On a somewhat related note to Valero's victory, Golden Boy Promotions recently announced that a clash between Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez has been signed. The fight is slated to take place in Vegas on March 17th, and to be broadcast on HBO PPV.
Now, first of all, Barrera-Marquez has all the makings of a great fight. In a way, it's a fight I'd rather see right now instead of Barrera-Pacquiao 2. I mean, Pacquiao already fought both of these guys: they were great fights, but I think Barrera-Marquez has the potential to be just as good. You just know neither one of these two Mexican warriors is going to back down from the other. Plus, it's still very likely that both of them will get their rematches with Pacquiao eventually.
This fight, of course, frees up Pacquiao for the time being. The Filipino sensation has made it clear that he's only interested in big fights, and if you look at his recent track record, you know he's true to his word. Given his rockstar status and all the worldwide hype following his destruction of Morales, I don't expect Pacman to sit still while Barrera and Marquez fight. With the two Mexican warriors set to entertain each other in March, Pacquiao will probably look for big fights against some of the other top 130-pounders.
If there's a division that can give the welterweights a run for their money, in terms of depth, this one's it. Not only do we have Barrera, Marquez and Pacquiao: we also have Joan Guzman and Edwin Valero. Both of them are young, hard-hitting up-and-coming champions, and to boot, they're both undefeated. I'd honestly rather see Pacquiao face-off against either of these guys rather than Barrera right now.
It seems to me that Barrera, ever since his final clash with Morales, has switched to a boxer-first style. I mean, he's always had those great skills, but the way he defeated both Robbie Peden and Rocky Juarez (in their second fight) with relative ease, without taking any risks, suggests he might be looking to extend his career by avoiding the brutal brawls that made him an icon. Barrera already knows how hard Pacquiao can hit. Especially after watching the way Pacquiao destroyed Morales, I think we can all expect Barrera to come into a second Pacquiao fight with a different mentality, perhaps intending to give Pacquiao a boxing lesson the same way he gave it to Prince Hamed. He's certainly not coming to brawl, because he already tried that and knows he can't stand in there with Manny. What would make the fight interesting, of course, would be Pacquiao's aggression. The way he comes forward traditionally leaves the other fighter no option but to brawl with him. What remains to be seen is how Barrera will deal with that aggression the second time around, now that he knows what to expect.
Here's why I think the Barrera-Marquez fight itself will be good: First off, it's important to note that Barrera will be the bigger man in the ring. He's been at 130 for a while now, and Marquez will be moving up to that weight for the first time in his career. Though Marquez has proven to be a hard puncher, I don't think Barrera will give him the same respect he'd give Pacquiao. At the same time, Marquez has far superior boxing skills than either Juarez or Peden. Hell, Marquez pretty much lay down the groundwork on how to beat Pacquiao. Simply put, Barrera is not going to be able to outbox Marquez the way he did Juarez, Peden or Hamed. I would expect him to be more agressive than he's been in recent fights. Plus, with two Mexican champions facing off in a PPV headliner from Vegas, I don't expect either one of them to back down. I think it's bound to be a crowd-pleasing fight.
Back to the Pacquiao issue for a second:
As we all know, there's a legal battle going on between Top Rank and Golden Boy for the rights to promote Manny Pacquiao. Apparently Pacquiao had a 50-50 offer on the table from Golden Boy to take the Barrera fight, but he never got back to them. This, in turn, is what set-up the fight between Barrera and Marquez. I would guess that, given the Golden Boy-Top Rank feud, Joan Guzman (who is also a Golden Boy fighter) is out of the question for the time being. That leaves Edwin Valero.
As we know, Valero can't fight in the States, but considering his Japaneese following, how huge would a Pacquiao-Valero fight be in the Phillipines? I've read about this fight being dicussed, and if it can be made, Barrera-Marquez might be a double godsend after all.