The movie "Barbie" premieres in the United States on July 21, so fans Saturday night had to settle for the second-best iteration, even though it was boxing's edgy, past-her-prime version.
Former two-division world champion Mariana "Barbie" Juarez returned for her first stateside fight since 2012, but ended on the wrong side of a beating, as Mayeli Flores dominated Juarez to land a unanimous decision victory.
The 4-foot, 11-inch Flores (10-1-1, 3 KOs) gave up six inches in height but made up for it with tremendous grit, resilience, and non-stop offense to outlast Juarez (55-13-4, 19 KOs) in her United States debut.
Judges awarded the former title challenger Flores with scores of 80-72, 79-73, and 79-73 in the eight-round super bantamweight scrap between Mexico City fighters.
It was clear from the get-go that Juarez, who held a flyweight title from 2011 to 2012 and a bantamweight title from 2017 to 2020, no longer had a championship-level pedigree.
The 31-year-old Flores got off to a solid start by breaking through the guard of Juarez. By the second round, she was beginning to break down the 43-year-old entirely, who appeared a tick too slow from the get-go. Flores connected with several looping rights and lefts to Juarez in her tracks.
Flores torpedoed out of her corner in the third and started bobbing and weaving and throwing shots from all angles, and landing. Juarez held her own and checked her with counter shots, but nothing significant to stave off Flores.
A furious and wild back-and-forth exchange broke out in the final 30 seconds of the fourth round with Flores again getting the better shots in.
Flores had Barbie bleeding from the mouth by the fifth.
Flores kept scoring at will with her looping left and right hands throughout the final three frames, rocking the veteran’s head back with one-way traffic.
Flores' only career loss came to WBC bantamweight champion Yuliahn Luna Avila via unanimous decision in 2022.
Juarez lost for the fourth time in her last five fights. She turned professional in 1998 and was fighting in her 72nd pro bout.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.