Recalling Marco Antonio Barrera's Last Bout On British Soil

by James Slater, photo courtesy of Frank Warren - British fight fans are naturally thrilled and abuzz right now, what with one of the greatest lower-weight fighters in recent boxing history in the country preparing to do battle. I am talking, of course, about Marco Antonio Barrera who, for the purposes of anyone who has just landed back on the planet, is fighting Amir Khan in Manchester tomorrow night..

barrera vs khanThe fight has succeeded in getting practically all observers of the sport both hugely interested and divided as to its outcome. Not long to go now until we find out if youth will be served, or if experience and a proven chin will win the day. However, as pleased as we all are in the UK to have even the 35-year-old version of Barrera in town, it should not be forgotten that the legend has boxed over here before. It was almost ten years ago when the then 25-year-old WBO super-bantamweight king met the brave but way overmatched Paul Lloyd of Cheshire.

Making the second defence of his regained belt (Barrera had lost it previously to Junior Jones in a big upset), "The Baby Faced Assassin" put on an absolutely ruthless punching display. Showing no mercy whatsoever, or even the slightest suggestion that he might "carry" his 29-year-old 19-4 challenger, Barrera unleashed hell on the Brit for all three minutes of the opening round. No further punishment was either needed or allowed. Battered, bleeding and totally overwhelmed, poor Paul Lloyd saw his corner-men do the decent thing, the only thing, and pull him out.

April 3rd, 1999 was the date, and it could be argued that Lloyd was ruined as a fighter due to the beating he took at The Royal Albert Hall, London - no matter how short it was. KO'd in a single round in his very next fight (by the non-too fierce punching Johnny Bredahl of Denmark), Lloyd was to retire from the sport after only two further bouts.

Today, Barrera may no longer be the terrifying fighting machine that Lloyd had to face - yet he is still as tough as they come, experienced like few other active fighters, and he remains dangerous. Could Amir Khan, who we all know has taken a huge gamble in taking the fight, meet a similar fate to the one that lay in wait for the last-but-one British fighter the Mexican marvel fought? It's possible Khan could be beaten inside a single round. We all saw what Breidis Prescott did to him inside a minute back in September. Sure, it would be a shock if Barrera, now at the veteran stage of his superb career, were to wreck Khan in only three minutes - but is it totally out of the question?

Don King, Barrera's new promoter, said he and his fighter have a "big surprise" for a Khan who may believe Barrera is ready for the taking and is only here for a payday. How stunned will you be if the surprise King referred to is a winning performance akin to the one his fighter put on the last time we Brits saw him in the flesh?

Article posted on 13.03.2009

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