Lee Groves

10: Best St. Patrick’s Day fights


8. 2007 – Juan Manuel Marquez W 12 Marco Antonio Barrera, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada – WBC super featherweight title

In the fabulous round-robin between Manny Pacquiao, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez, there were two holes left to be filled. One of them – Marquez-Morales –

could still theoretically happen. The other occurred here, and the results fulfilled all expectations.

At this point of their careers Barrera and Marquez were the ultimate exponents of the Mexican Fighter 2.0. While they retained their predecessors’ lethal hooks and crowd-pleasing styles, they also formulated and executed intelligent fight plans and threw their punches with textbook technique. Barrera and Marquez arrived at this juncture from different points; Barrera was a slugger that turned boxer to extend what already had been a demanding and punishing career while Marquez was a boxer that turned puncher to draw bigger crowds, bigger fights and bigger money.

The styles meshed wonderfully. The first round featured plenty of technically brilliant fireworks from both men while the second and third rounds saw Barrera use his faster hands to beat Marquez to the punch. The slow-starting Marquez warmed up in rounds four through six, opening a nick over Barrera’s left eye.

The seventh was filled with action as well as controversy. Marquez dominated the round with power flurries that forced Barrera to totter backward but in the final three seconds Barrera uncorked an overhand right that should’ve been scored a knockdown. Referee Jay Nady incorrectly waved off the fall but rightfully penalized Barrera one point. That’s because right after Barrera landed the pivotal right he leaned over to taunt the fallen Marquez, then swatted him with a right to the top of the head.

The passions continued to boil over in the eighth and the damage to both mounted. Barrera’s left eye cut widened while both of Marquez’s eyes were swollen. Marquez appeared to earn an edge in the 10th and 11th, though he picked up a dangerous-looking cut over the right eye along the way.

The competitive give-and-take that marked the first round was also prevalent in the last and when the final bell sounded most had reason to believe the judges’ cards would be close. They weren’t – Doug Tucker saw a 118-109 fight while Patricia Morse-Jarman and Paul Smith turned in 116-111 scorecards for Marquez, who was declared the new champion.

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