Mariana “Barbie” Juarez vs Carolina “Barbie de Acero” Duer Preview
By Felipe Leon
With all the recent advances in female boxing, American toy manufacturer Mattel still has not released their Boxing Barbie. No problem, this Saturday night from Fresnillo, Mexico, and live nationally by Mexican mega-channel Televisa we’ll see two in-the-flesh Barbies face each other in a world-class fight.
The legendary Mariana “Barbie” Juarez (53-9-4, 18KO) will look to defend her WBC bantamweight title for the ninth time when she takes on Argentina’s Carolina “Barbie de Acero” Duer (19-5-1, 6KO) in the scheduled 10 round main event presented by Promociones del Pueblo.
“She is a very good fighter, not only a one-time but two-time world champion in the past,” Juarez, 39, said recently of her next opponent in an exclusive interview with the 2-Minute Round, the all-female boxing podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com. “She has beaten one of the best fighters out there in Marcela Acuña. Duer is a strong fighter with experience but I am looking to defeat her and end the night with my hand raised.”
After losing her debut in the 118-pound weight category back in the summer of ’16 against current WBO champ Daniela Bermudez, Juarez has gone on tear in her last ten, winning them all. She captured the WBC bantamweight title with a unanimous decision over the lineal champ Catherine Phiri in front of nearly half a million fans in her hometown of Mexico City. She has defended the green and gold belt against such international names as Terumi Nuki twice of Japan, Alesia Graf of Germany, Gabriela Bouvier of Uruguay, Carolina Arias of Costa Rica, Susie Ramadan of Australia, Eva Naranjo of Spain and in her last fight Diana Fernandez of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Recently Juarez has stated that perhaps this will be her last fight at the 118-pound limit as she goes north looking for a fourth world title in as many divisions.
“I am very interested in going up to super bantamweight,” Juarez said to the 2-Min Round. “I am very interested in the WBC title at 122 pounds. Right now, Duer is who is at my door, she is world-ranked and is against her who we need to impress against.”
“I expect my first fight in 2012 to be at super bantamweight,” she stated. “I want that title. I have worked very hard to come up in weight the right way with muscle and not just weight, we are doing a good job on that respect. I don’t think I would have a problem feeling ready at 122 pounds just like I did at 118.”
“I hope they do,” Juarez explained when asked if she hopes the World Boxing Council lets her challenge for the title quickly. “I’ve seen the rules of the WBC and they state that when you are a champion in one division then a challenge in a different one can be a direct one.
“I Can’t Lose This Fight”
First, Juarez must get past the 41-year-old Duer of Buenos Aires, Argentina, but fighting out of Miami, Florida. “Duer is a very dangerous fighter who is ranked among the best in the world. She asked for this fight and we are ready to go to war. We know it will not be easy but if I want to be a world champion at super bantamweight, I can’t lose this fight.”
“We are aware when you are the owner of this belt, everybody is going for your head,” Juarez said at the final press conference before the fight this Saturday night. “I worked very hard in the gym because I am going to defend my title against a three-time world champion. I don’t want the fight to go to the scorecards and for there to be any doubts.”
Duer’s experience is not as extensive as Juarez’s but it is still world-class. It didn’t seem so at first with Duer losing three of her first five fights back in her hometown of Argentina but soon thereafter she straightened the ship, capturing the vacant WBO super flyweight title with a unanimous decision over Loredana Piazza in late 2010.
She defended that title six times against nobody of note, but in late 2012, she jumped on the boxing radar by defeating the legendary and future hall of famer Marcela “Tigresa” Acuña over 10 rounds in a non-title affair.
“She was also my reference as far as what a female boxer was,” Duer said of Acuña. “I liked the fact she has a great style; she was the first female boxer in my country to get a license. She fought so that we could go into a ring and fight and be recognized as professionals.”
“That has been the only time I was afraid to fight,” Duer reminisced about her fight against “La Tigresa”. “I wasn’t nervous, I was actually afraid before the fight. I was afraid of being attacked afterwards; my dream was to fight against her. I think I was just better than her that night. If we were to fight again, I can’t honestly say what would happen. That night our game plan was perfect and led me to the win.”
A year later she captured the vacant WBO 118-pound crown with a unanimous decision over Mayra Gomez. She defended that title twice before capturing the interim IBF title in the summer of 2016. She went after the full-fledge version twice against IBF champion Maria Roman coming up short both times via split decision.
All of those accomplishments almost didn’t happen for Duer who comes from a conservative Jewish family who looked down on the sport.
“When I began boxing there wasn’t many female boxers and my traditional Jewish family didn’t really agree with it,” Duer said. “I had to break a lot of stereotypes but it happened quite organically. I would only think about boxing and not on what I was doing for female boxing in my country.”
Her title bid against Juarez will be her first fight of 2019 and her first outside of her home country.
“We are going to face the best Mexico has to offer,” Duer said of Juarez recently. “I already beat my biggest idol when everybody doubted me so who says I can’t beat the Mexican ‘Barbie’?”
Duer was very respectful in her turn at the microphone at the final press conference.
“There is no doubt this will fight will go down in the history of boxing,” she stated. “We Argentineans are very alike to Mexicans because we fight with our soul and of course I came to win. Mariana is very loved and respected for what she has achieved but I don’t work off her weaknesses but off my strengths.”
“A knockout is the most successful result in boxing,” she warned. “You prepare for it but I don’t know how this fight will end, that is what is so attractive about boxing, and both of us are at a world-class level.”