Blockbuster fights were on the horizon for the 4-division champion Marco Antonio Barrera as he entered into his battle with Rocky Juarez Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. If he could get past the dangerous punching Silver Medalist, then fight fans would be guaranteed more epic battles with names like Pacquiao, Morales, Marquez, and Barrios. For Juarez, a win against the living legend of Barrera would serve two purposes: First, it would symbolically erase the sole blemish left by Humberto Soto over nine months ago, and secondly, it would put Juarez at the top of his division, while simultaneously keeping his name in the hearts and minds of millions for beating one of boxing’s best.
As the underdog going up against the reigning and vastly more experienced champion, Rocky aptly came into the arena with “The Eye of the Tiger” blaring over the sound system, while Barrera came in with the enthusiastic crowd cheering at a louder volume than his own theme song could be raised to. Once the bell sounded that set these two warriors into action, they met in the center of the ring, and tossed out soft jabs in an attempt to see what the other could counter-punch with. Since neither of them were biting, they circled each other around the ring, until Barrera tossed out the first meaningful attack in the form of two left uppercuts that missed their target. It was Juarez, however, who had the first punch score in the minds of the judges when he tossed out a right cross, landing it flush on Barrera’s face.
In round two, Rocky came out the busier fighter landing jabs both to the head and body of Barrera, even pushing the Baby-Faced Assassin back against the ropes. However, once a toe-to-toe battle ensued there, the four-time champ used his expertise to switch positions with Juarez, and ended the round by landing a clean right cross flush on his opponent’s head.
With both fighters meeting once again in the center of the ring to begin round three, the smaller Juarez leaped across to his opponent to land a left hook upstairs forcing blood out of Barrera’s nose. Barrera attempted a counter strike moments later only to be met with a stiff left by Juarez. Ten seconds before the round ended, Juarez caught Barrera with a crushing left hook upstairs, putting Barrera off balance and in trouble. As the bell sounded, Juarez sealed the round by landing another left to his opponent’s head, getting the attention and earning the respect of Barrera.
The Baby-Faced Assassin came out stronger in round four landing a monstrous uppercut on Juarez’ chin, and continued the attack until Juarez wisely clinched his attacker. The remainder of the round had both fighters taking their battle into a phone booth landing quick, crisp shot to the side of their heads and ribs. One of Barrera’s left hooks ventured too low, but Juarez was able to continue without penalty or postponement of the round.
Juarez used the fifth round to successfully avoid Barrera’s offensive attack, allowing the Silver Medalist to time his opponent perfectly, and land hard counter shots that found their desired target. Barrera put out more jabs in the closing moments of the round, allowing him to follow up with blistering left hooks to inflict damage on Juarez’ ribs.
As Barrera came out more aggressively in the opening moments of round six, it was Juarez that scored the more telling blows by a stick-and-move approach. Too often Juarez attempted to land a swinging left hook by leaping off his feet, and Barrera easily avoided those shots. However, the Baby-Faced Assassin was unable to effectively counter. Barrera got the crowd on their feet when he started a huge flurry of punches in the form of rib-cracking left hooks and head snapping rights and uppercuts on his opponent. Juarez countered with a nice left hook upstairs, but disappointedly the bell sounded to keep the exciting action from going any further.
Most of the seventh round was once again fought on the inside, with both fighters resting their heads on each other’s shoulders, and tossing out punishing hooks to the head and ribs of one another. Barrera seemed to get the better of the exchanges throughout the round, especially when he landed a left and right hook combination that landed flush on the sides of Rocky’s face as the seventh drew to a close.
In round eight, Juarez finally gained the respect of the crowd, and with them chanting his name for the first time in the fight, Juarez pressed the action and landed shots that dislodged Barrrea’s mouthpiece onto the canvas. It was apparent at this point in the fight that any discrepancy in Juarez’ experience was not going to play a role in his fight against Barrera. Rocky countered beautifully in round nine, landing monstrous hooks upstairs that sprayed Barrera’s sweat across ring and onto the lucky ticket holders in the first two rows. Juarez continued to time Barrera impeccably throughout the entire round, landing flush hooks upstairs at every feint or punch Barrera attempted.
Juarez once again pressed the action in the tenth frame by using his jabs and soft hooks to allow him to follow up with more meaningful hooks both upstairs and down, even surprising Barrera with a head-snapping uppercut halfway into the round. With less than a minute left, Rocky tossed out two lead jabs, and landed a monstrous right cross to the side of Barrera’s face, forcing him to reel back into the corner of the ring, and making the Baby-Faced Assassin the Bloody-Faced Assassin temporarily.
Juarez continued where he left off in round eleven, this time going downstairs to punish Barrera’s ribs in an attempt to lower the guard of Barrera, and allowing Rocky to cause more damage to Barrera’s morphing face. That strategy seemed to work, and as the round came to a close, Juarez landed huge hooks upstairs, finally closing the left eye of Barrera. Being the warrior that he is, Barrera decided to go toe-to-toe against Juarez, putting up a great defense. However, Juarez used his strength to land more punishment upstairs on Barrera.
In the final round, Juarez made every attempt to take the fight out of the judges’ hands, swinging hard shots towards Barrera’s increasingly weary-looking head. Barrera was able to keep Juarez at bay for most of the round by landing left and right hooks to Rocky’s ribs, but the final ten seconds had Juarez landing the more damaging blows in the form of two crushing right hooks on the top of Barrera’s head.
After 36 minutes of hard-fought action, Michael Buffer announced to the crowd the following scores: 115-113 a piece, and 114-114 by judge Ken Morita, making the 12-round battle between Barrera and Juarez a draw. However, it was determined moments later that Morita’s scorecard was added up wrong by the Commission, and with Morita scoring the twelfth round 10-10, instead of 10-9 for Juarez as it was first thought, Barrera officially won the fight by split decision. Barrera keeps his title and earns the record of 62-4 (42 KO’s), while Juarez goes to 25-2 (18 KO’s).
Afterwards, Rocky told the media, “I definitely thought I did enough to win, but I only give myself a B-. There were too many times when I was too cautious. Barrera is a great fighter, but he’s a dirty fighter. He hits behind the head and with his elbows. I definitely think I earned his respect and the respect of the fans. I thought I had him going backwards for most of the fight.”
As for Barrera, he only had this to say: “I think the judges’ decision was right. I knew this was going to be a tough fight, and Rocky is just a tough fighter. I don’t know what’s going to be next for me. Let me go on vacation with my family before I decide who I fight next.”Barrios Cracks Nagy in 49 Seconds
For the current WBO Junior Lightweight champ Jorge “El Hiena” Barrios, this fight against the undefeated Janos “Bonecracker” Nagy was a gateway to super-stardom and bigger paydays. Barrios already had shown that he could bang against one of boxing’s most dangerous punchers Acelino Freitas when they faced off nearly three years ago, and adding a win against a reputable undefeated fighter would only increase the champ’s stock. Nagy, whose wins have ended in knockout more often than not, was not only eager to prove that he could get past Barrios, but that he was a name to be reckoned with in the exciting 130-pound division.
However, it only took 49 seconds for the fight to be over, and for the entire crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to ask the people around them, “What’s happened?” In what started off as a feeling-out round for both fighters, it was Barrios who went on the attack first, throwing a looping left hook that Nagy thought was aimed at his head. As the previously undefeated fighter moved his gloves to protect his face, Barrios’ assault was focused on a nice open target at Nagy’s ribcage. Nagy was down on one knee immediately, even raising his left hand as though he was saying, “Nice shot” to Barrios and referee Raul Caiz Jr. Even though Nagy was up at the count of seven, he still seemed to be in excruciating pain, and Caiz Jr. halted the action forty-nine seconds into round one. After the fight, Barrios commented, “I felt great tonight. I hit Nagy with the same shot that Hopkins hit Oscar with. I thought I was going to knock him out on the head though. Next, I’d like to fight the winner of Barrera-Juarez.” As for Nagy, he stated afterwards, “I’ve never been hit like that before. I wanted to go on but I wasn’t able to. It knocked the wind completely out of me. I feel very bad that the fight ended like this, and of course I’m very disappointed.” Barrios keeps his belt and improves his record to 46-2-1 (32 KO’s), while Nagy get his first blemish with a record of 23-1 (14 KO’s).Boom-Boom Blasts Bonilla in Three
In his first fight of 2006, the always exciting junior featherweight Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista came out landing monstrous right and left hooks to the head of Robert Bonilla throughout the first three minutes of round one. Boom-Boom was more than content to absorb two of Bonilla’s soft jabs upstairs in order to land one of his more telling blows to Bonilla’s head.
A clash of heads slowed things slightly in the opening minutes of round two, but once the action resumed the Freddie Roach trained Bautista successfully trapped his opponent against the ropes and landed hard hooks to both of Bonilla’s head and ribs.
In the third inning, Bonilla Xeroxed the plan that was so successful for Boom-Boom in the previous round, pressing the action and putting up a more offensive attack against Bautista. The fight was halted for a few minutes in the opening moments of round three due to a clash of heads, and with Bonilla getting the worst of it, he was quickly persuaded by the crowd’s boos to get up and fight like a man. With a point having been taken away from Bautista by the referee, Boom-Boom decided then to finish off his opponent before any judge or referee could take any more of the fight away from him. Once the action got underway again, the nineteen-year-old Bautista unleashed a flurry of uppercuts and hooks to his opponent’s head that did not miss, leaving Bonilla’s ribcage open to be cracked. With Roach pleading for his fighter to venture downstairs, it was a hard right hook to Bonilla’s solar plexus that finally did him in, and at 2:36 in round three, Bonilla was counted out. Boom-Boom keeps his record clean at 20-0 (15 KO’s), while Bonilla drops to 23-8 (14 KO’s). Boom-Boom next fight is reportedly on July 2nd on the Pacquaio-Larios undercard against Alejandro Montiel.Santa Cruz TKO’s Chikashi Inada to Take WBC Interim Lightweight Title
Fresh off his impressive win against Edner Cherry last February, Jose Armando Santa Cruz took the first three minutes of his fight with Inada to find out what the Hiroshima native was all about. Once the bell sounded to begin the second round, however, it was all Santa Cruz. The second and third frame saw the stronger Santa Cruz stalk Inada across the ring landing wisely-chosen head-snapping hooks and crosses upstairs, while Inada was actually the busier fighter throwing out more leather to keep his punishing opponent away.
Halfway into the fourth round Inada went down from what was ruled as a push by the referee, and once the action got underway again, Santa Cruz found his target best by tossing out lead left jabs followed up by crisp right hooks and left uppercuts to Inada’s head. In the fifth round, Inada got the crowd excited because of his willingness to catch almost every shot Santa Cruz threw towards his head. It was only because of Inada’s heart that he threw out some form of an offensive attack that kept the third man in the ring from saving Inada from any more punishment. Santa Cruz arguably made the fifth round a 10-8 round on the judges’ scorecards by landing three monstrous hooks to each side of Inada’s now bloodied face. However, with Santa Cruz’ trunks becoming as red as the gloves he donned due to the amount of blood being splattered with each crushing and unrelenting shot he landed on the face of Inada, the fight was finally stopped at 2:08 in round six. Santa Cruz captures the WBC Interim Lightweight title and improves his record to 23-1 (13 KO’s), while Inada drops to 19-3 (14 KO’s).Miguel Reza Stays Undefeated Against Hector Reynoso
The 122-pound Oxnard resident Reza took control from the opening bell in his 4-round clash against Reynoso Saturday night and never looked back. In the third round, Reza put his opponent down from a crushing hook upstairs, and got the nod from all three judges with the score of 40-34. Reza improves to 2-0 (1 KO), while Reynoso falls t
CLICK TO READ MORE
Send questions and comments to: DNick@BoxingTalk.com