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Can Barrera Rise From The Ashes Yet Again? - (Part II of II)
By Chris Robinson (June 16, 2004) Part I 
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Enter June 22, 2002 and yet again Barrera would be fighting like a dog with his ‘buddy’ Erik Morales as if the two were scrapping for a prized piece of steak.

Morales set the tempo early and kept things low key, out boxing Barrera and building up a lead on the scorecards. But Barrera went JC Chavez style late in the fight and turned it around with constant pressure and an undeterred will. Just like their first fight, the scorecards were close and this time it was Barrera who escaped with the ‘W,’ tallying a 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 verdict on the judges cards. Many felt Morales deserved the nod, but in my opinion the fight was a toss up and it seemed as though Barrera got a sense of vindication or revenge with the win.

Two overmatched victories over faded Johnny Tapia and Kevin Kelley followed and that leads us to where this article began, with Barrera sizing into Phillipino powerhouse Manny Pacquaio. For whatever reason, be it Pac-Man’s two fisted assault or perhaps a lack of preparation for the the fight, Barrera did not seem himself and was unable to faze his younger foe in any facet of the game. Barrera’s body shots weren’t connecting like they usually do, his fists seemed a bit slower, and he appeared frustrated throughout the night. The fire seemed to be gone

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Some say that Marco Antonio Barrera didn’t take Pacquiao as seriously as he should, and that a newfound commitment to training will get him back on track. Others feel as though Barrera grew old overnight, and that his best days are behind him.

Whatever the case is, Barrera isn’t hanging up the gloves and will return to work on June 19 against well respected but seemingly undersized and outmatched Paulie Ayala. Ayala is a fine fighter who has had some memorable and exciting wins over the likes of Johnny Tapia (twice), Bones Adams (also twice), and Johnny Bredhal. The only problem is that those fights took place between 118 and 122 pounds and once Ayala tested the waters at Featherweight in November of 2002 he was manhandled. The man doing the mugging was Barrera’s old foe Erik Morales, and it was a one sided affair

Ayala is as rugged as they come and he has a great chin, but he was simply too small to do anything positive with Morales. He lasted the distance but received a pretty harsh beating, losing via dominant decision.

In my opinion Barrera will also work his way to a decision win over Ayala, but I expect him to be rather cautious. I think the fight will resemble more of a chess match as opposed to Ayala's fight with 'El Terrible,' which sometimes resembled a bully taking lunch money from a youngster in a secluded street alley. I don’t expect Barrera to look great but I do think he will clearly have his way over Ayala. Both fighters have given us many a great fight, so some fireworks aren’t out of the question but I don’t expect to be on the edge of my seat while I watch.

Win or lose it’s great seeing Barrera get back into the ring after his devastating loss to Pacquiao just six months earlier. Fighters win and lose, some look in the mirror and decide it's time to call it quits while others find the strength to continue fighting. Marco Antonio Barrera has decided to fight on, let's just hope the fire is still there

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