5 of the best Mexican boxing showdowns (VIDEO)

Here are five fights starring Mexican fighters you absolutely need to see

BOX-MORALES-BARRERA 1
BOX-MORALES-BARRERA 1 / JOHN GURZINSKI/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 6
Next

5. Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Marco Antonio Barrera

The quartet of Manny Pacquiao, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Juan Manuel Marquez defined the featherweight divisions throughout the 2000s. There would be 13 fights between the four, with Morales and Marquez never meeting each other in the ring. Perhaps the most underrated bout by the foursome was between Barrera and Marquez in 2007.

Years of anticipation surrounded Barrera and Marquez before they finally fought. Both out of Mexico City and fighting around the same weight class it seemed like the two were set to face off years before they eventually did. Barrera and Marquez were both mainstays at the Great Western Forum (Kia Forum) in Inglewood, CA, throughout the 1990s, growing a fanbase in the United States.

Of the two, Barrera saw his career explode with appearances on HBO, where he participated in numerous classic fights. Barrera's fights with Kennedy McKinney and Erik Morales on HBO's Boxing After Dark propelled him into the PPV market, where he became Mexico's most popular fighter for a time when he defeated Naseem Hamed in 2001.

Marquez would find himself in relative obscurity for years, with many of his contemporaries avoiding him until he fought Pacquiao to a draw in their first encounter after rising from three knockdowns in the first round in 2004. However, after Pacquiao, Marquez's career would go into limbo. He would have to rebuild and put himself back into the world title scene after losing his featherweight championship in an upset to Chris John in Indonesia in 2006.

Following the loss to John, Marquez would slightly adjust his style, becoming more willing to exchange on a frequent basis. The change in style resulted in Marquez having two exciting fights in a row, during which he scored stoppages over Jimrex Jaca and Terdsak Jandaeng.

After winning the WBC super featherweight title in the third match with rival Erik Morales, Barrera made a few title defenses, including a pair of fights against Rocky Juarez. After Marquez decided to move up from featherweight to super featherweight, a clash between the two Mexican stars was set.

There was a mountain of pressure on Barrera and Marquez that their fight lived up to expectations. Before the sound of the first bell at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, HBO's Larry Merchant predicted that this would be a fight that fans would want to see again.

"Is it too early, Jim and Emanuel, to demand a rematch?," Merchant asked his colleagues Jim Lampley and the late Emanuel Steward on the HBO broadcast.

There are some fights that can be used as a guideline to show the true art of boxing. The battle between Barrera and Marquez fit into that mold. The action was furious, but the tactical battle within the warfare made the bout memorable. The counters to counters were abundant, and each fighter's adjustments highlighted just how prepared both men were for their clash.

Each round was competitive and closely contested, with the seventh stanza having the most substantial impact on how the fight would ultimately be scored. With each passing round, Marquez began to find a home for his straight right hand, and in the seventh, he landed one that visibly hurt Barrera. Marquez pressed the advantage and looked to be closing in on a knockdown or stopping Barrera. Always dangerous in the final moments of the round, Barrera landed a perfectly placed right hand on Marquez's chin in an exchange that dropped his foe.

However, in an unfortunate lapse in judgment, Barrera decided to hit Marquez while he was down. The referee, Jay Nady, either chose not to count Barrera's knockdown or missed the punch, as he only took a point away from the former super bantamweight champion. A two- to three-point swing in such a tightly contested match could have made all the difference on the judges' scorecards.

They would continue to battle, almost trading rounds through the stretch, and received a standing ovation when the final bell rang at the end of the 12th round.

"Let's do it again!" Larry Merchant declared at the end of the fight.

While most of the world saw a competitive match, all three judges scored the fight for Marquez with scores of 118-109 and 116-111 twice. Unfortunately, a rematch between the two would never happen. Regardless, Barrera-Marquez joins fights like James Toney-Mike McCallum as the perfect blend of action and technical skill.