Sharkie’s Machine: Rocky Juarez Patience Pays Off Against Jorge Barrios
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Sept 8, 2008) Photo © German Villasenor  
Saturday in Houston , Super Featherweight contender Rocky Juarez was back in action, fighting at the Toyota Center, ten months after suffering a big loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last November. It’s notable that Rocky Juarez’ four losses all happened outside of Houston .

His opponent Saturday was the rugged Argentine slugger, Jorge Barrios (47-3-1, 34 KO’s), who surprised a lot of people with his retooled, more balanced style of fighting.

The Fight

Round One

Juarez used his jab as they boxed at the center of the ring. Barrios, who usually attacks his opponents wildly, was more controlled, defensive posture and used his jab well to set up his combinations, of which he threw many. It was a close round but Barrios threw more and landed more.

Round Two

They traded shots early, both scored. Barrios landed the heavier punches. Much of Barrios’ strategy is being a body puncher, and the referee, Rafael Ramos, warned him for low punches twice, even though the punches were on the belt line and clean. Juarez landed a clean right that started a reddening of Barrios’ right eye. Juarez landed the crisper shots but Barrios was busier and landed more often. Barrios landed an uppercut followed by a combination near the bell.

Round Three

Barrios was warned for another low blow as soon as the round started. That was three warnings in three rounds and not one of the punches were low enough to draw a foul. Juarez was jabbing well, though he seemed a bit tight. During the next exchange, Barrios got a point deducted by Ramos for a low blow that wasn’t low. Juarez landed a nice right. Barrios landed a clean uppercut near the end of a close round. The biased referee patrolled every move Barrios made.

Round Four

Barrios had a good rhythm working and was throwing lots of jabs followed by combinations. He was effectively controlling the action, while the stiffer Juarez limited himself to jabbing and being on defense. A Juarez right snapped Barrios’ head back. Barrios pressured Juarez effectively and continued to be the busier fighter.

Round Five

Barrios continued to pressure Juarez with the full compliment of his offense, from jabs to hooks, crosses and uppercuts. Though Barrios landed frequently, Juarez defense was pretty solid and he blocked many of Barrios’ punches with few exceptions. Barrios output was nearly doubling Juarez ’, who just wasn’t doing enough on offense to win rounds.

Round Six

It was more of the same, with Barrios working harder and scoring more often. Juarez offense was limited to his jab and he landed a nice one to the head of Barrios, who was out boxing Juarez and winning more rounds but looking worse for wear than the ever steady Juarez .

Round Seven

Juarez opened up with a combination off the jab that scored. Barrios continued doing what was working; jabbing and throwing combos that were scoring and keeping the fight exciting. Rocky fought tentatively, and though he got hit often, he didn’t have as much as a bruise anywhere on his face. Late in the round Juarez landed a crisp right to the face to keep things close but Barrios was always busier.

Round Eight

Juarez landed jabs and a few rights early on. Barrios landed a combo up and down. Barrios started showing signs of fatigue. His face was swollen, his right eye bruised and while he continued to press the action, his punches were losing steam. Juarez looked fresher and unscathed. Barrios continued his attacks to the body, referee be damned. Juarez got hit often. Barrios was out boxing the superior boxer, though his energy was dimming.

Round Nine

Barrios was warned again for another phantom low blow. Barrios did all the fighting as Juarez rarely punched, even when he was coming forward. The referee halted the action to take another point from Barrios for yet another legal punch that was on the belt line, as evidenced by the instant replay after the round. The stress of having Ramos all over him appeared to be getting to Barrios.

Round Ten

Juarez came out swinging and focused his attack on the body of Barrios, who was staggered by some of the body shots, complained to the ref after one of those body shots was kind of low but Ramos didn’t acknowledge him. Juarez had his best round as his body work rendered Barrios weakened and ripe for a knockout. Barrios threw nearly 100 punches in that round and combined with the body shots he absorbed; his stamina was as taxed to the max.

Round Eleven

Barrios came out swinging but Juarez landed a clean right to his face. Barrios was fighting with a sense of desperation, circling around Juarez and trying to land a haymaker that never materialized. Juarez won the fight by TKO after Barrios got caught with a punch that saw him go down and blood shoot out of his mouth. It was a nasty cut that severed the right side lip of Barrios and caused the ringside doc to call a halt to the bout. Juarez ended up winning by TKO in 11, in a fight he might have been losing if the Judges were honest. An unlikely prospect. The time of the stoppage was 2:55.

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Congratulations to Rocky Juarez, who found a way to beat Jorge Barrios, who out boxed him for most of the fight. To his credit, Juarez is a good boxer with solid power. It’s unfortunate that the officiating tainted this fight by putting Barrios at a two point loss for low blows that weren’t low, compliments of a very biased referee.

The 130 pound division is well stocked with quality fighters. Guys I’d like to see Rocky fight in his quest for a major title include WBA titlist, Edwin Valero of Venezuela or IBF titlist Cassius Baloyi, neither of whom have as deep a resume as Juarez. Other good match ups for Rocky include top contenders like Robert Guerrero, Francisco Lorenzo or even a rematch with Humberto Soto, who beat Juarez back in 2005. With a few tweaks to his somewhat sedate style, Juarez’ dream of winning a major title can still happen—especially if his handlers can arrange a title fight in Houston, where he can be assured a sympathetic officiating crew that can help make his dreams come true.

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