Marco Antonio Barrera vs Prince Naseem Hamed - Highlights (Boxing LESSON)
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April 7th, 2001. The “Baby Faced Assassin” Marco Antonio Barrera takes on undefeated Prince Naseem Hamed in a battle billed as “Playing With Fire”. Going into the fight, Barrera and Hamed had prefight records of 56(38)-3 and 35(31)-0. The vacant IBO Featherweight Championship is on the line.
Barrera is a 3-1 betting underdog, and 28 out of 30 boxing writers picked Hamed to win.
The media had largely portrayed Barrera as a ferocious, hard hitting typical Mexican style fighter who stands flat footed and constantly looking to go toe to toe while dishing out as much punishment as he receives. Hamed and his trainer Emmanuel Steward had made preparations to fight this version of Barrera, as portrayed by the media.
However, unbeknownst to Hamed’s camp and the boxing world Barrera underwent a major stylistic metamorphosis with this bout; utilizing an authoritative jab, lateral movements with improved technical skills to the surprise of many. Thus, Hamed was not trained for this improved version of Barrera.
According to a report by Sky Sports, Hamed’s training camp did not go well as he was about 40 pounds overweight just a few weeks before fight night. Manny Stewart was worried after watching sparring tapes of Barrera, who looked really sharp months before the bout while Hamed looked ragged in sparring against hired young Mexicans with poor timing, which later showed in the bout.
On the other hand, Barrera is stated to have "trained like a monk" in Big Bear, California.
From the opening bell, Barrera looked sharp and focused while Hamed was tentative and mostly throwing single power shots. Through most of the bout, Barrera shocked Hamed and the crowd by displaying versatility; utilizing accurate pinpoint jabs and follow up with sharp and effective combinations, countering Naz who tends to go off balance after missing shots. Barrera also constantly move counter clockwise to negate Hamed’s vaunted left hand.
In some occasions, Hamed clowns Barrera to lure him into doing the same in order to gain an advantage. However, his antics did not work as Barrera remained composed.
Hamed was hit very often through 12 rounds, and Foreman as guest commentator stated that his showboating is one of the reasons he is so open to punishment as well as his tendency to lose balance particularly after missing shots, due to his wild lunges.
Steward was interviewed during the 11th round and stated that he believed Hamed was way behind on points and that he definitely needs a knockout to win. However, the fight went the distance and Hamed was outpointed via UD; suffering his 1st and only career defeat.
According to CompuBox Punchstats, Barrera landed 87 more shots and landed 43% of his total punches vs Hamed at 36%.
There are a few very memorable moments in the fight;
1) In the 2nd round, Barrera body slammed Hamed to the canvas due to an attempted headlock by Hamed in a clinch after missing with a wild right hand.
2) In the 6th round, Hamed hit Barrera with a left hand during a clinch and Barrera retaliated with a harder left hand in return as Hamed grins.
3) In the 12th round, Barrera applied a full nelson choke hold on Hamed and slams his face on the turnbuckle after Hamed lost his balance throwing a wild left hand. Barrera lost a point for his action.
After this loss, Hamed would fight only once more a year later in May 2002 winning a UD against Manuel Calvo before retiring with a final record of 36(31)-1. He had notable career wins over Remigio Molina, Juan Polo-Perez, Steve Robinson, Daniel Alicea, Manuel Medina, Billy Hardy, Tom Johnson, Wilfredo Vázquez, Wayne McCullough, Paul Ingle, Cesar Soto, Vuyani Bungu, Augie Sanchez & Kevin Kelley.
After this win, Barrera would continue fighting for 10 more years before retiring in 2011 with a final record of 67(44)-7 with notable victories over Carlos Gabriel Salazar, Eddie Cook, Daniel Jimenez, Frank Toledo, Agapito Sanchez, Kennedy McKinney, Jesse Benavides, Mzonke Fana, Orlando Fernandez, Jesus Salud, Enrique Sanchez, Johnny Tapia, Kevin Kelley, Paulie Ayala, Robbie Peden, Naseem Hamed, Rocky Juarez (2x) & Erik Morales (2x).
During his 22 year pro career, he was 5x World Champion in 3 weight divisions; Super Bantamweight (2x), Featherweight (1x) & Super Featherweight (2x), where made a remarkable 20 successful world title defenses in total.
Hope you guys enjoy this highlight of one of Barrera’s greatest wins and perhaps one of the most memorable beat downs in boxing history! Muchas gracias boxing heads and keep punching!
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