(Freshly ripped from ESB, I'll do a CHB exclusive when I get back from holiday)
Round 1: Barrera 10-9 Morales
Round 2: Barrera 10-9 Morales
Round 3: Barrera 10-9 Morales
Round 4: Barrera 9-10 Morales
Round 5: Barrera 9-10 Morales
Round 6: Barrera 9-10 Morales
Round 7: Barrera 9-10 Morales
Round 8: Barrera 10-9 Morales
Round 9: Barrera 10-9 Morales
Round 10: Barrera 9-10 Morales
Round 11: Barrera 10-9 Morales
Round 12: Barrera 10-8 Morales
Final Score: Barrera 115-112 Morales
This is one of the greatest fights of all time no doubt. It has pretty much been my favourite fight for aslong as I can remember (expect for a brief period where Carbajal vs Gonzalez I was). I'm no quite sure just how many times I've watched this fight but its got to be well into double figures. Its just that fucking good. Barrera was coming into this fight with two losses to Junior Jones on his record and a 12 round war and stoppage of Jones conquer Kennedy McKinney. Morales on the other hand was undefeated and had come into the bout with a vicious stoppage of Junior Jones, and solid wins over the likes of an ageing Zaragoza and of 92 Olympian Wayne McCullough. Both men are personal favourites of mine, and I regularly struggle to decide who I like more.
What separates this fight for me from the likes of Castillo-Corrales and Gatti-Ward is rather than just brutality, what you have on show is a display of incredible highly tuned technical skills being thrown out of the window at times for a good dose of skull thumping. Morales was the slightly younger fighter but both men where clearly in their primes and where certainly experienced in their craft. Barrera started off the stronger, with his first action of the fight being a three punch combination of a jab, straight right, left uppercut. That sort of sets the standard of what was about to transpire. For the first few rounds you have the more fluid fighter in Barrera charging ahead working well on both the inside and outside. On the inside he was working well with that beautiful left hand he has, working it as a left hook to the body or a left uppercut to the body and head, shot flowing into the next. On the outside he was working well being a high guard parrying the jab of Morales and only once or twice being overwhelmed by Morales's own combinations which failed to show the same sort of effectiveness as Barrera's. For what its worth while I don't think Barrera had quite reached his defensive peak I do think he displayed the clearly better defence throughout, although he allowed his high guard to be broken through multiple time by Morales's vicious right uppercut on the inside.
The real swing in momentum for me came in the fourth where I thought Morales started to bully the action on the inside and keep Barrera guessing on when he could inside with his footwork. I've never been a massive fan of Morales's footwork in the same style I have as say...Lopez's, but during rounds 4 and 5 I thought he put on a masterclass here and worked his way in to really bully these rounds off Barrera. While Morales really put on quite the show in middle four rounds I scored for him, and while Barrera was working to the body nicely at times and managing to hit Morales big, I felt he couldn't match Morales's activity and at times was just allowing his guard to be broken through by Morales's right uppercut.
The real deciding rounds in this fight for me and for everybody else I'm guessing are those insane championship rounds. After 7/8 rounds of relentless beating on each other, both men somehow turn it up a gear and manage to weather the tsunami of pain they throw at each other. As for these rounds what can I say? They're pretty close aside from round 12 and maybe round 10, but Barrera just works through them with that sickening left hand he possesses. Both men get cut and both men get tagged with megashots, yet it seems rather ironic that after a display of nifty footwork and being hit by titanic shots, Morales goes down due to his own sloppy footwork and rather light shot. I'm not quite sure how I sum up how both men do as far as technically go in these rounds, other than with the words, holy shit.
The final scores are read out in favour of Morales via split decision and while all scores all close besides those of Dalby Shirley (who scores it like I do) I fail to see how this can go in favour of Morallah. He certainly showed balls out there in the face of a fluid combination puncher, with a dynamite left hand on a warpath, but that doesn't win fights, what wins fights is fluid combination punches and having a dynamite left hand. Both men will go on to rematch a division above and I shall talk of that another time.
(tl;dr I scored the fight for Barrera).