Written by Rick Folstad
Saturday, 26 January 2002 18:00
This isn’t a fight for guys who like barroom brawls, haymakers or quick endings. This isn’t for casual fans or curious first-timers or people who go to the race track just to see car wrecks.
This fight is for connoisseurs, for diehards, for those fans who follow the fight game with a passion, who know a left hook from a left jab, who understand there’s more of an art to slipping a punch then throwing one.
This is for anyone who would rather see a fight go 12 hard rounds than two quick ones.
When Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales finally touch gloves at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, most of the world’s serious boxing fans will be tuned in somehow. They’ll either be watching it or at least trying to get updates.
The guys who like car wrecks and haymakers will probably be out to dinner somewhere.
Available on pay-per-view for less money than what they charged earlier this month for the Lennox Lewis - Mike Tyson heavyweight fight, they’re expecting about 500,000 buys. That’s great for a featherweight title fight, but not even close to the 1.8 million buys for Tyson-Lewis.
But that’s just the way it is.
The Tyson-Lewis fight sold big because most of us didn’t know who Mike Tyson was anymore. We didn‘t know if he still had that rage and that rare ability to slip inside a bigger man and drop him to his knees with a six-inch punch. We didn’t know if we were going to see the old Mike Tyson of the 1980s or the sad Mike Tyson of today, whether he was going to win, quit or pull a gun.
When he fought Lewis on June 8, he was still a fascinating mystery to us, a savage element we wanted to watch and learn about.
And he was a heavyweight, which always sells.
While we didn’t know what Tyson might do, there is very little mystery surrounding the Barrera - Morales fight. Barring something unexpected like a cut or a lucky punch, this fight is expected to be long and brutal. The first one sure was.
Morales won that fight on a split decision more than two years ago, though you can still get in a back-alley fight of your own if you go into the wrong bar and say the right guy won.
They put on a show the heavyweights can only wish for.
The difference between this rematch and the Lewis-Tyson fight is simple, but it says a lot about the fight game and those who watch it.
The reason most people bought Tyson - Lewis is because they didn't know what they were going to see.
The reason most people are buying Morales-Barrera is because they do know what they're going to see.