Whether you’re talking about a single era in boxing or Mexico’s entire history of fighters, Marco Antonio Barrera was one of the best. Just as important, he was a fan favorite because of his string of entertaining brawls.
The “Baby Faced Assassin” took on a who’s who of the best fighters from 112 to 140 pounds in a career that spanned more than 20 years, winning four world titles and going 21-4 in championship fights along the way to establish hall of fame credentials.
Barrera, who turned pro at 15, won the first 43 fights of his career. That includes a victory over Daniel Jimenez to win the WBO junior featherweight title in 1995 and eight successful defenses.
Then he ran into trouble, losing his title and consecutive fights to the slick Junior Jones in 1996 and 1997. Many believed at that time that the Mexican warrior, who had been in a number of taxing battles, was finished as an elite fighter.
They were wrong. Barrera reinvented himself as more of a boxer than a slugger and went on to record some of his most important victories. Of course, that includes two victories in his classic trilogy with countryman Erik Morales between 2000 and 2004.
Barrera also beat the likes of Naseem Hamed, Johnny Tapia, Kevin Kelley and Paulie Ayala but lost twice to Manny Pacquiao and once to Juan Manuel Marquez. He dominated the popular Hamed, who was unbeaten and favored going into their 2001 fight.
“Definitely the best fight I had and my best victory was against Naseem Hamed,” Barrera told The Ring while speaking of the 2001 performance that ruined the Prince’s perfect record.