Boxing: Blood, guts and glory for mighty Khan

Lightweight produces dazzling performance to dispatch legendary Barrera in five rounds after early clash of heads

A legend was licked in Manchester last night, Amir Khan bringing down the curtain on the career of the once great Marco Antonio Barrera with a display that was as dazzling as the sequins on his shorts.

In fact, it was a red curtain which caused the closure, blood cascading into Barerra's left eye from a cut above it caused by an accidental clash of heads in the first round which semi-blinded him until two minutes 32 seconds of the fifth had elapsed, when a ringside doctor called a halt to the one-way carnage.

Under WBO rules – this was an official eliminator for their lightweight title – it had to go to the judges' scorecards, even though it was impossible for Barrera to continue.

All three had the 22-year-old Khan winning every round and there was no doubting the emphatic manner of a victory which bought redemption in the same ring where he had been flattened in 54 seconds by the Colombian Breidis Prescott last September.

Glorious as it was for Khan, it was a sad conclusion to the 20-year career of the 35-year-old Barrera, who found that Khan's fists were never out of his face. The cut was in a similar position to the one he incurred in his last fight six weeks ago, the blood smothering his face. He was twice inspected by the doctor who held long conversations with the boxer in his corner, allowing the fight to continue in the fourth but insisting that it had to finish when he took another look in the fifth.

Barrera shrugged, knowing he had gone out to a younger, faster, fitter man, still carrying his shield. For the Mexican it was a question of blood, sweat and years. By the fifth round it had become a duel of matador and bull. The tell-tale signs had been evident at Friday's weigh-in when a puffy Barrera had to strip naked in order to to make the nine-stone nine-pound limit.

If this had been the Barrera who left Naseem Hamed with a sickly grin of humiliation on his face in Las Vegas, you would have thought promoter Frank Warren had escaped from the men in white coats when he made this match.

However, eight years have taken their toll and although Barrera is still brimming with Mexican machismo, his boxing now is mainly instinctive rather than menacing.

Although initially he went hunting with the left hook, to which Khan is susceptible, knowing you cannot put muscles on chins, Khan demonstrated that he had acquired footwork and finesse in absorbing the lessons in Freddie Roach's gym in Los Angeles. Even the ever voluble Don King, who had hailed Barrera as the Pancho Villa of boxing, had to admit that his man had met his match in this young master.

Khan answered the critics in the most positive manner but as he admitted afterwards, "Beating a man like Barrera almost makes you feel humble but it doesn't mean I am ready yet for a world title fight. I know there is still work to be done". He added: "It was make or break for me. If I lost this fight it was 'pack your bags'. I shut the critics up, I made it easy work."

Barrera, however, was not prepared to go quietly, claiming: "It was a head butt. I think that they should have stopped the fight before. He's got fast hands but his punches did nothing to me."

Khan's brilliance at least brightened an otherwise dismal night for British boxers as Nicky Cook and Enzo Maccarinelli both suffering defeats in their respective world title fights.

But big-punching hometown boy Matthew Hall caused one of the year's major upsets when he took the Commonwealth light-middleweight title from holder Bradley Pryce with a sensational second-round stoppage.

Making the seventh defence of his title, Pryce, the 27-year-old stable-mate of former world champion Joe Calzaghe, was floored three times, the last by a savage right cross which sent him spinning down, his fall saved by the bottom rope. The referee immediately stopped the fight, calling a doctor into the ring where the clearly concussed Pryce had to be treated for several minutes.

Cook's reign as the WBO super-featherweight champion was short-lived. The Londoner lost the belt he won against Alex Arthur here last September when he was stopped in four rounds by Roman "Rocky" Martinez.

Cook had made an impressive start against the Puerto Rican but the unbeaten little hard man produced powerful punches in the third round and the referee had to call a halt to proceedings.

It was a bleak and bitter night, too, for Maccarinelli as his attempt to win the interim version of the WBO cruiserweight title he lost to David Haye a years ago ended in a devastating defeat. He was stopped in the ninth round by the relatively inexperienced Ola Afolabe.

The Kent-born Nigerian, who calls himself Kryptonite, came up with an overhand right similar to the one delivered by Haye to send the Welshman crashing to the floor and the fight was stopped.

It is hard to see where Maccarinelli goes from here and the tears in the corner from trainer Enzo Calzaghe suggested that this could well be the end of his career.

Meanwhile Tobias Webb, who is also from the Calzaghe stable and a 19-year-old nephew of Maccarinelli, made a successful pro debut at super-middleweight, out-pointing Reading's Patrick Mendys over four rounds.

And Liverpool's Paul Smith won the vacant WBA International super-middleweight championship, flooring his opponent Rashid Matmula of Tanzania three times before the fight was stopped in the second round.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
News
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
news
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate Recruitment Resourcers - Banking Technologies

£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...

Implementation Engineer

£150 - £200 per day: Orgtel: Implementation Engineer Hampshire / London (Gre...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Pharmacuetical

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Real Staffing, one of the UK'...

Associate Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform