Greatest boxing rivalries: Antonio Barrera Erik Morales
A battle between two of Mexico’s most famous sons saw “The Baby faced assassin” Barrera take on “El Terriblo” Morales, in what was yet another title unification fight, on 19 February, 2000. Hailing from a country infamous for stories of violence far beyond those measured elsewhere, this fight promised to pack a serious punch. It delivered on all fronts, as Barrera stuck to lightning fast combos, targeting Morales’ body, while Morales refused to back down, dishing out punishment of his own, leading with a lethal right hand.
There is no doubt though, that Barrera is the quicker off the blocks, leading on score for the first four rounds. The next round, the fifth, was one of the most brutal rounds of boxing ever witnessed. Towards the middle of the round, Morales takes over the fight, landing nearly 20 punches, mostly hooks, and uppercuts against a seemingly stunned Barrera, whose weak defense is blown through by Morales. It is then that Morales gets a bit careless, allowing Barrera to get him against the ropes, and land a big combination which leaves him tasting his own blood, as it pours from his right nostril.
The fighters just could not match that intensity again, and the next couple of rounds saw them exchange uppercuts as both demonstrated their chin for taking punishment. Morales, being the stronger of the two, comes out better, opening up a bruise under the left eye of Barrera, which finally gives way in the ninth round. The remaining three rounds continue to be a similar slug fest, till finally, the bout is scored in favour of Morales in a split decision, his only victory out of their three fights.