/ 17 September 2006

Barrera boxes to victory over Juarez

Argentina’s Marco Antonio Barrera boxed his way to a unanimous decision over Rocky Juarez on Saturday, pleasing no one but himself with a workmanlike performance to keep his WBC super featherweight title in a fight that drew boos from the crowd for a lack of action.

The fight was a rematch of their first fight in May in Los Angeles when Juarez left the ring thinking he had a draw, only to find out in his dressing room that the scores had been added wrong and that he had actually lost the decision.

There was no problem with the scoring in the second fight, with all three judges favouring Barrera in a fight that ended the same way it began — with Barrera controlling the action and Juarez chasing him around the ring trying to land a big left hook.

”I gave him a boxing lesson and that’s exactly what I wanted to do,” Barrera said. ”I learned never to fight on the level of my opponent.”

One judge had Barerra winning 117-111, while the other two favored him 115-113. The Associated Press had Barrera ahead 116-112.

Barrera, the 32-year-old Mexican champion who has been in many ring wars, chose to box this time, and it paid off when he frustrated Juarez from the opening round.

”I went in with the same game plan as before. I felt like I was the aggressor again,” Juarez said. ”He didn’t want to fight. He never hurt me, not once.”

The fight had none of the drama of the first, and very little of the action. There were no knockdowns, no big punches, not much of anything that the crowd of 10 421 at the MGM Grand hotel expected in the rematch.

The most heated action came at the end of the fight when Barrera (63-4) taunted Juarez, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist, in the final seconds and then tried to go after him after the final bell before being restrained.

Juarez (25-3) pressed the fight the entire way, but he missed constantly and never landed the big left hook that made him a feared fighter in his young career.

”You’ve got to go for the knockout out, you got to go for it,” Juarez’ father said after the 10th round.

Juarez tried, but he could never get in close enough to do sustained damage.

”I just wasn’t able to land what I wanted,” Juarez said.

Still, the fight was close enough that if Juarez would have won the last round — which all three judges gave to Barrera — the fight would have been scored a majority draw.

Ringside punch stats gave an edge to Barrera, crediting him with landing 178 of 564 punches to 134 of 542 for Juarez. The difference was in the jab, with Barrera landing 105 of them to only 34 for the challenger.

Juarez, who felt he gave away the early rounds in the first fight, had vowed to come out aggressive, and he did. He chased Barrera around the ring the first few rounds, but Barerra controlled them by skillfully boxing Juarez from the outside.

Juarez remained on the attack, landing occasionally while following the circling Barrera around the ring. But Barrera’s left jab kept landing, and the right eye of Juarez began swelling in the middle rounds.

By the eighth round, the crowd was booing the action, though Juarez was doing his best to force the attack. Barrera seemed content to stay on the outside, throw his jab and stay away from the left hook of Juarez.

”Just don’t let him catch you with a big punch,” Barrera’s corner told him after the eighth round.

Barrera earned $1-million for the fight, while Juarez was paid $274 000.

On the undercard, Israel Vazquez came back from two knockdowns to stop fellow Mexican Jhonny Gonzalez in the 10th round to retain his WBC super batamweight title.

Gonzalez was ahead on all three ringside scorecards when Vazquez landed a flurry of punches that put him on the canvas. Vasquez, who had also been down in the seventh round, looked to his corner, which threw in the towel to stop the fight at 2:09 of the 10th round.

Gonzalez won the early rounds and dropped Vazquez in the fourth and sixth rounds with left hooks.

In another fight, Dominican Joan Guzman won a split decision over Jorge Barrios of Argentina to win the WBO super featherweight title that was vacated when Barrios couldn’t make the weight limit.

Guzman, who improved to 26-0, was the stronger puncher and appeared to control the fight, but lost by a point on one scorecard and one by only one point on one of the other two. If Barrios (46-3-1) hadn’t had a point taken for low blows in the sixth round the fight would have been a draw. – Sapa-AP