Boxing


Barrios vs. Guzman - Continuing A Grand Tradition

30.08.06 - Over the course of the 86 years that the junior lightweight division has existed, some of boxing’s best have chosen to ply their wares at 130 pounds – Alexis Arguello, Kid Chocolate, Sandy Saddler, Flash Elorde, Azumah Nelson, Wilfredo Gomez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Marco Antonio Barrera and Oscar De La Hoya, just to name a few..

But even more memorable than these legends are the fights that have epitomized what this weight class is all about – a mix of skill, speed, power, and heart. Who can ever forget the show of heart by Genaro Hernandez against Nelson, the competitive battles between Gomez and Rocky Lockridge, and Nelson and Jeff Fenech, the mastery of Mayweather against Diego Corrales, or the unbelievable wars between Arguello and Alfredo Escalera, or between Bobby Chacon and Cornelius Boza-Edwards and Bazooka Limon?

The list can go on and on, but on Saturday, September 16th, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jorge Rodrigo Barrios and Joan Guzman will look to add their own chapter to the junior lightweight history books when they square off in a 12 rounder for the WBO world title.

And given the history of both men, this shouldn't be a difficult task.

Barrios (46-2-1, 33 KOs), the current WBO junior lightweight champion, is a free-swinging brawler from Buenos Aires, Argentina who first burst on the world scene when he engaged in an unforgettable battle with then-champion Acelino Freitas in August of 2003. In a bout that saw four knockdowns (two for each fighter) and more twists and turns than a theme park ride, Freitas eventually emerged with a 12th round TKO victory, but ‘La Hiena’ emerged with a new legion of fans who would watch him whenever he fought. Barrios rebounded from the defeat with three straight wins before he took the world title from the clutches of then-unbeaten Mike Anchondo via a fourth round TKO in April of 2005. He has since defended his crown twice, most recently with a devastating one punch knockout of Janos Nagy in May that only took 49 seconds. “I’m not going to Vegas for Vacation. I’m going to knock this guy [Guzman] out. I predict a KO in the fourth round,” said Barrios in a national conference call today.

But Guzman (25-0, 17 KOs) is no stranger to quick knockouts and outstanding success in the ring himself, as he is a former world super bantamweight champion who has never tasted defeat in the pro ranks. A 1996 Olympian for the Dominican Republic, this native of Santo Domingo turned pro in September of 1997 and was quickly dubbed ‘Little Tyson’ for his prodigious punching power. By 2002, he was a world champion, having knocked out Fabio Oliva in three rounds to win the WBO 122-pound title. After two successful defenses, Guzman moved up to the featherweight division and quickly earned the WBO’s number one contender position. But after a series of postponements of a fight with champion Scott Harrison, Guzman decided to move up to 130 pounds, where he easily out pointed former world champ Javier Jauregui in his divisional debut in May. “I’m hungrier,” said Guzman. “I’ve been preparing for two months in Las Vegas and I feel very strong. There’s a chance Barrios is burned out because he’s been at 130 lbs. for so long. I hope that Barrios is in great shape, because I am, and I’m coming to bring the best fight ever.”

Barrios-Guzman is the co-main event of a card featuring yet another 130-pound war, this one the rematch between champion Marco Antonio Barrera and challenger Rocky Juarez. “Too Close to Call”, which is presented by Golden Boy Promotions, will be aired on HBO pay-per-view beginning at 9pm ET / 6pm PT.

To get your tickets to “Too Close to Call”, which are priced at a reasonable $75, $150, $250, and $350, visit any Ticketmaster outlet, ticketmaster.com, or call (702) 474-4000.

Article posted on 30.08.2006



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