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Khan too fast and too strong for Barrera
Posted on: 17-03-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

But cut aside, Khan did what he needed to do and he did it well. He hammered the smaller Barrera, showed a vastly improved defense -- you had to love how he held his hands nice and high -- in his second fight with trainer Freddie Roach and showed that he just might be able to indeed reach his potential.

Khan won a 2004 Olympic silver medal and became an overnight sensation in his native England. He was expected to storm his way to a world title in the pros and promoter Frank Warren was moving him quickly when he ran into unheralded Breidis Prescott in September and was blown out in 54 seconds. It was a shocking loss and Khan's future was called into question. Although he rebounded in December against Oisin Fagan, he was a soft opponent and Khan took him out in two rounds. There's a big difference between Fagan and Barrera, a future Hall of Famer, a three division champion, a longtime pound-for-pound entrant and simply one of the greatest fighters of this generation. Even though he is 35 and clearly on the downside of his career fighting a much bigger man, how could anyone count Barrera out, especially after seeing the replay over and over of Prescott destroying Khan so easily? That is why this was a fascinating fight and so unexpected when it was made.

But Khan's youth -- he's still only 22 -- size and obvious power and speed advantages were evident in the first round. It seemed like every time he touched Barrera, the shot rattled him. Then they smashed heads and Barrera wound up with the terrible cut. The blood poured down Barrera's face for the remainder of the fight. Between rounds, his corner would clean him up but within a few seconds of the next round beginning, his face was again covered in a mask of red and blood was trickling into his left eye. It was not a fight for those with a queasy stomach. But Barrera, one of the great warriors of our time, kept on trucking and trying to make the best of it even though the fight could have easily been stopped -- frankly, should have been stopped -- at any time in the first four rounds, which would have resulted in a no contest.

The doctor looked at the wound during the fourth round, but the fight continued. It wasn't until the fight was official in the next round that the bout was stopped and sent to the scorecards, where the verdict was obvious: Khan had thoroughly dominated every round for the unanimous decision. While Khan looked very good, you do have to wonder what would have been had Barrera not been handicapped by the brutal gash. And you also have to be concerned about the obvious home cooking for Khan that the fight would not be stopped until the fifth round had started so Khan would win rather than get a no contest. Khan got his desperately needed win, but because of the circumstances of the loss, Barrera probably will go on with his career and get some sort of other notable fight because he fought bravely under heavy duress.


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