Barrera tries to rebound from Jones loss in rematch
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ The last time Junior Jones stepped into the ring with Marco Antonio Barrera, he was supposed to be just another opponent for the undefeated super batamweight champion.
By the time he walked out of the ring, Jones was the new WBO 122-pound champion, thanks to a barrage of right hands that put Barrera on the canvas in the fifth round.
Barrera gets a chance to regain the title Friday night at the Las Vegas Hilton when he and Jones meet in a rematch of their fight last November. The fight is part of an HBO card that also features WBA welterweight champion Ike Quartey in a title defense against Ralph Jones.
``It’s not like I was forced to do this,″ Junior Jones said of his rematch with Barrera. ``I want to fight him again to silence the critics who said the first fight didn’t end right.″
The first fight went into the books not as a knockout but a disqualification after Barrera’s handlers jumped into the ring to try and help their fighter.
The ending of the fight came as a shock since Barrera was comfortably ahead going into the fifth round.
``This fight is going to finish in a knockout, too,″ Jones said. ``It won’t go too far, trust me. I’m going to win again.″
The defeat was the first in 44 fights for Barrera, who had won 31 of his fights by knockout and was considered one of boxing’s rising stars.
Jones (43-2, 26 knockouts) , meanwhile, was an ex-champion considered to be past his prime after suffering losses to John Michael Johnson and Daryl Pinckney.
Barrera, of Mexico City, said he had been distracted in the first fight by what proved to be erroneous reports from Mexico that a sister and a niece had been kidnapped.
``I was mentally tired,″ Barrera said. ``Now it’s different. I’m coming into this fight 100 percent and I’m relaxed and confident.
In the other title fight, Quartey puts his 33-0 record on the line in his sixth welterweight title defense against Jones, who is 29-1.
Quartey said he needs a big win to get potential fights against Pernell Whitaker or Oscar De La Hoya.
``People are finding out about me,″ said Quartey, a native of Ghana. ``I have a lot of confidence.″