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Sunday, October 07, 2007

HBO Pay-Per-View Results: Pacquiao prevails in tough rematch with Barrera

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao sure didn't look distracted while he pounded Marco Antonio Barrera into retirement.
Barrera was sharp as well, and he kept his feet in this entertaining rematch — but Pacquiao kept his supremacy.

Pacquiao beat Barrera for the second time Saturday night, winning a gritty unanimous decision nearly four years after the Philippines' favorite son became a boxing superstar with an upset victory over Barrera.

Photo by Steve Marcus, Reuters

Pacquiao's trainers and fans worried about the distractions of Manny's many interests outside boxing in the weeks leading up to the fight. Pacquiao's dalliances with movies, music and politics didn't matter, because the sport's most inspired brawler was his usual ruthless self in dispatching yet another great Mexican champion in a 130-pound bout at Mandalay Bay.

"It was a good fight, and it was different from the first fight," Pacquiao said. "He's a good, smart boxer. I'm satisfied with the result. I knew he would have to box me this time around."

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Reuters Philippines Marco Antonio Barrera Manny Pacquiao Steve Marcus
Not even an illegal 11th-round blow by Barrera could stop the lightning-quick Pacquiao (45-3-2, 34 KOs), who earned his sixth straight victory. Barrera (63-6) lost a point for a head shot that discombobulated Pacquiao after the referee moved in to separate them in the 11th, but Pacquiao recovered in time to reach the final bell.

Though Barrera again said he'll retire after consecutive losses this year, the result was a moral victory that could be heard in the voices of the Mexican fans who stood and cheered the 33-year-old as he left the ring.

"I definitely lost my head in some of those rounds," Barrera said. "I got too caught up in the action. I probably shouldn't have stayed in those exchanges as long as I did. We boxed well. I feel like I dominated the fight with my left hand, and then I got a head-butt, and that's what threw me off the game plan."

Pacquiao was responsible for the only TKO loss of the Mexican champion's career in their first meeting in late 2003, but Barrera refused to go down this time against one of the sport's knockout artists.

With his three children crowded around him, Barrera affirmed his decision to retire afterward. He vowed he wouldn't even enter the ring for a farewell fight in his native Mexico City, as he had previously considered.

"I was sad because I lost the fight, but he never really hurt me," Barrera said. "I didn't even think he landed that many punches."

Both fighters raised their arms in celebration at the end, but Barrera's excitement seemed artificial. Judge Tom Schreck scored it 115-112 for Pacquiao, while Jerry Roth and Glenn Trowbridge both favored Pacquiao 118-109. The Associated Press gave it to Pacquiao, 116-111.

Pacquiao predictably dominated the punch stats, landing 256 punches to Barrera's 120. Pacquiao also had more than twice as many power shots, hitting on 54% while Barrera had just 34%.

"I was surprised (Barrera) lasted the way he did," said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer. "He has a lot of heart and guts. He fought a great fight. ... Manny boxed well. He showed good footwork, cutting off and moving him to the right. When he did that, it was beautiful."

With Pacquiao in his prime and Barrera on the downside, Pacquiao was a strong favorite to win the rematch — but their 2003 roles were reversed.

Barrera was the favorite in the fighters' first meeting, but his preparation was beset by distractions ranging from a forest fire near his training camp to the metal plate in his head. Nearly four years later, Barrera prepared furiously for his first fight since losing his WBC 130-pound belt to Juan Manuel Marquez in March.

Pacquiao is now the distracted superstar who abruptly moved his training camp back home to the Philippines, where he's besieged daily by side projects ranging from movie roles and pop singing to political aspirations.

Pacquiao's fights are national events in the Philippines, with athletic clubs and bars and clubs — and even air force bases — turning into viewing venues for millions of fans. Pacquiao usually gives them something to cheer, and he provided just enough action to stay on top.

Pacquiao did his first real damage late in the second round with a flurry of combinations that forced Barrera to retreat and counterpunch. Barrera got back on the offensive in the middle rounds, staggering Pacquiao several times during their crowd-pleasing exchanges, but Pacquiao usually was a half-second quicker.

Pacquiao opened a cut below Barrera's right eye with a flurry in the 11th, but Barrera staggered Pacquiao with an overhand right after referee Tony Weeks jumped in to break up the fighters. Weeks deducted a point while Pacquiao stood with his arms on the ropes, but the punch must not have been serious.

Both fighters made $2 million as promoters Oscar De La Hoya and Bob Arum staged an entertaining card in their first joint effort since settling various legal disputes between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, including a lengthy wrangle over the right to promote Pacquiao.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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