Carson, California, June 19 Entering his bout against tough former 118/122 pound champion Paulie Ayala, 35-3 (12), it was unknown whether former ‘Featherweight King’ Marco Antonio Barrera, 58-4 (41), would still have what it takes to compete at the world class level. Filipino southpaw whirlwind Manny Pacquiao thoroughly outclassed him when they fought last November, and the notion was that yet another tough southpaw would give him fits, particularly with Barrera coming off such a devastating loss. But they should’ve all known. Ayala is no Pacquiao.
Before an enthusiastic pro-Mexican crowd of roughly 5,700, Barrera fought a disciplined fight to outbox, out-jab, and outgun the veteran from Texas. Ayala simply had no answers.
For the first six rounds, Barrera was passive and content with slowly picking Ayala apart, and for the first half of the fight it seemed as if Ayala would go the full route.
However, things heated up in the seventh round as Ayala increased his aggressive attack, which in effect left more counter opportunities for Barrera. Soon Barrera was able to land clean right hands and solid body shots and managed to seriously hurt Forth Worth’s best for the first time in the fight.
Sensing that he had his man seriously hurt in the previous round, in the eighth Barrera increased his aggression during counter-punching slots and dropped Ayala with a left hook to the liver punctuated by a right cross. Ayala rose but found himself on the canvas for the second time courtesy of one of Barrera’s vintage liver shots.
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Round nine saw Ayala giving it his all in hopes of changing the pace of the fight. He fought bravely, desperately, and put together his best round of the fight. But it was all for naught as he ran into a perfectly timed counter right towards the end of the tenth which sent him down slouched forward almost in slow motion. Barrera then quickly ended matters by unleashing one final wicked left hook to the liver.
It was an impressive display of pugilistic wizardry for Barrera, reminiscent of his performances against overmatched opposition: Jesus Salud, Johnny Tapia, and Kevin Kelley. It now remains to be seen if he has enough left in the tank for bigger fish such as Pacquiao, Morales, and Marquez.
After the fight, Barrera said he’d love to get Pacquiao back into the ring because he’s a stubborn Mexican fighter. He’s eager to find out if Pacquiao has his number or if he just had a bad night where he took the young charge too lightly. He wholeheartedly believes the latter and he may soon get the opportunity to find out.
Just as expected, Jermain Taylor, 21-0 (16), proved to be too young, fast, and strong for former junior middleweight champion Raul Marquez, 35-3 (24). Marquez gave it his all but it was never close to enough for the rising middleweight star.
Rounds one through three were slow and uneventful. Marquez would try to wade in and Taylor would pick him off with the jab, landing the occasional combination to keep him honest.
In round four things picked up for Taylor as he began landing cleaner shots. It then became evident that Taylor was beginning to break his foe down.
Taylor was cut in round five due to an accidental headbutt, but that did little to deter his game. Both traded good shots with Taylor applying more damage.
The boxing clinic continued in rounds six through eight. Taylor’s jab and combinations began to find their mark quite easily at this point. Most surprising was the fact that Marquez, a known bleeder, had yet to bust up.
Finally, in round nine, Marquez busted up and ate canvas when an uppercut and follow up right put him down before the sound of the bell. Marquez rose, walked to his corner, and his trainer, Ronnie Shields, immediately signaled to the ref to halt the bout because he felt his fighter had taken enough punishment.
For Taylor, the match-up proved to be a good learning experience. He defeated a former champion with a wealth of experience, albeit a past prime, naturally smaller fighter.
The boxing world now eagerly awaits the day ‘Bad Intentions’ steps into the ring with a top ten middleweight. He appears to have the goods. Now it’s just a matter of proving it against his division’s best.
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