was over ten years ago. Can the Mexican legend galvanize the public and gather all of his forces for one last heroic effort against a great young fighter in his prime who once destroyed him four years ago?

If Barrera manages to pull off the upset, it wouldn't just be a big win. It would be something absolutely special. Something outstanding. Something memorable. Something that would truly cement his legacy as possibly an all time great. Where ever Barrera is going to rank -prior to a win, loss, or draw this Saturday night - would be significantly increased if he pulled off the upset and scored an unbelievable and incomparable victory over Pacquiao on Saturday night. There's a old belief that every great fighter has one last great fight left in him. If that rings true for Barrera, will it be enough for him pull off this miracle????? My heart says yes. My mind says no. In this case, I must listen to my mind.

I pick Pacquiao by a mid round stoppage.



Fight Doc said...

Bah, watch Barerra pull of an all time great and win this. Just watch...

Fight Doc said...

Ok I'll shut up now...