Josh Warrington inspired by Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales
By James Leith
Last Updated: 08/04/15 5:07pm
Josh Warrington will be watching the classic first fight between Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales before he steps into the ring.
The Leeds featherweight takes on Dennis Tubieron at the First Direct Arena on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports 1.
Warrington is the European champion at 126lbs but is moving into the world scene as he is fighting for the WBC international title.
And to get in the mood he will sit back and watch the first of one of boxing’s most famous trilogies between the two Mexican legends - Barrera and Morales.
“I watch that fight before I fight myself, it always gets me pumped up, 12 rounds of that and I put the laptop down and I’m shadow boxing, I get really fired up,” he told Sky Sports.
The contest took place on February 19, 2000 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with Morales declared the winner by split decision, retaining his WBC super-bantamweight title and capturing Barrera’s WBO belt.
The bout was named as Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year for 2000, before being named as the best fight of all time in the same year, which Warrington is well aware of.
“Two fighters, giving their absolute all and (showing) brilliant boxing as well if you can appreciate their boxing styles.
“I used to really like watching Barrera because my dad had a massive interest to him - head down, quiet, but gave it his all in the ring.”
Known as the Baby-Faced Assasin, Barrera avenged the first loss with a points victory in June 2002 at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas before reigning victorious in their third bout in November 27, 2004, again at the MGM Grand, capturing the WBC super-featherweight title, the contest named as 2004’s Ring Magazine Fight of the Year.
Warrington, 24, trained by his father Sean O’Hagan, has won British, Commonwealth and European featherweight titles in a roller-coaster 18 months for the Leeds-born fighter, and looks to take a step closer to a possible World title shot of his own against Filipino southpaw Tubieron for that vacant WBC international belt.
The 'Leeds Warrior' hopes to emulate his Mexican hero Barrera by travelling to the Sin City at some point in the future,
"I used to really like watching Barrera because my dad had a massive interest to him - head down, quiet, but gave it his all in the ring."
“A lot of people say to me, 'when we off to Vegas Josh?,' he said.
"It’d be something else wouldn’t it? Having a load of Leeds fans jumping on slot machines singing ‘Marching on Together’. I don’t think America would know what’d hit it.”
The Leeds hero has drawn comparisons to Manchester’s Ricky Hatton with his fanatical hometown support. ’The Hitman’ took huge followings to Las Vegas on many occasions to fight ring legends such as Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jnr.
“You dream of winning a world title and if you can go on further you’re made man, if I can do half of what Ricky Hatton did then I’d have more than lived the dream.
“When I first turned professional, winning the British title was the pinnacle, the Lord Lonsdale belt, and I’ve achieved my dream so early in my career.
“I’ve never said that I’ll be a world champion when I turned over but now it’s in touching distance and we’ve got the momentum, I believe that we can go on and we can do that.”
Warrington tops an action packed card at the First Direct Arena this Saturday, supported by fellow Leeds favourite Bob Ajisafe, who meets Daniel Wanyonyi for the vacant Commonwealth light-heavyweight title.
Doncaster’s Maxi Hughes rematches Martin J Ward in a British lightweight title eliminator, Chris Jenkins faces Tyrone Nurse for the vacant British light-welterweight title with Rocky Fielding, Jono Carroll and Isaac Chamberlain all looking to protect their unbeaten records.
Watch Josh Warrington and the undercard in Leeds this Saturday night on Sky Sports 2, starting at 7.30pm.