1. THE November 6, 2002 showdown between diminutive legends Marco Antonio Barrera and Johnny Tapia was loaded with mutual respect. Eighteen months before, Barrera defeated Naseem Hamed and was accompanied in the ring by Tapia. “He is just a gentleman that I respect. He is a hell of a fighter, a great world champion. Just a friend, just a boxer, just a friend,” Tapia said when asked to describe his relationship with Barrera.
2. BARRERA regularly wore shorts with ‘TAPIA’ emblazoned on them. Some observers wrongly speculated this was out of the Mexican’s admiration for Johnny. However, Mexicans often had two surnames, the second of which was reference to their mother’s maiden name, which in Barrera’s case was Tapia.
3. “HE is definitely very motivated for this fight,” said Tapia’s wife and manager, Teresa Tapia. “This is actually a big thing for him. He is wanting to fight the best out there and Barrera is definitely one of the best. He is actually one of Johnny’s favourite fighters, so this is something that Johnny has always wanted. He is very much looking forward to this fight.”