With great boxing rivalries, sometimes you wind up with bitter enemies who stay that way forever. Sometimes you wind up with a couple of guys who become friends, whose careers are so intertwined that they can't escape the name of the other man, and respect (hard-earned though it may be) comes to the forefront.
It looks like Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera have gotten to that point. Last week, the two were face-to-face accepting awards in Mexico.
"Things happen but we are friends. Time heals all wounds."
"All of the wounds have been healed. The truth is, everything has been forgotten. As with all young people there are certain things that happen, but now we are mature individuals. I respect Erik Morales and as I said earlier, he is my friend."
I've said frequently that Erik Morales is one of my all-time favorite fighters, a guy who basically every time out could get my blood pumping. Barrera, on the other hand, was never a personal favorite, but another guy who I would tune in to see every single time out, because like Morales, he was just that kind of fighter. You never knew when you might get a classic with either of them, and you were all but guaranteed one if they were fighting each other.
There was also some minor talk of a fourth fight between the two faded legends, but Barrera indicated that Morales' run as a welterweight likely makes that impossible. Barrera hasn't officially re-announced a retirement, but he also hasn't fought or been rumored to fight since his all-around despicable loss to Amir Khan in March 2009, a fight that still bugs me.
I hope they don't fight again, but I figure it's more of a possibility than this lets on. Morales could make 140 if he wanted to. Barrera could move up to 140 because it's not like he'll be any worse there than he is at 135, and Morales isn't going to be very good either. But it'd be a total money grab, even more so now that we know they don't hate each others' guts with the fire of a thousand suns anymore.