Barrera by the Wayside?
By JD Camacho, (Mar 13, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
After Marco Antonio Barrera earned his first significant victory by knocking out Kennedy McKinney, a Mexican legend sat at ringside and was overheard speaking to Barrera’s mother. “Tell Marco Antonio,” said Julio Cesar Chavez, “he is a great fighter.”

As Marco Antonio Barrera prepares to face England’s once-beaten lightweight prospect Amir Khan on Saturday, he’s entering familiar territory. Barrera is re-entering a boxing world that seems to have,
once again, forgotten how good he once was. In the wake of his countryman Juan Manuel Marquez’s recent victories, Barrera’s status seems to have slipped in the pantheon of Mexican greats.

This is the same man who earned forty-three wins before suffering his first loss. This is the same man who reinvented himself and unseated the undefeated Naseem Hamed, taking the pompous Prince’s position as the best featherweight in the world. This is the same man who defeated fellow Mexican great and hated rival Erik Morales – twice.

Yet, in some of his biggest fights he was given little chance to win. After losing twice to Junior Jones and once to Morales, few gave Barrera a prayer against the power-punching Hamed. Never mind that Hamed had never fought anyone as good as Barrera before, and never mind that Hamed had shown serious flaws in his career. After being brutalized by Manny Pacquiao, Barrera wasn’t favored by many in the rubber match against Morales. Never mind that Barrera had won the second fight and been highly competitive in their first encounter. Even against the limited Rocky Juarez in their rematch, Barrera was a slight betting underdog. Never mind that Barrera fought Juarez’s fight the first time and won anyway.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 but this happens again and again in Barrera’s case. Why does Marco Antonio Barrera continually fall by the wayside in the boxing world?

Boxing is often reduced to a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sport in the eyes of fans. Marco Antonio Barrera lost to Juan Manuel Marquez and lost again to Manny Pacquiao. Now, all of a sudden what Barrera had done before doesn’t matter? All of a sudden some place Marquez unquestionably above Barrera in the highest echelon of Mexican fighters? All of a sudden the fragile and untested Khan is a betting favorite over Barrera?

Khan may very well have learned enough from hall-of-fame trainer Freddie Roach to defeat Barrera. But Barrera should get more respect than this – both in the build-up to Saturday’s fight and long, long after. He deserves it.


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JD at:

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