Barrera And Morales - Who Was The Greater Fighter?
11.10.07 - By James Slater: Now that they are both almost certainly retired from the sport that made them both loved and respected, it is time to think about who should go down as the overall superior fighter - Marco Antonio Barrera, or Erik Morales. Both men, quite rightly, are recognized as true legends of the sport of boxing. Both are definite locks for The Hall Of Fame also. But who gets the vote as the finer athlete, "The Baby Faced Assassin," or "El Terrible?"
Article posted on 12.10.2007
The initial answer to this question seems to be Barrera. Marco won their three fight series 2-1, after all. But there must be other factors included in making such a decision, surely? For example, the name Junior Jones pops up. Junior is a guy who beat Barrera twice - once via a stoppage that was not called such officially only because of Barrera's corner-men jumping in the ring and thus causing a DQ result - and then again by a close points decision. Jones, if you recall, was easily handled by Morales. This gives "El Terrible" some points, surely? Also, just because one fighter defeats the other two times - as Barrera did against Morales - this alone does not necessarily make him the automatically better man. Remember, Iran Barkley twice got the better of Thomas Hearns. Yet no-one is ever going to call "The Blade" a superior fighter to "The Hitman," are they?
Another edge goes to the warrior from Tijuana in that he was actually able to defeat the firecracker that is Manny Pacquiao. This achievement is something Barrera not only was unable to do in two attempts, but is also something Marco probably would have been unable to accomplish had he had ten shots at "Pac-Man." Clearly another edge to Morales here then.
Next up, we have the fact that Morales went up to campaign at lightweight on two occasions. Though he lost both fights - on points to Zahir Raheem in 2005 and via close decision to David Diaz this past August - Morales did at least make the move into another weight class, an incredible fourth weight division for him. Whereas Barrera never boxed above super-featherweight. Also one must look at how very, very closely Morales came to making history, as the first ever four-weight world champion hailing from Mexico, in the great fight with Diaz. Another point for Morales?
It must be noted, however, that though Barrera never made the move up to 135 pounds, he did turn pro as a super-flyweight only. Making the move up to lightweight was perhaps considerably more easier for Morales, turning pro as he did at super-bantamweight. Marco also both fought and beat dangerous men like Kennedy McKinney and Naseem Hamed - two fighters that may have given Morales real problems had he boxed them. Which brings us to quality of opposition. Who fought the better men overall?
Barrera defeated McKinney, Jesse Benavides, Morales (twice) Hamed, Johnny Tapia, Kevin Kelly, Paulie Ayala and Rocky Juarez. A great list to be sure. Does Erik's resume impress more though? Morales conquered Daniel Zaragoza, Junior Jones, Wayne McCullough, Barrera, Kelly, In-Jin Chi, Ayala, Jesus Chavez, Carlos Hernandez AND Pacquaio. I think Morales gets the edge yet
As for world titles, both men held quite a collection in their time at the top. Morales held the WBC super-bantamweight title - defending it nine times. He was a two-time WBC featherweight king - making four defences in all. And Erik captured both the WBC and IBF super-featherweight titles. Morales was also briefly the WBO super-bantamweight champ. In all he engaged in 21 world title bouts, winning all but three.
Barrera now. Marco was WBO super-bantamweight king - making an incredible ten successful defences over two reigns. Barrera was also the World Boxing Council featherweight champ (relinquishing it soon after winning it so as not to pay sanctioning fees) and the WBC super-featherweight king - making four successful retentions. And finally, Marco briefly held the International Boxing Federation 130 pound championship. In all he engaged in 25 world title bouts, coming out on top in 21 of them. Whew! It's clear to see both men had truly great careers. In terms of this debate, the points go to Barrera in this section, though.
So who comes out on top - in this article, anyway - as the better, greater
Though they are as evenly matched as they are similar in many other departments, in this exceedingly close contest Erik "El Terrible" Morales emerges triumphant for this writer. The most compelling factors being his near success up at lightweight (but for what many believe was a bad decision, Morales would have made history, after all) and, above all, the mightily impressive quality of opposition he defeated - defeated opposition which includes the feared Manny Pacquiao, let's never forget.
Utmost respect goes out to both Morales and Barrera. Yet in the final analysis, Morales was just a touch greater.
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