And in many ways ran counter to common knowledge, which is always an underdog at Vegas betting windows. For before the fight it was thought it was Marquez's vaunted left hook that was supposed to be his Sunday punch. And yet it was his right hand that carried the fight on Saturday night.
Beginning with a hard straight right hand that momentarily buckled Barrera's knees and served as a calling card for future hurts, Marquez landed his right time and time again. But each time Marquez landed Barrera came back with some firepower of his own--and would outland Marquez overall, 262-255 by Punchstat count. Their two-sided battle had an appreciative crowd of 8,127 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on its collective feet as early as the third round as both engaged in a give-and-take battle, with more take than give in non-stop action.
The most heated action occurred right before the bell ending the seventh when Marquez stunned Barrera with three big rights, driving the defending champ into the ropes. But Barrera, who seems to feed on being hurt, came back to nail Marquez with a pluperfect right cross, flooring the challenger. However, referee Jay Nady, thinking it to be a push from Barrera's shoulder, completely missed it. And while he was having a good think, Barrera rushed in to attack what he would later call "my fallen prey" and landed an extracurricular right, grazing Marquez's head. Instead of counting, Nady took a point away from Barrera, making it a 10-8 round for Marquez rather than a 10-8 round for Barrera.
By the eighth Marquez had gotten back up, dusted himself off and started all over again, landing more right hands to Barrera's head--with rarely a punch to the body in the carload--while Barrera retaliated with every round of ammunition in his bandillero, usually at the end of the round.
And, at the final bell ending the fight, the two were still at it hammer and tongs, both still wearing their marks of battle--Marquez cut over the right eye, Barrera over the left--marks worthy of Heidelberg duelists.
The decision--116-111, 116-111 and 118-109--went to Marquez. But it was much closer than that. And would have been had not poor Jay Nady scored the knockdown in the seventh a slip.
But the decision was not the story. The story was the fight itself, a fight no two mere mortals could have waged. But then again, Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera are no mere mortals. They are two all-time greats who gave us a great fight, one of the most classic ring wars in recent boxing history.