Super featherweight champion Marco Antonio Barrera has been making formidable statements in the ring for nearly two decades and on May 20th against the very credible Ricardo “Rocky” Juarez, Barrera (61-4, 42 KOs) will be taking on more than the former 2000 Olympic Silver medalist with a 25-1, 18 KOs record. Barrera will also be taking a political role as he plans to further put the spotlight on the highly divisive issue of illegal immigration. The seemingly xenophobic Bill HR 4437 seeks to make being an undocumented immigrant a felony in the United States.

On an HBO signal emanating from The Staples Center in Los Angeles, Barrera will reiterate his point that it’s wrong to make felons of people who currently supply an important portion of America’s labor force. “Americans have to realize how vital we are to this country and its economy. I’ll be wearing or bringing something into the ring showing my support for the hard working Mexicans who live in the United States,” said Barrera.

Barrera, a once aspiring lawyer from Mexico City, has the demeanor of a well versed politician and a knack for talking to the media. An asset which should help him greatly as a promoter once he retires within the next two to three years. The 32-year-old confirmed that he plans to retire by 2009 if not sooner if things don’t work out as planned. As a co-partner in Golden Boy Promotions, Barrera plans to do for boxing in Mexico what De La Hoya and company have been doing in the states. “Oscar and Richard Schaefer have made great strides with Golden Boy and they’re the future. I plan to be with them as a promoter after I retire from the ring,” stated Barrera.

Meanwhile the three division world champion has boxing history to tend to.

His three magnificent wars against his so-called arch nemesis Erik “El Terrible” Morales left little doubt as to his over all boxing superiority over the lanky Tijuanense warrior. Although Morales has been cast as his bitter enemy and polar opposite, Barrera chooses to refer to “El Terrible” with complimentary words. “I know my name will always be linked with him and he’s a great fighter. I personally have no problem with him. If the opportunity for a fourth fight materializes it’s something I’d think about,” he stated.

At his worst, Morales used every insulting word he could conjure up in order to incite Barrera during their most bitter feuding. Morales tabbed Barrera as everything from a “Mexico City phony” to a “mariquitia,” Spanish for sissy. Morales repeated the insult to Barrera’s face and was answered with a fast haymaker during one of their many pre-fight press conferences. Morales, who hails from the tough La Zona Norte neighborhood, responded with some quick straights of his own before the melee was broken up.

Having put all that drama behind him, it seems that for now the Morales issue is on the backburner for Barrera and only two other fighters matter to him at the present moment.

The memory of the beating that Barrera took at the hands of Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao lurks in the back of his mind. Like every great champion, Barrera feels the need to avenge the loss and awaits the right moment. “I’ll get back in the ring with Pacquiao eventually. He’s definitely someone I’d want to fight before I retire. I had some negative circumstances before our first fight and it threw me off my game,” said Barrera. Trainer Rudy Perez is only thinking of the task at hand. “Right now the goal is for Marco to defeat Rocky Juarez. That’s all we’re thinking about. The last thing we want to do is underestimate him. That would be disastrous.”

Disastrous indeed.

Just ask the aforementioned ex-world champ Erik Morales who showed up at the Staples Center overconfident and under-trained for Zahir Raheem last September. The result was 2005’s upset of the year as Raheem outboxed and outhustled “The Terrible One” and took a deserved decision before a packed house of mostly Mexican-American and some Filipino fans that were there to support Manny Pacquiao in the co-main event. Interestingly, “Rocky” Juarez remains the only man to beat Raheem in what was a close and disputable decision.

With the retirement clock ticking, there’s also talk that if he gets past Juarez, WBO Champion Jorge “La Hiena” Barrios, a stablemate of Barrera, could be his next opponent in a three title unification fight. Juarez, Barrios, Pacquiao and just maybe a Morales rematch? That’s an ambitious schedule for someone looking to retire soon. “I know it’s a lot to try to accomplish but Rudy (Perez) and I will work hard to bring fans some memorable fights. I think they’ll be pleased,” assured Barrera.

Pleased indeed.

Some parting shots
Featherweight prospect Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (16-1-1 9 KOs) makes his comeback on May 18th at the HP Pavillion in San Jose on a Goossen-Tutor promotion. It’ll be interesting to see how Guerrero reacts after taking a close loss to Gamaliel Diaz.

II Feathers boxing will be putting on a May 19th show at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, California. Headlining will be Samuel Lopez vs. (most likely) Kahren Harutyunyan who’s coming off a loss to Nonito Donaire on Showtime’s SHOBOX series. Also on the card, Anthony Villareal and Mike “Lil Warrior” Franco.

MMA in San Diego
Total Combat will be making their return to the San Diego County Fairgrounds in Del Mar on May 13th. The mixed martial arts show is aptly titled “Throwdown.” After having easily sold out the 3,000 capacity venue the first time around, the promotion company is stepping up to a hall that holds 8,000. Headlining will be Wesley “Cabbage” Correira of Hilo, Hawaii vs. Loyd “Kadillac” Marshbanks of San Diego. It will also feature the first female cage fight in the newly MMA sanctioned state of California.

For more info on Marco Antonio Barrera go to www.marcobarrera.com