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?
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
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

Commercial IT Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Commercial IT Solicitor - London We h...

Business Analyst / Project Manager - Financial Services

£40000 - £45000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: One of the mos...

Lead Business Analyst - Banking - London - £585

£525 - £585 per day: Orgtel: Lead Business Analyst - Investment Banking - Lond...

Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home