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Boxing :Pacquiao vs. Barrera: The Preview

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Ето и една тема за любителите на бокса(ако има такива).Aвтор е Рамон Аранда.

We take a closer look at this Saturday's big time rematch between Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao. Analysis and keys to victory inside!

When Marco Antonio Barrera met Manny Pacquiao in November of 2003, Barrera was riding an eight fight winning streak which included his masterful performance against Prince Naseem Hamed. The Baby Faced Assassin was on top of his game and was at the top tier of many pound for pound rankings. Pacquiao on the other hand was a young 24 and an up and coming fighter who had been looking more impressive in each outing.

The stage was set as the established former champion Barrera would meet the young and hungry lion in Manny Pacquiao. There were stories circling around that Barrera may not be in peak condition as a fire broke out during his training camp that forced him to relocate and lose precious training time. Revelations that Barrera had a metal plate inserted in his skull after a surgery caused questions to be raised and no doubt Barrera became preoccupied with answering questions. Still, a professional like Barrera came into the fight in great shape and Pacquiao was ready to fight.

The two engaged in a fascinating brawl that saw Manny Pacquiao hit the deck while Barrera was floored three times in the process. In that fight, Barrera looked strong early but the body punching and quick combinations of the Filipino wore down and slowed the Mexican slugger to a crawl. By the seventh round, Barrera looked like a beaten fighter but it would take four more rounds before Pacquiao would seal the deal and stop him via TKO.

At the time, a rematch seemed like a sure thing with fight fans clamoring for a return bout as soon as possible. Unfortunately as is frequently the case in boxing, disputes over promoters and purses caused the rematch to go the way of Whitaker-Chavez II and Douglas Tyson II. On the flip side, few in the boxing community felt a rematch was necessary as Pacquiao had disposed of Barrera in a very convincing fashion.

Since their first encounter, Barrera has gone 6-1, 2 KOs including a decision over Erik Morales and a nail biter against Rocky Juarez in their first of two fights. Against Juarez, Barrera took one too many punches and though he managed to pitch a virtual shutout in the rematch, he looked slower and older. Barrera's last bout was against Juan Manuel Marquez in which he lost via unanimous decision. In that fight, Barrera looked fresher than he had previously and put Marquez on his seat before wearing out in the later rounds. He'll have to be at the top of his game to have a chance against Pacquiao and his recent performances don't exactly convince the boxing community that he can get it done. There are a few things however that Barrera can do to give himself a better chance to win.

Barrera's keys to victory

Use the left jab: If Barrera wants to take the fight into the later rounds he'll have to use a stiff left jab to keep Pacquiao at bay. Juan Manuel Marquez was able to pump his jab all night to keep some distance between himself and Pacquiao. This enabled him to set up his right hand which Barrera has learned to throw. Pacquiao will sometimes tend to eat right hands all night long when they're thrown and Barrera may be able to bust him up if he can use a one-two combination.

Footwork, footwork, footwork: Pacquiao likes to come right at you and bombard you with power punches. To do that, Pacquiao will sit and plant his feet before unleashing the nukes to the body. Barrera needs to use his lateral movement to circle around Pacquiao; this will force Pacquiao to punch with less power as he won't have enough time to plant his feet. Combining his footwork with enough jabs should give Manny some trouble as he could become frustrated early on.

Manny Pacquiao in contrast has gone 6-1-1, 5 KOs since his knockout of Marco Antonio Barrera. It is said that sometimes it's hard for a fighter to follow up on a great performance as they often fight at a lower quality before snapping back into form. This may have been the case for Pacquiao as he drew with Juan Manuel Marquez in a fight that some observers including myself though it could have gone to Marquez. Though he won his next fight, he was taken to school in twelve rounds by Erik Morales in his following bout losing his titles in the process. Perhaps this loss was a wake up call because Manny would go on a tear winning his next five bouts all but one by knockout. He successfully avenged his loss to Morales by destroying him in ten rounds in the rematch then putting out of his misery in three rounds in the rubber match.

Unlike Barrera, Pacquiao has looked more impressive in each of his last few fights and only seems to be getting better. Trainer Freddie Roach has clearly taught him a few new tricks in the gym along the way as he is no longer a left handed power puncher. Manny has learned to fight behind the jab and has found good use of his right hand to compliment his left. At this point in his career, Pacquiao looks almost unstoppable and has many weapons in his arsenal making him a tough opponent. Against Barrera, Pacquiao has all the tools he needs to come out victorious.

Pacquiao's keys to victory

Work the body: Manny Pacquiao possesses a very hard left to the body and has worn down plenty of fighters lately doing so. In his first encounter with Barrera, that same body work sapped all the energy and will from his opponent and it enabled him to break him down enough for the late stoppage. On the inside, Barrera is no longer the force he once was so Manny shouldn't expect too much resistence when fighting in close range. Getting right into Barrera's chest should open up the body and if Pacquiao can once again work the body as he has recently, Barrera will be an easier target as the rounds go on.

Pump the straight left hand: Manny has a deceptively quick left hand and as he showed against Barrera in the first fight and in his two subsequent rematches with Morales, it can catch you completely off guard. Not only is his straight left fast, but it also retains some of the devastating power that his hooks do. Barrera has a habit of swallowing too many straight right hands and since Manny will be throwing the left, Barrera may have his gloves in the right position for blocking them. Of course Manny doesn't just throw a straight left but it up by throwing two to three right jabs which frustrates opponents. As long as he uses that setup, Barrera will eat his share of straight lefts and could be left with a few mouses near his eye.

Put on the pressure: Pacquiao barely lets his opponents breathe when he stays right in their faces. He's consistently done this in his career and he'll have to continue to do it in this fight. Barrera, now content with boxing likes to fight at a distance so getting crowded during the fight will offset his probable strategy. Pacquiao cannot let up and must stay right in front of Barrera if he wants to wear him down. Barrera won't like having to keep moving backwards and this will take some sting away from his punches.

Many boxing writers have been quick to choose Manny Pacquiao to win this Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, NV. It's not hard to see why as Manny Pacquiao is younger, stronger, quicker and has the heart of a lion. Barrera on the other hand is in the latter stages of his career and has already made it known that he wishes to retire after this bout and possibly two farewell fights in Mexico. Barrera's heart may already somewhere else and it's not that difficult to visualize him taking a knee late in the fight as did Morales.

I'm choosing Pacquiao as well to win this fight, possibly by late stoppage but let's not write off Barrera too quickly. He shocked us all when he took The Prince to school and after a close bout with Juarez, he drove him to the schoolyard in their next fight. Barrera is already 33 however and has over 60 fights under his belt. Marco Antonio will have to put on the performance of his life if he wishes to survive the cyclone that is Manny Pacquiao but the Filipino star will likely make that a brutal journey.

The two will finally settle the score this Saturday, October 6th on PPV. The event will begin at 9 PM ET / 6PM PT and his being co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank.

Enjoy the fight!


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