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Saturday, 21 September, 2002, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Respect between rivals
Marco Antonio Barrera
Barrera is eager to fight the best

Marco Antonio Barrera and Johnny Tapia will experience double vision in their eagerly awaited IBF World title bout, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on 2 November.

But it will not initially be because they are seeing stars due to their combined punching power.

In Latin American countries people have double surnames - the father's and then the mother's.


Whatever happens, we have enormous respect for each other, and we will be great friends before, not during, but afterwards
Marco Antonia Barrera
on Johnny Tapia

Marco is a Barrera on his father's side, and a Tapia on his mother's side.

"Hey, what's in a name. Johnny told me... no problem, we are friends and now we are family. If the crowd starts shouting Tapia, we'll both obviously be very pleased," Barrera told BBC Sport Online.

"I'll have Barrera on the front of my trunks, and I'll have Tapia on the back. While I'll suppose Johnny will have his name on the front of his trunks.

"Whatever happens, we have enormous respect for each other, and we will be great friends before, not during, but afterwards, because that small but important segment is all about business."

Barrera knows that, despite the friendship, this fight will be a tough one.

"Johnny is going to be more difficult than Morales because he's stronger, faster, and throws a lot of punches. He also has a very, very big heart.


He's older than me, but he's also always in great shape for all his fights
Barrera

"In this fight with Johnny I won't box and move according to my new style, I'll be face-to-face and toe-to-toe with him. I'll maintain a high volume of punches and keep the pressure constantly on him.

"He's older than me, but he's also always in great shape for all his fights, so the key for me will be my complete and thorough preparation.

"I'll be spending at least five weeks in Big Bear to hone my physical condition. This fight will probably go the full distance, and it's going to be one tough contest."

When asked about the man he defeated in April 2001, Naseem Hamed, Barrera was surprisingly complimentary.

"Hello there Naz. You're a good friend. Come back, I'm waiting for you.

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity of challenging you the first time round. Now I want to give you the opportunity."

Barrera commented that although Hamed's fight with Manuel Calvo might have been a touch disappointing, even great fighters sometimes have an off-night.

In his opinion, if the Prince gets a couple of good fights under his belt, a second fight between them is a possibility between March and December of next year.

In the meantime, Barrera is methodically working his way through a shortlist of world featherweight champions.

He has defeated the WBC's Erik Morales, Tapia is next on the list and after that he says he will seek a bout with the WBO's Juan Pablo Chacon from Argentina.

"The titles are not so important for me, as defeating all the reigning champions."

Barrera acquires boxing titles with ease, but the latest addition to his life is a baby boy, named after his father.

"I want Marco jnr to be a soccer player like my father Jorge, but I don't want professional boxing for him. One crazy one is quite enough in the family!"

See also:

09 Sep 01 | Boxing
23 Jun 02 | Boxing
16 Dec 01 | Boxing
Links to more Boxing stories are at the foot of the page.


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