Forgotten Classics: Acelino Freitas vs Jorge Barrios

Freitas vs Barrios

By: Steve Gallegos

Usually, when rival countries Brazil and Argentina go head to head, it’s on the soccer field; however one summer night in 2003, the eyes of both countries were focused on the prize ring when unbeaten AcelinoPopoFreitas of Brazil squared off with Argentina’s JorgeLa HienaBarrios.

Acelino Freitas was a fan favorite in the early 2000’s. He was an aggressive puncher who produced exciting KO’s and he was regarded by many as the best, pure puncher in boxing. He won the WBO Super Featherweight championship in 1999 with a first round KO of Anatoly Alexandrov. It was in his fourth defense of the title that the mainstream boxing public got their first look at “Popo“.

In June of 2000, he appeared on HBO’s short lived boxing program KO Nation and he was impressive in destroying Lemuel Nelson in two rounds. After that, he signed a huge contract with Showtime Networks. In January of 2002, Freitas unified the division when defeated WBA Jr. Lightweight champion Joel Casamayor by unanimous decision in what was a very close, competitive fight.

Before Sergio Martinez, Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysee, Jorge Barrios was the face of boxing in Argentina. He was a flashy, exciting fighter who loved to come forward and brawl. He was also a major star outside of the ring as he was an actor, a model and a singer. He had an impressive record of 39-1-1 going into the Freitas bout and he also picked up a few minor and regional title belts in the process; however he was virtually unknown outside of Argentina.

Freitas and Barrios met on 08/09/03 at the Miami Arena in Miami, FL for the WBA/WBO Super Featherweight titles. Barrios entered the ring sporting colorful soccer Attire to go along with a red doo rag and red sunglasses. He appeared loose, confident and determined to shine in his U.S. debut. Freitas came into the ring more reserved, more focused. It was a packed house full of Argentines and Brazilians waving their flags while cheering soccer style.

In the first round, Freitas came out using his jab and was trying to keep the fight on the outside where he had the advantage and he was doing well for the first half of the round, however this didn’t last long. The distance closed in the final minute of the round as both men exchanged punches, both to good effect. The best punch of the round came from Freitas who landed a good right uppercut that staggered Barrios.

The second round belonged to Barrios as he pressed forward, being the aggressor. He was able to get inside on Freitas and landed some good clubbing shots. Freitas came out in the third using his jab and was using it well to set up his hard right hand and began landing it at will. Freitas tagged Barrios with at least three hard right hand shots that would have knocked out many other opponents, however Barrios took them well and kept coming forward while landing some shots of his own.

The right hand shots from Freitas opened up two cuts. On on the bridge of Barrios‘ nose and another on the edge of the left eye. Freitas continued to box in the fourth round by using his left jab to set up his right and was doing fairly well, however Barrios was unphased and continued to press forward forcing the exchanges which provided some exciting action. Round five was fought at a much slower pace. Freitas stayed mostly on the outside, using his left jab to keep Barrios at bay and didn’t allow the him to get on the inside. Freitas had only fought four rounds in the last 12 months and he appeared to be pacing himself for the long haul.

Barrios continued to press forward in the sixth, trying to make the fight a brawl as he threw wild lunging punches, however they weren’t landing clean and Freitas was able to duck and slip. Freitas continued to use his jab, however he was hesitant to throw his right hand as it appeared to be hurt. At the beginning of the seventh, referee Jorge Alonso called the ringside doctor over to take a look at Barrios as he began to bleed slightly from the right ear. The doctor inspected it and determined he had a ruptured eardrum, however the fight could continue.

Freitas dominated most of the seventh round by using his jab to set up his right hand and he was using lateral movement to avoid exchanges. In the last 30 seconds of the round, Barrios closed the distance by forcing “Popo” against the ropes, roughing Freitas up as the round came to an end. Freitas dominated most of the eighth round in similar fashion. Barrios, with the blood pouring down his face, slowed down his attack somewhat and was looking to time Freitas. In the last 20 seconds of the round, Barrios landed a straight left that put Freitas down. Acelino immediately rose to his feet and nodded his head as if to say “Yeah, I got caught”. The tide had turned somewhat in favor of Barrios.

Barrios capiltalized on the knockdown in the eighth by fighting very impressively in the ninth as he remained the aggressor, pressing forward while landing some good shots. He looked as though he might be taking control of the fight as Freitas seemed to hold back in the ninth. Barrios came out in the 10th with blood pouring badly down the left side of his face and another cut had opened up over his right eye. Freitas started the 10th by greeting Barrios with a hard, straight right hand. Freitas began to stick and move while jabbing and landing his right hand, however Barrios showed his world class chin and kept coming forward, landing some good shots of his own. Barrios‘ left eye was bleeding badly and during a break by the referee, Barrios leaned over and wiped his eye on referee Jorge Alonso’s shirt.

In the 11th. both men stood on the outside looking to counter the other’s lead. Barrios began to jab effectively and then he landed a solid 1-2 left, right combination that put Freitas down again. This time Freitas was hurt and he took a few seconds to get up. The combination that put Freitas down, also knocked the mouth piece out and Freitas got a few extra seconds to let his head clear as the mouthpiece was put back in. Freitas, however was in trouble and Barrios moved in, trying to finish his man and during another break in the action, Barrios once again leaned over and wiped his cut on referee Jorge Alonso’s sleeve.

Barrios continued to stalk Freitas, however “Popo” stayed away and was able to clear his head. The fight that had many twists and turns, took a huge detour as Freitas landed a hard, straight right hand at the bell that buckled Barrios and put him down. Barrios wasn’t able to be saved by the bell, however he did get up. Freitas came out in the 12th and landed a hard right hand that buckled Barrios again and he followed it up with another hard right that put Barrios down again. Barrios once again showed heart by getting up, however he was in a daze. Barrios went down again due to a slip, however he was slow to get up and his legs were wobbling as he tried to get up, forcing referee Jorge Alonso to stop the fight.

It was an dramatic end to a very exciting fight that had many twists and turns. It was a hard fought victory for Freitas and it would be his last fight at 130 lbs. He moved up to lightweight for his next fight and outpoined Artur Grigorian by unanimous decision to win the WBO lightweight title. He would then lose the title and his first fight in August of 2004, when he was stopped by Diego Corrales in the 10th round. He would regain the WBO lightweight title a year and a half later when he decisioned 1996 U.S. Olympian Zahir Raheem. Freitas would however lose his title one year later in a lightweight title unification bout with Juan Diaz when “Popo” quit on his stool prior to the eighth round. He would remain inactive for five years and returned to the ring in June of 2012, scoring a ninth round KO over Michael Oliveira. He hasn’t fought since. His record as professional stands at 39-2 with 33 KO’s.

Barrios rebounded from this less fairly well. Two years and three wins later, Barrios won the WBO Super Featherweight title by scoring a fourth round TKO over Mike Anchondo, becoming Argentina’s first Super Featherweight titleholder. He would successfully defend his title only once before losing it via split decision to Joan Guzman in September of 2006. He would go 4-1 over the next four years. He hasn’t fought since 2010. Barrios‘ record stands at 50-4-2 with 35 KO’s. They were two fighters from rival countries who were as different as oil and water, however they mixed together very well to produce one of the “Forgotten Classics” of the last decade.

Freitas vs Barrios







Photo Credit: Hector Gabino/AFP/Getty Images (Acelino Freitas, (R), Jorge Barrios (L).

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Mayweather Overcomes Mayhem to Remain Undefeated. Santa Cruz Destroys Roman, Bey Dethrones Vasquez.

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 13, 2014) – After 24 rounds of boxing with Marcos Maidana, Floyd Mayweather is still the undisputed pound-for-pound champion.

Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) successfully defended his WBC and WBA Welterweight and WBC Super Welterweight World Championships with a unanimous 12-round decision victory in a rematch with Argentine slugger Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs) on Saturday in front of 16,144 fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, live on SHOWTIME PPV®.

“Money” strategically fought the fight that he wanted, effectively avoiding the looping punches against the ropes that “El Chino” was able to land in their first bout and pivoting back to his domain – the center of the ring.

The five-division world champion was decidedly more effective and efficient, landing 58 percent of his power punches compared to Maidana’s 26 percent. The 37-year-old also landed 43 percent of his jabs compared to 17 percent for Maidana and 51 percent of his total punches compared to Maidana’s 22 percent.

Unlike their first meeting in May – a majority decision for the 11-time world champion – there was no controversy in the judges’ decisions. Judge Guido Cavalleri had the fight 115-112 while Dave Moretti and John McKaie scored it 116-111.

“He’s a tough opponent and I did what I had to do tonight,” Mayweather said. “I just didn’t stay on the ropes. I have a couple bumps and bruises because he’s a wild young fighter. My father told me to hit and not get hit and that’s what we did.

“I felt sharper in the first fight. I felt a little dry and dead in this fight. I give myself a C, a C-minus. I could have been better. I got hit with some shots tonight that I shouldn’t have gotten hit with. But that comes with the sport.”

Maidana disagreed with the decision but didn’t plead for a third showdown.

“I thought I won the fight but if the judges want to give the fight to a guy who runs that’s their decision,” Maidana said. “I feel like I was the aggressor and I kept applying the pressure. He kept holding and pushing and the ref never did anything about it. Instead, the ref took a point away from me.”

While the decision was clear, the fight was not without controversy. Frustrated with Mayweather’s clinching, Maidana seemingly bit his opponent’s left hand in the eighth round, causing a break in the fight while referee Kenny Bayless inspected the champ’s gloves.

“He bit my fingers so my fingers were numb,” Mayweather said. “After the 8th round my hand was numb and I really couldn’t use my left hand.”

“Maybe he thinks I’m a dog, but I never bit him,” Maidana said. “He was rubbing my eyes with his glove. Maybe he had his glove in my mouth, but I don’t think I bit him.”

After the fight, SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray asked Mayweather if he would like a fight with eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.

“I’m not ducking or dodging any opponent,” Mayweather said. “If the Manny Pacquiao fight presents itself let’s make it happen. I don’t know who I’ll fight in May but I expect to fight. Manny needs to focus on the guy that’s in front of him. Once he gets past that task we’ll see what the future holds.”

Undefeated WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs) made the third successful defense of his title in the co-feature, registering a second-round TKO at 55 seconds with a straight right hand that floored Miguel Roman (17-3-3, 6 KOs).

“I trained really hard and I did what I had to do to give the fans a great fight,” Santa Cruz said. “If I had to finish fast that’s what I had to do. I just came to do my job. We train hard in the gym to make it easy in the ring.”

After the fight, the two-division world champion called out WBA and WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.

“I want Guillermo Rigondeaux,” Santa Cruz said. “I’m not scared of him. I want my manager to make the fight so I can prove I’m the best.”

Roman, who was Santa Cruz’s former sparring partner, was disappointed after losing the biggest fight of his career.

“I got caught with a right,” Roman said. “He just caught me. What can I say? There’s nothing else.”

Mickey Bey dethroned defending IBF Lightweight World Champion Miguel Vazquez with a 12-round split decision victory, scored 115-113 Bey, 115-113 Vazquez and 119-109 Bey, in an extremely tactical match.

Vazquez (34-4, 33 KOs) was riding a 13-fight win streak and making the seventh defense of his title against Bey (21-1-1, 10 KOs), who became the second fighter under the Mayweather Promotions banner to win a world title.

“I’m No. 1 in the lightweight division,” Bey said. “He was No. 1 and now it’s me. I’m not surprised that I won, I’m just really happy. He was head-butting and holding the entire time. I won every round and I beat him with one hand (hurt his right). I told my team I wasn’t going to slip and now I’m No. 1 in the division.”

Vazquez landed 89 total punches and connected on only 22 percent of his shots compared to Bey’s 81 punches and 21 percent.

“It was a good fight and Mickey Bey was a dignified opponent.” Vazquez said. “He fought strong but I anticipated he would fight that way. I don’t have much to say. A win is a win, what can I say. I thought the fight was close. I thought I won.”

In the opening bout of the PPV telecast, James De La Rosa (23-2, 13 KOs) handed Alfredo Angulo (22-5, 18 KOs) his third consecutive loss in a 10-round unanimous decision, scored 98-90, 96-92 and 99-89. De La Rosa was more active and accurate, landing 41 percent of his power punches in the most significant victory of his career.

In a live bout on “COUNTDOWN LIVE: Mayweather vs. Maidana 2,” Humberto Soto (65-8, 35 KOs) won an upset foul-filled unanimous 10-round decision John Molina Jr. (27-5, 22 KOs). The junior welterweight scrap was scored 96-91 and 95-92 twice.

Mayweather-Maidana and Santa Cruz-Roman will air on SHOWTIME next Saturday, Sept. 20 at 9 p.m. ET/P T immediately followed by the premiere of ALL ACESS: Mayweather vs. Maidana 2 Epilogue.

Photos/Quotes: Mayweather vs Maidana 2 Final Press Conference


LAS VEGAS (Sept. 10, 2014) – Fight week for “MAYHEM: Mayweather vs. Maidana 2” continued Wednesday as the main event fighters, Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Marcos “El Chino” Maidana, hosted their final press conference at the Hollywood Theatre at MGM Grand before their highly anticipated rematch on SHOWTIME PPV Saturday.

Here is what the fighter’s and their teams had to say Wednesday:

FLOYD MAYWEATHER, 11-Time, Five-Division World Champion

“Tunein and watch the fight because I’m going to be Floyd Mayweather and do what I do best and come out and win. I’ve been here before and I know what it takes to win at this level.

“We put it all on the line in the first fight. The fans demanded the rematch so we owe it to them to put it all on the line again. Maidana’s rugged. He’s a cool fighter and we’ll see how it plays out on Saturday.

“I have to focus on my fight. I can’t focus on anything else going on, I have a tough fighter in front me and he needs all my focus.

“We’ve had a remarkable training camp. Truly unbelievable. I feel a lot stronger than last time. It’s about hard work, dedication, prayers, belief and a good team.

“I know I’m almost 40, but I’m still going strong. I want to go out there and perform.

“The first fight was very interesting. Hopefully this time around the fight is even more exciting.

“Maidana is always in top shape. He absolutely deserves this rematch. I commend him for stepping up and making it happen again. I’m a true champion and a true champion never backs down.

“I need a knockout and I’m going for it. I need it to make a statement. First for myself, I want to do it for me.

“Robert Garcia can say what he wants to say. My dad can say what he wants to say. Both teams can go back and forth and bicker all day. In the end it comes down to skills, smarts and adjustments.

“We sparred with some guys who have similar styles to Maidana’s. Guys who threw a lot of looping, wild shots. Very strong rugged guys. We had a lot of good solid work with these guys.

“I don’t know who has the advantage in the rematch. I know I’m sharp, I know he’s sharp. I was able to make the adjustments in the first fight and we’ll see if he can make the adjustments this time.

“I don’t condone what happened. If I offended anyone, I apologize. I have this tough, rugged fighter in front of me and that’s what I have to focus on. I’m not perfect, I make mistakes and I don’t condone that at all.”

MARCOS MAIDANA, Former Welterweight World Champion

“I just know that I have to win. I’m focused on winning. I am going to take out any doubts in my mind about the first fight. I’ve adjusted now and I think I’ll be ready.

“I haven’t talked to Carlos Rios or Carlos Baldomir about their Mayweather fights but I have watched their fights. I noticed that being aggressive and attacking him is what makes him uncomfortable.

“I think I did get tired in the first fight. I have to pace myself a little better and this time around I will be better.

“If the knockout comes great, but I’m ready to go the distance as well. I’m ready to make history.

“I have to use my distance a little more and pick and choose my punches. I wasted too many punches last fight. I have to work my distance correctly and get leverage.

“I think Floyd got pressured by the press and I think that he knows the first fight was close so he’s giving me the rematch and I have to take full advantage.

“I actually had two full months to prepare this time. I worked very hard and that’s probably why I look a little skinnier this time.

“I think Floyd is going to run but I’m going to have to do a good job of cutting off the ring.”

LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions

“We’re expecting a very exciting fight in this rematch; both guys have a tremendous amount of confidence and had excellent training camps leading up to the fight.

“Marcos Maidana is coming in really believing he is going to win this fight.

“You can’t say enough about Floyd Mayweather. He’s become the face of boxing and often he is the guy who wears the target on his back. No matter what he does people tend to form an opinion, but that comes with the territory.

“Floyd has had a phenomenal career, he’s the best fighter in the world and he’s been a world champion since 1998. He’s beaten a number of world champions and in my eyes he will go down as the best to ever do it.

“Floyd has made several hundred millions of dollars, but money doesn’t motivate him. He’s able to get up in the wee hours of the morning, putting in the groundwork like he’s never earned a dime.

“He has a tremendous dedication to the sport and we will all miss him when he’s not fighting. When he goes into that ring he gives it his all and he’s dominated A-level fighters and made them look ordinary.

“The fans demanded the rematch and Floyd said no problem, lets put him in there. If the fans didn’t think I got it right the first time, I will this time. There will be no more questions left unanswered after the Mayweather-Maidana rematch.

“What other athlete in sports can you say, that has dominated everyone in front of him for so many years? We must find a way to acknowledge greatness when we see it. There will never be another fighter like him.”

ROBERT GARCIA, Maidana’s Trainer

“All games aside, we’re ready for this fight. We’ve prepared like never before. We know it’s not an easy fight but it’s not impossible either.

“We’re going to give the fans what they are waiting for. What the fans want to see, that’s what they’re going to get Saturday night.

“Our mindset is exactly the same as it was going into the first fight. We do not need a knockout to win. We can win a decision. We can win a decision by dominating every round.

“Marcos dominated for half the fight last time before he slowed down a little and sort of faded. He didn’t quite have the energy to do what he wanted for 12 rounds.

“The difference for this fight is that we had eight full weeks of training and not just five. He had more sparring, much better sparring.

“Mayweather is a great fighter, one of the greatest of all-time. I don’t think age has caught up with him. He has always taken such good care of his body. He works very hard. He’s still got that quickness.

“Mayweather’s a smart guy. I think he’s just politicking when he keeps complaining about Maidana being dirty in the first fight.

“Chino gained a lot of confidence in the first fight. That’s a big plus going into the rematch. He feels stronger, mentally and physically. He’s ready to do what he couldn’t quite do last time and that’s fight his fight for 12 rounds.”

ERIC GOMEZ, Senior VP of Golden Boy Promotions

“Marcos gave Floyd the toughest fight that he has had in the last couple years. But, that’s what makes Floyd so great. He does things that people don’t expect him to do in boxing. I know that Floyd has proven everyone in this room wrong at least once.

“I know personally he has proven me wrong ever since he fought Oscar De La Hoya. Every single fight I’ve thought to myself, ‘Ok, this time we’ve got him’. That’s what makes Floyd great. Everyone has criticized him and said that he wouldn’t get past the likes of Ricky Hatton, Canelo or Victor Ortiz, but he has beaten them all.

“There is one critic that Floyd hasn’t been able to prove wrong, one critic that keeps him going, and that’s Floyd himself and that’s why he took this rematch. Floyd felt that the first fight was close and he wants to prove to everyone and to himself that he won that first fight and that he can do it again.

“I also know that Marcos is a very hungry fighter that felt that he was very, very close to beating Floyd Mayweather. He is here to prove that whatever it takes, any little inch that he needs more to beat Floyd, he will make it happen this time.”

STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive VP and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports

“We’re thrilled to be back here at MGM Grand again, this has become SHOWTIME’s home away from home. This is our fourth event that SHOWTIME is televising from this venue this year, the most of any venue and the sixth in the past two years.

“There’s no doubt that this Saturday ‘Mayweather vs. Maidana 2’ will be most likely the biggest fight of the year.

“No matter what the result is, I guarantee that the fight will be historic. Historic because what we are watching will be unprecedented. We all know about Floyd’s success, undefeated record, fighter of the year awards. But consider this, Floyd Mayweather has been ranked in the top-10 by Ring Magazine consecutively and continuously since March of 1998. He’s been in the top10 for 16 years which is unprecedented in another sport, and that’s not to mention multiple years of being the consensus pound-for-pound king.

“But to be candid, Marcos Maidana couldn’t care less about Floyd’s accolades. Back in May, Maidana gave Floyd perhaps the toughest fight of his career, 12 grueling hard- fought rounds. Then Floyd surprised many of us by saying he wanted the rematch. Maidana is one of the most accomplished fighters that Floyd has ever fought, and personally I can’t wait.”

RICHARD STURM, President of Sports & Entertainment for MGM Resorts International

“We’re excited for this highly anticipated rematch. Floyd Mayweather will look to push his undefeated record to 47-0. We all know this will be another hard test as Marcos Maidana looks to avenge his hard-fought loss back in May.

“Las Vegas frequently plays host to a number of large number of major sports and entertainment events. This weekend MGM Resorts will once again play a critical role in the Las Vegas experience as we celebrate Mexican Independence Day weekend.”

BOB BENNETT, Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission

“We are honored and elated to regulate this great fight. I want to thank everyone involved for putting on this electric and exciting fight in the fight capital of the world.

“I would like to recognize Mr. Mayweather and Mr. Maidana and all the fighters who will be putting forth a gallant effort come this Saturday night. Without them this event would not be possible and I would like all the fighters to know that we wish them all the very best. ”

Photo Credit: Idris Erba/Mayweather Promotions & Esther Lin/Showtime