Breaking down Pacquiao-Barrera

Kevin Iole
Yahoo! Sports

LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao already has one win over Marco Antonio Barrera, but Barrera is bent on evening the score when they fight in a 12-round super featherweight bout Saturday on HBO pay-per-view from Mandalay Bay. Here is what each man must do to win:

Keys to victory
1. Throw the hook: Pacquiao is a southpaw and tends to get left-hand crazy. But trainer Freddie Roach has worked hard at improving his right. Knowing Barrera will probably jab a lot, the hook will be a critical weapon for Pacquiao. 1. Rough him up: Barrera knows all the tricks and should use them to make it a physical fight.

2. Force the pace: Pacquiao is younger and undoubtedly in better condition. He should force Barrera to fight at a fast pace and not let him get into a comfort zone where he can find built-in rest periods 2. Jab, jab, jab: The best way to neutralize Pacquiao's speed advantage is to keep a hard jab pumping at him.

3. Avoid the ropes: Pacquiao should keep the fight in the center of the ring where his hand and foot speed will be more pronounced. 3. Close the distance: Barrera should not allow Pacquiao room to throw his powerful left.

4. Back him up: Barrera is much better when he's the one who is moving forward. 4. Uppercut: Pacquiao tends to punch wide when he's in an exchange and he's frequently open for an uppercut up the middle.

Rating the fighters
The following chart compares Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories heading into their 12-round super featherweight fight Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center:
on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories:
Punching power 10 8 Each possesses the ability to seriously hurt the other.
Jab 7 9 Barrera's jab is one of his best weapons.
Body attack 8 9 Both like to head hunt.
Speed and quickness 10 7 Barrera will spend a lot of time inside concentrating on the body.
Defense 7 7 Pacquiao is among the fastest fighters in his division.
Chin 10 10 Given the punchers they've been in with, neither man's beard is in question.
Stamina 10 8 Pacquiao looks like he could compete in a triathlon.
Ring smarts 8 10 Barrera is one of the game's most intelligent fighters.
Corner 10 6 Pacquiao's Freddie Roach is a superstar while there has been upheaval on Barrera's side.
Intangibles 7 10 Barrera wants it badly and there are questions if Pacquiao is truly focused.

Total 87 84 Pacquiao is stronger, faster and in better shape. It will be a competitive fight for a while, but expect Pacquiao to take over in the middle rounds and stop Barrera late.