When Manny Pacquiao defeated legendary Mexican boxer MarcoAntonio Barrera in November 2003, nearly four years ago, not a few wereconsiderably shocked—including Barrera himself.
It was a brutal fight, one that saw Barrera, nicknamed "TheBabyfaced Assassin" kiss the canvas more than twice before eventually beinghalted by Pacquiao in eleven rounds.
Although a no title bout, the win established Pacquiao'sentry into the big-time even as he continued to pummel every Mexican that camehis way since then—Erik Morales (KO 3, TKO 10), Oscar Larios (W 12),Emanuel Lucero (TKO 3), Hector Velazquez (TKO 6) and Jorge Solis (KO 8).
The only "stain" in the Pacman winning streak was the drawagainst Juan Manuel Marquez in 2004. A lot of people reacted negatively to thisdraw since Pacquiao sent Marquez to the canvas three times in the first round.
Now, with the settlement between Top Rank and Golden BoyPromotions already completed, the much-awaited Pacquiao vs. Barrera rematch isnow a reality.
Dubbed Will to Win: Pacquiao vs. Barrera, and scheduled on October 6, 2007[Sunday, October 7, 9 a.m., local time] at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in LasVegas, many are wondering if Barrera will finally be able to avenge his defeat.This event is a 12-round super featherweight title fight between Pacquiao, 28,and Barrera, 33.
Barrera is considerably "itching" to get back at the prizedFilipino boxer.
"I am not just fighting for personal revenge, I'm fightingfor my country and my fellow Mexican fighters who have fallen victim toPacquiao," stated a determined Barrera. "I want to beat Manny so badly I cantaste it. This goes beyond being personal. For me, this fight is aboutrestoring national pride!"
Pacquiao is confident he can handle the raging Mexican.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) talked with the famedPambansang Kamao (The National Fist) during the send-off party held at Gourdo'sat the Fort. Pacquaio assured us that he is "one hundred percent ready for the fight."
The Filipino boxer took off last Saturday, September 22, totrain in Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California. "I worked andtrained hard for this fight. I am ready. I will do my best to make my countryproud," he declared.
Roach was as confident as his ward, yet he admitted that Pacquiao'straining is far from over. "We will continue working when we get to L.A. Mannyis still a work in progress. But he is in tip-top shape. He is ready to dobattle with anyone."
The early morning send-off party, which was attended by many of Pacquiao'ssupporters, including political heavyweights Lito Atienza and Chavit Singson,also saw the signing of agreement between Solar Sports and GMA-7 with regardsto exclusive airing of the bout.
"Manny is an inspiration and hero to all our kababayans. I am happy to consider him aKapuso," said Felipe Gozon, President and CEO of GMA Network.
As the date for the rematch between the two boxers approaches, manyconsider Pacquiao a favorite anew, having measured Barrera a "spent-force" farfrom the "bull" of his younger years. In fact, the Mexican boxer has expressed his desire to retire afterthis match.
Then again, surprises happen in boxing. Pacquiao himselfwouldn't predict a knock-out.
"I wouldn't dare predict a win. It's not my style. But as Isaid, I will try my best and hopefully come home with a win," says anoptimistic Pacquiao.
Will to Win: Pacquiao vs. Barrera airs exclusively on GMA-7 on Sunday, October7, at 9 a.m. (local time).