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Who Was Greater - Marco Antonio Barrera or Erik Morales?

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Who Was Greater - Marco Antonio Barrera or Erik Morales? Empty Who Was Greater - Marco Antonio Barrera or Erik Morales?

Post by 88Chris05 Wed 29 Jun 2022, 11:47 pm

One of boxing's most high-profile and celebrated rivalries - and just as there wasn't much to split them during their classic trilogy in the ring, fans probably have an even harder time deciding who ranks as greater based on overall accomplishments and contribution to the sport. Pretty remarkable how evenly matched they are in so many departments.

I've got quite a bit to say on this as I've been pondering this for a while (for years I had Barrera marginally ahead, but am thinking I might swap them around on deeper reflection), but would be good to get some input from you guys before I go all in. Hopefully that'll generate a better level of debate.

The Baby Faced Assassin or El Terrible - who is the greater of the pair in your eyes?
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Post by superflyweight Thu 30 Jun 2022, 10:28 am

Nice one Chris.  

Whichever way you look at it, it's always going to be close.  I've always had a preference for Erik based largely on his style and attitude (always seemed a bit of a throwback to fighters from an earlier era) and that probably prejudices my thoughts so that I have him ahead of Barrera.  

Despite the scores in the second fight, I give him the first two fights in their trilogy and while I don't think there's any argument about the third fight, it was a close loss in a great fight.  Morales also has that great win against a genuine all time great in Manny on his ledger (capped off with that immortal quote) and more than anything that probably tips the balance in his favour when comparing him to Marco.

I wouldn't argue against anyone having it the other way round though.

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Post by No name Bertie Thu 30 Jun 2022, 2:20 pm

Barrera was the slightly smaller guy, 2 inches shorter, 2 inches smaller arm reach and over two and a half years older. Fought from superfly to lightweight while Morales fought from superbantam to light welterweight. In terms of resume looks very close with Morales probably edging it.
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Post by TRUSSMAN66 Thu 30 Jun 2022, 3:04 pm

Not even close for me...Barrera won the trilogy and his defeat of Hamed who was a top p4per and unbeaten is one of the best wins of the last 30 years..

Yes Erik went 1-1 with Manny but Manny wasn't as great as he was to become...Arguable sub prime though he did beat Barrera..

Frazier beat Ali and George didn't..But George won out against him and is higher.

Barrera comfortably.. Good thread.

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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 30 Jun 2022, 3:18 pm

TRUSSMAN66 wrote:Not even close for me...Barrera won the trilogy and his defeat of Hamed who was a top p4per and unbeaten is one of the best wins of the last 30 years..

Yes Erik went 1-1 with Manny but Manny wasn't as great as he was to become...Arguable sub prime though he did beat Barrera..

Frazier beat Ali and George didn't..But George won out against him and is higher.

Barrera comfortably.. Good thread.

Barrera did lose twice to Junior Jones though, someone Morales would go on to beat quite easily.

I don't think there's a great deal between the two but that Pacquiao win combined with not losing to any sub par opponents edges it toward Morales for me.

Hamed was a great win for Barrera but has to be said he if was past his own prime by then.

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Post by Guest Thu 30 Jun 2022, 6:26 pm

Morales was marginally better but I preferred Barrera.

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Post by Mr Bounce Thu 30 Jun 2022, 6:39 pm

I think the only way to split these two is by personal preference. They both went about things by fighting the best they could face, had an awesome trilogy and had a proper following all over the world.

As Soul says, losing not once, but twice to Junior Jones was a real blip for MAB. And of course there's the fight for Morales that everyone forgets about - the UD defeat to Zahir Raheem - which was somewhat unexpected.

I really liked both fighters - they were both examples of excellent fighters but from a completely different perspective. Tough, clever and dangerous. Morales edges it for me, but only JUST. And tomorrow I am just as likely to think the opposite.

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Post by 88Chris05 Thu 30 Jun 2022, 10:40 pm

Great points all round, chaps.

@superfly: I revisited the trilogy along with a few of their other fights in preparation for putting this question to the board (let's be honest, it's a trilogy worth revisiting for any reason). No matter how many times I view it, I've always come out thinking the same - that 2-1 to Barrera was the right result across the series, albeit I think the wrong man got his hand raised in both of the first two fights. Can't really grumble with anyone seeing it 2-1 to Morales though, given that there was never more than a couple of points between them in any of the fights (for my money anyway).

I also view Barrera as the better all-round talent of the pair with a more complete game. But as you say, Morales was maybe that little bit more durable and mentally more imposing. Had a touch of Duran about him in the way he showed such disdain toward his opponents and loved to play to the crowd with his machismo. Barrera occasionally got upset and could become subdued if things went against him (he should really have won that rematch against Jones before he lost his way in the final third of the fight, and a similar thing happened against Marquez years later), whereas that didn't really happen with Morales, at least not before he hit that sudden decline.

@Bertie and @Truss, I think that's the issue in a nutshell. Barrera came out on top of the trilogy, but there's an argument to make that Morales' record outside of those three fights (which were all close) is deeper and more impressive, albeit by a slim margin.

At Super-Bantam, Morales clearly has the better record (I think Barrera edged him at 122, but it was damn close) and is the only guy at that weight who can hold a candle to Gomez. At Feather, again though I thought Morales deserved their fight at that weight, the advantage is clearly with Barrera. He got the 'W' against Erik and humbled Hamed in style, whereas Morales didn't really hit his best form at 126 (pretty unconvincing performance against Espadas first time out too, for instance, though I don't think it was a robbery as many claim). And at Super-Feather it's pretty tight. Barrera got the win when they collided at 130, but Morales was still great in defeat there and has that massive win against Pacquiao, and his other victories there such as Chavez and Hernandez are probably slightly better than Barrera's at the same weight against Fana and Peden. The downside is that Pacquiao annihilated him twice in their return bouts....But that doesn't really harm him too much here, as Manny had already done that to Barrera two or three years beforehand as well.

If Morales has the better wins overall, then I'm not sure who has the worse losses. Erik seems to get off a little lightly for the Raheem disaster compared to the criticism Marco gets for losing to a much better fighter twice in Jones. I appreciate that 135 wasn't Morales' best weight, and that he'd been through some hard scraps, might have been lacking motivation etc...But it was only six months after his greatest victory, and he was only (and barely) 29 at the time. So no real excuses for that one.

Anything after 2007 for either guy can be pretty much written off, albeit Morales did bag an additional world title in a four division to nudge ahead of Barrera on that front. Personally the belt he won at 140 is pretty much inadmissible for me, as Cano was bang average and the belt was only up for grabs because Bradley couldn't be bothered with it. I actually think his loss to Maidana at 140 means more than picking up that belt, because it was one of the most courageous and gritty losing efforts you'll see. Morales had no business running Maidana so close at that stage, especially considering he fought practically the entire fight with only one eye open. If you believe a fighter's legacy can grow in defeat in certain circumstances then this might be an example which qualifies....And it's so close between them it's worth bearing in mind.
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Post by Mochyn du Fri 01 Jul 2022, 1:23 pm

I have to go Barrera mainly because of the Hamed win.

Hamed was undefeated and Barrera put on a masterclass. It's a bit like the Chavez Taylor win in that it stands out so much. A flash slick guy being taken down a few pegs. No Barrera for me.

Although Barrera does have those shockers against Junior Jones so it may be close.

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Post by 88Chris05 Fri 01 Jul 2022, 2:00 pm

I'd say the second Jones loss is the real sickener for Barrera, because he looked like he had that rematch under control after seven or eight rounds and then just lost his way for whatever reason. In the first one he just got caught with a huge shot while they were both wide open and couldn't recover - it can happen to anyone, I guess, and it was only once in Marco's case.

To be fair, Jones was a talented, slick guy who usually outboxed everyone he fought until he tired or just took one too many chances (a bit like Jermain Taylor in his pomp). Even though it was a short fight, he was probably getting the best of it against Morales before the stoppage too. He just wasn't a guy who always fought smart and would start exchanging with guys when he should have been measuring them.

Boy, this is tough. Marco won the trilogy, was the better and more talented fighter (for me anyway) and has that bit more high-level longevity, whereas Erik beat the slightly better names overall, won belts in four divisions as opposed to three for Marco (if you value that) and possibly has the less damaging defeats on his record, though that's not a given depending on how willing you are to overlook Raheem.

For the longest time I had Barrera a slither ahead, but now I think I might (only might!) have to lean towards Morales by a whisker.
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