Brazil vs Argentina rivalry spills into the ring
Long-time WBO Super Featherweight champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas unified the WBA Super Featherweight belt in 2002 by controversial unanimous decision over Joel Casamayor. Outside the ring, Freitas lost his father to cancer and his wife to divorce. Jorge Barrios, a 4-1 underdog, obtained the reputation of a rough, rugged Argentine street fighter who won Prospect of the Year in 1997. Brazil and Argentina experienced much conflict between each other, though majorityof it had calmed between the two. Nothing like a good scrap between two tough fighter representing their countries!
This fight had physicality and so much action throughout. It started out pretty fast with Freitas swinging out the gate. However, Barrios held his own with leaping left hooks and body shots on the inside. Barrios sustained a cut over his left eye by the third round. Moreover, Barrios bled from his ear in the sixth round. The doctor diagnosed him with a ruptured ear drum, but Barrios continued to fight. He knocked down Freitas, who also was unbalanced, in the eighth round. Freitas used the ring to control the pace until the eleventh round, where Barrios landed a hard one-two combo to knock “Popo” down. Freitas spit out his mouthpiece to buy extra time, which he needed to finish the fight. Freitas caught Barrios at the bell in the eleventh with a hard right hand. Barrios got caught, but this was the beginning of the end. Freitas closed the fight in round 12, knocking down Barrios twice before the ref jumped in to stop it.
Freitas moved on to win the WBO Lightweight title before losing it to Diego Corrales. Barrios went on to win WBO Super Featherweight title before losing a split decision to Joan Guzman. Both guys represented themselves and their country well.