Monday, February 23, 2009

Score it!... Morales-Barrera I (Part 1)

The Boxing Bulletin's Scorecard feature, Score it!... is back, and this month we'll be taking a look at the classic first encounter between Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.

Heading into the bout, most fans picked the undefeated Morales to come out on top of Barrera... and according to two of the three judges, he did. The verdict however was not without a fair amount of controversy, with many observers feeling Barrera had been robbed of the decision.

Let's go back to the Mandalay Bay, February 19, 2000...

The Boxing Bulletin have assembled a panel of our writers to judge the fight and explain their scores.

The Judges: Lee Payton, Mark Lyons, Michael Nelson, Jeff Pryor and Andrew Fruman.

Today, we'll break down rounds 1-6.


“The tone was set for the intensity of the bout, when Morales landed a low blow, and offered out his glove to apologize, only for Barrera to ignore him. Barrera came out the more aggressive of the two, and carried the first half of the round. Morales had a better second half, but it wasn’t enough to swing things in his favor.” – AF

“Morales tried to counter Barrera's rushes, with his own power shots, but got the worst of the exchanges. He picked it up over the last minute, but it wasn't enough.” - LP

“HBO appears to favor Barrera's work, not paying much lip service to the blows Morales gets in. With fifteen seconds left Morales delivers a clean left hookercut between Barrera's gloves, perhaps the best punch of the opening stanza, and which punctuates his work over the final two minutes of the round. “- JP

“The fury is immediate and awesome. Morales blocked quite a few of Marco's punches contrary to Lampley's orgasmic seizures. Very difficult round to score. Marco did get in some hard body shots, but I favored Morales as I felt he did more damage with his cross and uppercuts to the head.” - ML


“The dial gets cranked another notch higher. Barrera lands some big shots this round, both to the body and head. Morales delivers a number of his own... just not as many. It's a round to admire the skill and punching versatility each man has; they each land damaging blows with every punch imaginable, from jabs to hooks, and uppercuts to straight rights.” – JP

“Barrera landed some scorching combo's in particularly a double hook to the body/left uppercut to the head. Every time he lands Morales comes right back, but I gave it to Barrera on his body work and some hard clean shots to the head.” - ML


“Morales came out a bit busier, and tried to take the lead a little more. I thought he had a slight edge through the first minute, and finished nicely to earn the round on my card.” – AF

“Morales comes out bouncing on his toes, and is elusive for the first minute. Barrera gets inside and continues his body assault. It looks like another Barrera round, until Morales finishes strong, getting Barrera's attention with a flush uppercut. Tough to score; I give it to Morales.” – MN

“Through the first minute and a half Morales edges Barrera, landing short uppercuts and generally working harder to land his punches. At midpoint of the round Barrera begins to drive Morales into the ropes and unleash combinations on him. Morales lands his share in the exchanges too, though he his punches are lacking the eye catching quality Barrera's garner. Close round, HBO finally gives a share of credit to Morales. Barrera won his half of the round more convincingly.” – JP


“Marco's left hook to the body is a beautiful thing. However, he is getting outfought here when he presses Morales to the ropes. Another close round, but Erik's activity gained a slight edge.” – ML

"They exchange wildly again and it looks like Barrera may be getting the best of things, because he is moving forward, but his opponent is throwing with him all the way. They change roles and now it's the taller man moving forward. I thought Morales earned the round on activity, while Barrera's work on the ropes may have looked better than it actually was. " - LP

“Barrera continues to ooh and ahh the crowd with vicious left hooks to the liver. Morales had a few moments, but Barrera controlled the round with his body work.” – MN

“Morales shaded the first minute, while Barrera edged the second, and I couldn’t separate them in the third. Morales landed the better looking shots upstairs, but Barrera’s body work made it a wash.” - AF


“Great action, largely dominated by Morales, who feinted the socks off of Barrera to hit him with his right hand at will. Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant though Morales appeared hurt by a Barrera flurry, but I think he was just tired.” – MN

“Though Barrera's been sneering for the better part of five rounds, for the first time in the bout we can see the intensity on Morales' face as he pours on a withering attack that leaves Barrera little but to largely cover up and wait it out. Though Barrera's flurry makes the round closer, it is short lived and fails to overcome the sustained attack that Morales foisted on him for a full minute moments before.” – JP

“I have my Dad watching this with me for the first time in his life and this round drove him off his chair. Wow, Morales came out with a vengeance and never stopped punching. Clearest round of the fight so far.” – ML

“Tough round to score. Morales landed more punches this round, including a series of unanswered power shots in the middle of the round. Barrera started and finished well, and I think overall landed the heavier blows. Morales looks pretty tired at this point. It was Erik's round until the assault at the very end. The punches Marco hit him with were so shocking, they got him the nod on my card. Could have gone either way, in my opinion. ” - LP


“A tit-for-tat round that for the most part was even, until Morales landed a few more shots in the final minute.” – MN

“Barrera is playing defense causing it to be the slowest round of the fight so far. I gave it to Morales because he was the one trying to make the fight, but it is now apparent that Marco is the harder hitter.” - LP

“I had Barrera slightly up after the first couple minutes, but felt Morales did enough down the stretch to even it up. I know that’s already an outrageous two even rounds on my card, but there’s really very little to separate these guys.” - AF

We'll be back tomorrow for Part 2.