Ola was slithery and dodged most of Enzo’s punches, thereby systematically tiring Enzo. Also, Ola was poking fun at Enzo and keeping the crowd entertained. Finally in the ninth round, he delivered a lethal right-hand to the head of Enzo, knocking him down and winning the match.
With both my glass and plate empty, the big moment finally arrived. I decided to hold back on the scotch as I was paying a good amount to see some boxers, rather than myself, getting starry-eyed. I watched Barrera dismantle Naseem Hamed and I’ve been following Amir Khan’s career since he turned professional. The questions which were unanswered for me, before the fight were:
(1) Has Amir improved his defence and technique to protect his chin?
(2) Can Amir knock out a tough Mexican like Marco Antonio Barrera? Does he have the punching power to do so?
(3) Can Barrera, at the age of 35, keep up with the speed of the 22-year old Amir?
(4) Will Amir collapse (like he did against Breidis Prescott) should he get punched on the chin?
Well, after the glitz and glamour of the boxers’ entrances, the match finally got underway. Amir Khan was out of his blocks quickly, moving around with lightning combinations. Unfortunately, in the very first round, there was an accidental clash of heads which caused a deep cut on Barrera’s head with blood literally oozing out. Barrera’s cuts man could not stem the flow of blood from Barrera’s head and he went on to fight almost 5 rounds continually wiping blood off his face. Finally, in the 5th round, after the referee’s second consultation with the ringside doctor, the fight was handed over to Amir Khan via a Technical Decision. For a fight to be ruled a no contest due to a head-butt, the fight must be called off within the first 4 rounds. I do not know if this was the reason the referee waited for the 5th round, but that’s just conjecture.
Trying to answer the questions above after the fight, here’s what I came up with:
(1) Amir has definitely improved his defence and technique after being taken under the wings of Freddie Roach. He had a different approach – hit and move, rather than hit, hit, hit and risk getting the odd punch back.
(2) Still unanswered. Amir could not knock out a wounded Barrera despite working some very good combinations on him for almost 5 rounds. We don’t know if Amir can eventually blow away tough opponents like he did with Michael Gomez and Oisin Fagan, should the fight go the distance.
(3) No. Amir Khan was simply too fast for Barrera. Well, Barrera is a legend, but he’s well past his prime and would have found Amir’s speed tough to handle. Anyway, I have no idea what pride a young Amir can take by beating an old, pretty washed up Barrera. If Amir has a rematch with Breidis and defeats him, then I will be impressed (and I’m sure that’s what a lot of serious boxing fans will want – for Amir to prove himself against the best).
(4) Still unanswered. Amir’s speed and quick movement around the ring against a wounded Barrera, did not give Barrera a chance to test Amir’s chin. If Amir’s speed can help him protect his chin, then fair enough, but given what happened in his fight with Breidis, we all know that’s his single point of failure, until proven otherwise.
So, despite the improved boxing technique exhibited by Amir and the promise he showed, his win over Barrera was not comprehensive, not a spectacle for the boxing fan and although he said after the fight that he’s answered his critics, I’m afraid that some questions still remain unanswered.