The TSS Prediction Squad goes out on the limb, fearlessly forecasting what they see happening on a busy boxing Saturday.
Feel free to disagree, readers, and offer your own predictions.
At almost 34 years of age and with 68 professional fights under Marco Antonio Barrera's belt, Barrera's best days may well be behind him. Barrera's first encounter with Rocky Juarez was a lot tougher than what Barrera had anticipated. Juarez pushed him to the brink, but as a result of Barrera's skill and experience he was able to survive. Had Juarez had the experience, and was more effective in cutting off the ring, Juarez would have won. Whatever Barrera had left in his tank, he would leave it in the ring that night in Los Angeles. It spoke volumes that Barrera would be content to just box and stay on the outside in the rematch with Juarez.
In his preceding fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, Barerra was able to make the fight close because of his skills and experience. Make no mistake about it, Barrera is a great fighter. But after watching that fight, I felt that Marquez clearly won [115-112]. In my opinion Marquez outworked Barrera towards the end of the fight. Maybe if the first fight with Juarez hadn't been so tough, Barrera might have had what he needed to cross the finish line in the bout with Marquez.
Manny Pacquiao is going to smoke Barrera on Saturday night. And not because Pacquiao is this amazing tactician. Anyone who follows Pacquiao is fully aware of the fact that he makes a lot of mistakes. Marquez showed that Pacquiao's offense can be neutralized if you boxing and counter punch effectively.
In order to box effectively you need to have decent foot work. And in order to counter punch effectively against Pacquiao you need to have fast hands; these are two ingredients that Barrera is lacking. Barrera no longer has the speed nor the strength to hold off the little tornado that is Pacquiao. Pacquiao will stop Barrera in four rounds in a one-sided beat down.
As for the heavyweight showdown between Samuel Peter and Jameel McCline, let me start off by saying, "What a joke!" Now that we got that out of the way, I am picking Peter by a first round knockout. McCline is 37 years old, he is coming off of a severe knee injury, he lacks the type of power to hurt Peter and for someone who is 6'6 and 270 pounds, McCline fights scared. Peter will pressure McCline and force him to retreat. McCline has been knocked out three times before. McCline's chin is in serious question. Saturday will be a "big time nightmare" for McCline.
McCline will join Andrew Golota, in being the only heavyweight to get four title shots for all four of the alphabet titles and lose them all.
I'm predicting that Marco Antonio Barrera will pull off the upset. This is a very different Barrera than the first one that first fought Manny Pacquiao. And as David Avila's article on TSS pointed out, Barrera has a great history when it comes to avenging his losses. Barrera may have lost his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, but he didn't look bad in doing so. The Mexican is feeling motivated and emotional about this fight. This is his legacy on the line. I think Barrera takes Pac Man to school, hurts him and wins a unanimous decision.
Sam Peter will be too much for McCline who won't be able to handle the Nigerian's power. Peter by TKO before six.
I see some similarities between Saturday's fight and Barrera-Morales III. Going into that clash in 2004 Morales was on a hot streak while Barrera was apparently on the slide after the beating he took from Pacquiao. But, surprisingly, Barrera managed to set an unrelenting pace against Morales and was unusually aggressive en route to the points win. I expect Barrera to abandon caution this weekend and fight with a similar style against Pacquiao, but he'll eat a lot of heavy leather and will ultimately run out of gas in the later rounds. Pacquiao by late stoppage.
MAB has trained in mountains and gotten himself in great shape. That does not prepare you for Pacman. Not by a long shot.
MAB has a chance, sure. But give me Pacman in this one. The lesson that’s never taught in school, but is reinforced on the playground (and in the White House) every day is that doing your homework doesn’t give you all the answers. Sooner or later, Pacman’s ways will catch up to him. But not yet.
My prediction for McCline: PAIN. I'd like to see Peter get another shot at Klitschko...
With Paquiao’s wild style and erratic training habits, he could be shockingly stopped anytime. Barrera could still do it, but that is doubtful. Pacquiao, by TKO 10.
Sam Peter has worked too hard, waited too long and been screwed too many times to relinquish his title to McCline. Peter by TKO 7.
Could Barrera conceivably reach deep into his heart, and pull out a rabbit of a performance? Sure he could. But the man has contemplated retirement many times in the last few years. He says this is his last fight, regardless. Not the right mental place to be in when facing the relentless human tsunami of flying fists, Pacquiao. Barrera has not snagged a KO since 2005—and he will not have the power to dissuade Pac Man from barreling at him. Pac Man, via corner stoppage, middle rounds.
I like to see a man rewarded for perseverance. Could Jameel McCline carry the day against Sam Peter, who hasn’t used the switch in opponent as an excuse to bloat up? Doubtful. McCline’s body has been rebelling against him, with injuries. This is Jameel’s last stand, and Peter will convince him to do what he has surely pondered in recent years: retire as an active fighter, and spend more time with that lovely family. But hey, I’d love an upset, because I’m going to MSG, and I’d like McCline to win a big one, so he could leave the game without being burdened with the nagging doubt that he didn’t quite measure up to his potential.
Kevin McBride is a study in lost opportunity. He could’ve parlayed his 2005 win against Mike Tyson to a retirement nest-egg title fight. Instead, he and his people, it isn’t quite clear who deserves the egg on face, maybe both entities, frittered away the momentum. But this speaks volumes—McBride has ditched the Guinness (for almost a year now) settled in with his lady, paid attention to a new strength and conditioning coach, accepted the guidance and encouragement of a Boston bar owner/manager, Jerry Quinn…and seems poised to try and finally soak up that momentum. He will beat Andrew Golota, who has shown only intermittent interest in the sport, and may only be doing boxing for financial reasons. McBride, by KO, in the third.
I’m picking the southpaw Daniel Santos to outpoint Jose Rivera in that MSG 154 pound title shot eliminator. Why? Rivera’s lost to Luis Collazo and Travis Simms, in a bad beatdown in January. Rivera doesn’t deal with that stance well. Santos is a fine technical boxer, who has been plagued by inactivity. Rivera has been spending a lot of time trying to get a promotional company off the ground, and he’s 34, coming off a bad loss. Momentum is not on his side.
By all recent form and logic, Peter should wear McCline down by the eigth round. But something tells me Peter's crappy luck regarding a heavyweight title is going to continue, perhaps even in a scene similar to Michael Grant's leg injury against McCline. At least we can hope for something dramatic, otherwise there's a good chance that once McCline feels Peter's punches he'll hang on and nothing more in a substitute snoozer.
Apply the recent form and logic theory to Pacquaio - Barrera and it looks like a bloody end of the road for Barrera. The only thing likely to change that probability is if the many reports from the Phillipines that Pacquaio is partying more than training and not focussed on Barrera at all hold true.