November 2, 2002; MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV
NOT a classic admittedly but worth revisiting as a reminder about these two irresistible fighters. Barrera was likely at his brilliant best at this time whereas Tapia, try as he might, could not conjure up his top form. That may have been partly to do with the excellence of Barrera, so natural, so intelligent in the ring, who didn’t allow the ageing Tapia to get a foothold. But Tapia, earning his first seven-figure payday, exhibited plenty of class throughout. In the end, Barerra won by scores of 118-110 twice and 116-112 to retain his world featherweight championship. 

DID YOU KNOW? On the back of Barrera’s shorts was the name ‘Tapia’. This was not, as was often thought, a tribute to Johnny but a instead a tribute to his mother, whose maiden name was Tapia.

WATCH OUT FOR: The shift in tactics from both. Tapia counters effectively in the opening round only for Barrera to change his line of attack. In the second half of the contest, Tapia, aware he’s being outboxed, forces the exchanges on the inside to have greater (but not nearly enough) success.