Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera: Who Is the Better Fighter?

EJ ClaudioCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2009

Erik "El Terrible" Morales and Marco Antonio "The Baby-Faced Assassin" Barrera are two of the most popular names in boxing today. They are two of the best fighters to come out of Mexico.

They are both legends. But who is the better fighter of the two?

According to ESPN's "50 Greatest Boxers of All Time," Barrera is ranked No. 43 and Morales is No. 49. But in my opinion, Morales is the better fighter of the two.

Let me explain.

Erik Morales has been more successful than Barrera. Yes, Barrera beat Morales twice, but their trilogy was so close, it could've gone either way.

Both fighters captured the Super Bantamweight title. Barrera held the WBO title while Morales held the WBC title. He captured it by winning a unanimous decision over Daniel Jimenez, while Morales got his belt by knocking out Daniel Zaragoza in the 11th round.

Morales won in a more impressive manner and against better competition. Barrera lost twice to Junior Jones, but Morales knocked out Jones in the fourth round.

In 2001, Barrera soundly defeated Naseem Hamed for the IBO strap, while in the same year, Morales defended his against In Jin Chi and won by unanimous decision. In this one, Barrera has the edge, as he beat a better fighter in Hamed.

In 2003, Manny Pacquiao annihilated Barrera in 11 rounds, while Morales knocked out Guty Espadas, Jr., in the third round.

The following year, Barrera redeemed himself by knocking out Paulie Ayala in the 10th round while Morales won against the tougher Jesus Chavez, even knocking Chavez down twice.

In 2005, Morales was the underdog against Pacquiao, but he proved the critics wrong by putting on a boxing clinic against the Filipino sensation, winning by decision. Barrera had "stay busy" fights against Mzonke Fana and Robbie Peden.

It almost seemed like Morales was avenging Barrera's losses. He beat the fighters who beat Barrera.

In Barrera's first match against Rocky Juarez, Juarez did enough to win the fight although it was declared a split decision. During that year, Morales was beaten twice by Pacquiao and was knocked out for the first time in his career.

Barrera had a rematch with Pacquiao in 2007. However it looked as if Barrera was just trying to survive 12 rounds.

In that same year, Morales attempted to capture his fourth title in four weight divisions, as he took on David Diaz. Morales sure looked like a winner in that fight but the judges didn't see it that way.

Judging from the quality of fighters that they faced and how they won against them, I have to say Morales is the better fighter of the two.