2002-06-22 Marco Antonio Barrera w pts 12 Erik Morales, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBC/The Ring
2002-06-22 Marco Antonio Barrera w pts 12 Erik Morales, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBC/The Ring. Referee: Jay Nady. Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 115-113. With the WBC and The Ring championship belts at stake had Morales (126) taken the last round he would have retained his title. Morales, who finished with his right eye almost closed, also claimed that the long right to the body which dropped Barrera (126) in the seventh should have been recorded as a knockdown not a slip. Very much a tactical affair this time, being contested more at range, it all depended on the last round. This went to Barrera, who took the initiative by sending in punches to head and body before reverting to the jab.
Having taken the fight in order to gain revenge over Morales and not interested in the WBC title, Barrera relinquished it on winning while carrying on claiming to be the champion of the people. Following that, it was initially thought that the leading two contenders, Juan Manuel Marquez and In-Jin Chi, would contest the vacant title, but in the event it was Morales and Paulie Ayala who were selected.