Marco Antonio Barrera looked semi-decent in stopping Jose Arias in the 2nd round of their junior welterweight encounter in Guadalajara, Mexico on Saturday night. Unfortunately for Barrera, most boxers are not 43-year-olds with padded Costa Rican records.
The outcome of the fight was never in doubt, with Barrera (67-7, 44 KOs) putting Arias (15-2, 9 KOs) down in the 1st with a left hook and again in the second with a flurry of punches. Arias had no answers for Barrera’s combinations and the fight was rightly stopped at 2:39 of the second round.
Barrera’s now 2-0 since losing to Amir Khan two years ago. He looked much sharper in this fight than he did against Adailton de Jesus last year. Not that that’s saying much, since Arias was such a no hoper (brave as he was).
On the undercard, featherweight Martin Honorio knocked out Adrian Tellez in the 3rd, while Jonathan Lecona-Ramos upset flyweight prospect David Gaspar via eight-round unanimous decision.
Barrera dreams of a title in a fourth weight division. That’s probably never going to happen. Should he fight on nevertheless?
Hard to say. The 37-year-old can still compete with non-elite level fighters. Losing to Amir Khan isn’t shameful, just sad for a former all time great.
The same question can be asked of Barrera’s rival, Erik Morales, who’s facing Marcos Maidana on HBO PPV on April 9. Some say Maidana is a health risk to Morales. Possibly true, but not more so than Juan Manuel Marquez, who Morales had previously been trying to line up, and who less people seemed to have a problem with.
If anything, it’s probably better for Morales to get brutally knocked out by the nuclear punching Maidana than to accumulate a bunch of punishment against the precise offensive machine that is Marquez.
In the end, boxing is the only job that these guys have ever known. Yes, you and I know that they probably should retire, but can you blame them for continuing? In the end, enjoyable work is an extremely fulfilling thing.
If you had to retire at age 37, what would you do with the rest of your life? There’d be a gaping hole there where work used to be, especially if you’d been doing it since you were eight or so.
The “tarnishing the legacy” argument isn’t really accurate either. Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and countless others had sad, undignified ends to their careers, and are still considered amongst the best of all time.
Moreover, the health risks are uncertain. Some guys, like Roberto Duran, can fight ’til they’re 50, get badly hurt many times and not seem punchy at all. Others, like Tommy Hearns, only seem to have a few hard fights, and end up completely punch drunk.
If Barrera and Morales really want to fight on, they should be able to. They’re free men. So are we, and we don’t have to watch.