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Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The decline of technique and grappling, mediocre and worse fights on pay-per-view, another doping scandal, an allegation of another fixed fight, more fighters being stiffed by a promoter, and more disgraces and scandals are the targets this week. They also demonstrate why the once proud and valorous sport of mixed martial arts, formerly so honorably known as human chess, is devolving into what is now essentially human checkers.
At the same time, what should be one of the biggest and best boxing shows of the year takes place this coming Saturday, September 16, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and on HBO Pay-Per-View in the U.S. The lead promoter for this card is Golden Boy Promotions.
In the main event, Mexican legend and WBC super featherweight champion Marco Antonio Barrera (62-4, 42 KOs) will fight a rematch with Rocky Juarez of Houston, Texas (25-2, 18 KOs). The last time both Barrera and Juarez fought, in May in Los Angeles, Barrera won a controversial split decision victory over Juarez. The outcome had first been announced as a draw, but then was changed to a win for Barrera, as the California commission said they had made a clerical error. Before that fight, Barrera had been expected by most to win handily. Now, hopefully, this will all be settled in the ring by these two warriors.
The two other major fights on this card and telecast also both promise spirited action, superior technique, and rugged competitiveness.
Argentina's Jorge Barrios (46-2-1, 33 KOs), the colorful WBO 130-pound champion, will defend his belt against the undefeated Joan Guzman (25-0, 17 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. Both men are sluggers, although Guzman, nicknamed "Little Tyson", has been developing into a boxer-puncher as well. But this is only Guzman's second fight at this weight, so we shall see for which fighter size matters most.
The top fighter in the world at 122 pounds, WBC super bantamweight champion Israel Vazquez (40-3, 29 KOs), will also defend his title against Jhonny Gonzalez (33-4, 28 KOs), the WBO bantamweight champion who is now moving up in weight. Both of these fighters, who each are from Mexico, have won most of their recent fights by knockout or TKO, so yet another intriguing battle is anticipated here.
As a preview of this loaded card, we spoke on a series of international media conference calls with Marco Antonio Barrera, Rocky Juarez, Golden Boy Promotions' President Oscar De La Hoya, Jorge Barrios, Joan Guzman, Israel Vazquez, and Jhonny Gonzalez.
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