They called it "Will to Win." For Marco Antonio Barrera, it turned into, "Will to Not Lose."
Maybe the rematch simply came too late. Or maybe, in his final fight, Marco Antonio Barrera just didn't have the fire left anymore.
In what was a disappointing and anti-climactic end to a brilliant, Hall of Fame career, Marco Antonio Barrera fought tentatively (and that's being kind) for the majority of his second one-sided loss to Filipino idol Manny Pacquiao, losing a unanimous decision on official scores of 118-109, 118-109 and 115-112. My scorecard had Pacquiao the winner, 118-109, and Brent's gave Pacquiao a 116-111 victorious score.
From the opening bell, it was obvious that Barrera wanted to keep his distance, not engage the stronger, faster, younger Pacquiao, and hope to pick his shots, counter when he could, and make a go of it. Maybe he was waiting for an opening that never quite came. Or maybe when the opening did come, he just didn't or couldn't capitalize.
There were times when the departing Barrera was like his old self, goaded into trading bombs with Pacquiao. In all candor, of course it wasn't the best idea to win the fight. He did perfectly well when exchanging with Pacquiao, but the flurries weren't rapid-fire, and had they been, it's unlikely that Pacquiao wouldn't have eventually caught Barrera with the right left hand.
What's disappointing is that we'll never know. Once the second half of the fight kicked off, Barrera simply shut himself out of the bout. He punched in combinations -- one combination at a time, once or twice per round. He appeared to have perhaps stunned Pacquiao once or twice in the earlier part of the fight, but after the sixth, he never came close. He barely hit Pacquiao after the sixth, save for an ugly, blatant cheap shot during a clinch-break in the 11th round that cost him a one-point deduction. By then, the fight was all but over anyway.
After the fight, Barrera complained of a headbutt. I said it twice already and I'll say it again here: This is not the Marco Antonio Barrera I want to remember, but this was a very real side to Barrera. To be blunt, he could be a prick. But I'll examine that more tomorrow with a tribute and retrospective on Barrera's historic career. I find Barrera to be more than just a great warrior, I find him to be a fairly fascinating human being.
Now, we await the Marquez-Juarez fight, and pray for the likely Marquez victory. Pacquiao-Marquez II is a fight that absolutely has to happen. There is no substitute on either side that I could honestly deem worthy.
In other fights from Mandalay Bay in Vegas: Steve Forbes scored a tight split decision victory over Francisco Bojado ... Librado Andrade got a seventh round TKO win over Yusaf Mack in a pier-six brawl of a battle that saw Andrade floored for the first time in his pro career in the opening round, then later saw Mack absolutely running on fumes, basically taking a knee three times in what turned out to be the last round. ... Steven Luevano dominated Antonio Davis to retain his WBO featherweight title.
At Madison Square Garden, Jameel McCline came scarily close to beating Samuel Peter for a belt that Peter never actually won, flooring the interim WBC heavyweight champion three times before Peter launched his comeback after the third round, eventually winning on scores of 113-112, 115-111 and 115-110. Reports are that Peter broke his hand during training. What the hell was he doing fighting then?
On the undercard at MSG: Daniel Santos TKO-8 Jose Antonio Rivera ... Kali Meehan TKO-6 DaVarryl Williamson ... Andrew Golota TKO-6 Kevin McBride.
So, expect to see Golota back in the title picture. A Showtime poll after the fights showed that 78% of voters want to see Peter fight Vitali Klitschko next instead of Oleg Maskaev, which I think proves just how uselessly annoying the division really is. Vitali Klitschko hasn't fought in years, has ducked numerous fights, and yet still carries public opinion? Get out of here with Vitali Klitschko.
I suppose, when all is said and done, the star of the night may, in fact, have been Andrew Golota.
We'll have more tomorrow on the career of Marco Antonio Barrera. I didn't care for his performance tonight at all. But that was a guy that gave me more than enough over the years for me to overlook the final fight of his career, at least to some degree. I tip my hat and now we move forward.