Morales, Barrera, Castillo - Three Of Mexico's Best; All Unable To Call It A Career

by James Slater - Though Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Jose Luis Castillo - all three men having already having earned a reputation as being among the best fighters to have ever come out of Mexico - choose to carry on fighting in their mid-30s, most of their fans wish it were otherwise. Yet all three former world champions, men who lit up the lower weight classes in sensational fashion in the 2000s, find themselves unable to walk away from the sport they love..

Morales, the youngest of the three at age 33, is already one fight into his latest comeback. Having beaten the useful Jose Alfaro on points back in March of this year, "El Terrible" was given any encouragement he needed to go on and fight again; and, truth be told, Morales looked better than many had expected he would against the much younger Alfaro; despite all the wear and tear he has picked up in his great career. Next up for the 49-6(34) legend who is now campaigning as a welterweight is a July 17th bout, scheduled to be against 28-year-old lightweight Vicente Escobedo, 22-2(14). While Morales could pick up comeback win number-two, it is by far from a certainty that he will do so.

Set to join Morales, when they both return to action on the same date of June 26th, are Barrera and Castillo. Both older than Morales and probably both having less left in the tank than the Tijuana warrior - Castillo especially - these two modern day greats are to return in the lightweight and welterweight divisions, respectively. Barrera, now aged 36 and inactive since his March 2009 Technical Decision loss to the speed Amir Khan, will face Brazilian Adailton De Jesus, in San Antonio. Set for ten-rounds, the one-time "Baby Faced Assassin" may get himself a points win, but who can know for sure? Barrera is currently 65-7(43).

36-year-old Castillo, who at 60-10-1(52) has suffered the most losses of the three, is down on as returning to action against a TBA in Mexico (exact venue to be announced) on the under-card of the Eduardo Escobedo-Francisco Cordero interim WBA 126-pound title clash. Castillo, who shares nicknames with Morales, will be having his first fight since his bad night against Alfonso Gomez back in March, when he was made to quit on his stool at the end of the 5th-round.

All three comebacking warriors were at one time known as the very best in their respective weight divisions, yet today each of them runs the risk of not only being embarrassed, but also of being badly hurt. At the end of the day, no-one can tell Morales, Barrera or Castillo what to do, but deep down we all know we wish they'd retire and enjoy the remainder of their lives. Sure, it's conceivable that all three men will win in the summer, and look ahead to further fights (although as shot as Castillo looked against Gomez, it might be hard finding him a 100-percnt beatable foe); but no way will either guy regain what he once had - or even come close to doing so.

Morales, who has spoken of wanting to become the first Mexican to win world titles at four weights as well as of stepping back in with the dynamo that is Manny Pacquiao, looked faded as long ago as 2006, yet still he battles on. Barrera, who also wishes to make Mexican boxing history, looked a pale reflection of the fighting machine he once was when he was unable to catch up with Khan, yet he is coming back whilst even older and presumably slower. And we all know how little Castillo has left, yet despite the obvious he too will wage war at least once more.

Some fans will watch all three warriors as they go on, and maybe these same fans will also force themselves into believing in their heroes once again; but there will be many others who will utterly refuse to tune in. These fans' memories are precious, and they wish to remember their idols as they once were.

Article posted on 27.05.2010

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