Amir Dominance

By Francis Walker
Updated: March 15, 2009

NEW YORK — There was a lot of talk about whether Amir Khan’s chin would hold up in a fight against Mexican boxing legend Marco Antonio Barrera. The real question should have been whether the cut Barrera sustained above his left eye in a disqualification victory over a Fredis Rojas in Mexico six weeks ago was fully healed.

Unfortunately for the 35 year-old warrior, an accidental head butt occurred in the first round against Khan. The clash reopened the same cut that Barrera had in his previous bout.

From that point on, there was no telling what would happen if Barrera had connected on Khan’s chin because the 22 year-old from England was simply too tall, too fast, and too accurate for a Barrera that was blinded by his own blood.

The bout was stopped at 2:36 seconds of the fifth round and went directly to the scorecards. When a cut is ruled an accidental head butt, the scorecards are rendered after four complete rounds. Also, every round, including the unfinished round is tallied.

Khan (20-1, 15 KOs) was awarded a technical decision over Barrera (65-7, 43 KOs) in a crossroads fight for both men. The scores: 50-44 and 50-45 (twice) unanimously in favor of Khan, who momentarily silenced his critics following a shocking 54-second demolition at the hands of Bredis Prescott in September 2008.

“Since day one I’ve been getting criticism and today I proved everyone wrong,” Khan said immediately after the biggest W of his career. “I know I got beat by Bredis Prescott, but that was a mistake I made. It’s a blessing in disguise what happened. We moved to Freddie Roach’s gym in the Wild Card and Freddie has changed me as a fighter. You can see the difference in me now.”

“Khan vs. Barrera: Coming of Age” was an internationally televised Boxing Pay-Per-View presented by Integrated Sports, and promoted by Frank Warren and Don King Productions from the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England at bargain price of $24.95.

The win was the biggest win of Khan’s career and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Khan’s chin was left a huge dent after the hard-punching Prescott cracked him on it with a series of vicious punches. The former 2004 Olympian in Athens was sprawled out on the canvas and suffered a humiliating first professional loss.

Khan’s promoter Frank Warren knew that Khan would have to bounce back and soundly defeat a big name and it needed to be done quickly. Barrera was available and a win would have put Khan on the cusp of earning a world title fight. A loss, especially by KO, would have spelled the end of Khan and positioned Barrera for another big fight in his Hall of Fame career.

“It was make-or-break for me,” Khan added. “I shut the critics up, I hope.”

Barrera, fighting at 135, was competing two weight divisions above his ideal weight and at least three years past his prime. Known for his aggression, relentless counterpunching, and consistent body attack, Barrera as swayed away from pressing his opponents and punishing them convincingly. Barrera has been increasingly content boxing his opponents and winning decisions.

In fact, six out of Barrera’s previous nine bouts before the Khan bout went the distance. Barrera only recorded two KOs that were three years apart. Barrera is 5-foot-5 and Khan is just short of 6 feet, which is overwhelmingly huge for a lightweight.

A Barrera KO of Khan was too tall an order for Barrera to complete.

Enzo gets KO’d

Former WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli had an opportunity to reclaim the title belt he lost after getting pounced inside two rounds by former world champion David Haye in March 2008. Maccarinelli challenged Ola Afolabi for the vacant WBO 200-pound championship and was favored to reclaim his belt by a odds of at least 13-1.

Instead, Maccarinelli (29-3, 22 KOs), fighting for the first time since the KO defeat to Haye, was knocked out in the ninth round by a beautiful to the chin from Afolabi (14-1-3, 6 KOs). Stunned onlookers were in disbelief as Afolabi, ranked No. 2 in the world by the WBO, but No. 15 by the WBC, was declared the new interim WBO champion.

Nicky gets Cooked, loses WBO 130-pound title

In perhaps the most competitive bout of the evening, WBO super featherweight champion Nicky Cook (29-2, 16 KOs) appeared as though he was headed toward a very convincing win over mandatory challenger Roman Martinez (22-0-1, 13 KOs). Cook stunned Martinez with a left hook to his chin in round two.

However, in round four, Cook’s back hit the canvas after Martinez landed a solid left uppercut to the champ’s chin. Cook returned to is feet, but was dropped again this time with a left hook to the chin. The bout was topped at the 2:20 second mark.

Hall TKOs Price

Matthew Hall drummed Bradley Price using a punishing body attack that helped set up three brutal knockdowns in round two. Hall was awarded an impressive second round TKO win to claim the European commonwealth junior middleweight title which is considered a big deal in the U.K.

Lucian Bute KOs Fernando Zuniga

Lucian Bute (24-0, 19 KOs) shook off the cobwebs from his controversial 12-round decision win over Librado Andrede in October by knocking out Fernando Zuniga (22-4-1, 19 KOs) in defense of the IBF super middleweight championship at the Bell Centre in Montreal Canada on Saturday.

A lot of people believed that Bute, who was seriously hurt and on the verge of getting knockout by Andrede in the final round of their bout, was given extended time to recover by referee Marlon Wright. The referee then reprimanded Andrede for not standing in a neutral following a knockdown. A clearly dazed Bute wobbled to his corner and was issued a deserving 12-round decision.

Bute was determined to prove that the fight against Andrede didn’t take anything away from his ability to perform well and emerge victorious. Bute did more than perform well against Zuniga, the IBF No. 10-ranked contender. Bute dominated his Panamanian challenger with effective combination punching and a punishing southpaw right-jab.

In the fourth round, Bute’s landed a ferocious shot that left Zuniga on the canvas in intent pain. Zuniga beat the count, but Zuniga was pummeled into a corner behind a barrage of sharp punches from the champion. Zuniga buried his face in between his gloves, as Bute was on the attack.

The bout was waved at the 2:25 mark.

The victory marked Bute’s third successful defense of the IBF 168-pound title which also includes a win against former three-time WBA middleweight champion William Joppy. Perhaps just as impressive, Bute remains undefeated and improved his record to 15-0 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.

Jermain Taylor vs. Carl Froch at Foxwoods

Carl Froch (24-0, 19 KOs), the WBC super middleweight champion, defends his title against former undisputed world middleweight champion, Jermain Taylor (28-2-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday, April 25, from the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort & Casino, Mashantucket, CT. Showtime will televise the bout beginning at 9 PM ET/PT.

“Jermain Taylor is a great fighter and I am excited to have him make his SHOWTIME debut on April 25,” said Hershman. “He’s the more accomplished fighter and the better-known guy right now, but in Froch, he’s facing the naturally bigger fighter and a man that has never lost. Our viewers have come to expect competitive fights month-in, month-out on SHOWTIME and this fight should be no different.

“The 168-pound weight division is one of the deepest and most exciting in boxing,” Hershman continued. “Froch-Taylor is just one of many compelling matchups that this division has to offer.”

Froch has fought exclusively in England throughout his career for 23 of his 24 professional bouts. His one fight outside the U.K. was an eight round stoppage of Henry Poras in California almost four years ago.

Froch is a star in the U.K., but is a relative unknown in America. That could change if Froch can beat Taylor, the guy who twice defeated Bernard Hopkins – ending his 10-year grasp as the premier middleweight boxer since Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

Taylor lost the WBC/WBO middleweight crown on a seventh round knockout to Kelly Pavlik in September 2007. Taylor, after losing to Pavlik on points in a rematch last year, returned in November to outhustle former IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy to become the WBC No. 1-ranked contender.

Froch defeated Jean Pascal to claim the WBC 168-pound belt after Calzaghe vacated the title following a successful move up to light-heavyweight before retiring after having beaten both Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr. in 2008.

Froch vs. Taylor should be a good fight. One fighter is looking to build his name in the U.S., while the other is trying to maintain his spot as one of the most recognizable fighter in boxing. Froch maybe more aggressive, but Taylor could be the better boxer and the more athletic of the two.

However, Froch is undefeated and Taylor has lost twice and has been stopped before. Taylor has had only one fight at super middleweight against a Jeff Lacy with a damaged left shoulder and bruised ego following a decisive loss to Calzaghe.

“I expect fireworks in this matchup,” said DiBella Entertainment President Lou DiBella. “There is an aggressive, straight-ahead, rugged champion fighting a seasoned athletic warrior. It is a can’t-miss fight and the title will change hands.”

Froch-Taylor ticket bargain

Ringside tickets for Carl Froch vs. Jermain Taylor are priced relatively low — $200 — which is tremendously low considering it’s a nationally televised event headed by a world title fight.

“I love this sport and boxing fans in the live audience is what really makes the atmosphere exciting. We’re not going to let the bad economy take away from what promises to be a great championship fight between Carl Froch and Jermain Taylor. With ringside seats available for just $200, the MGM Grand Theater is the place to be on April 25,” DiBella added.

Tickets are priced at $200, $100, $75, and $50 and are available through , Ticket Master, and the MGM Grand Box Office 866-646-0649.

Other news – Arthur Abraham wins, Lamon Brewster returns: IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham (29-0, 23 KOs) successfully defended his title for the ninth time in nearly 3 ½ years on Saturday in Holstein, Germany.

Abraham won a convincing 12-round unanimous decision against previously undefeated LaJuan Simon (21-1-2, 12 KOs). The scores were 118-109 and 117-110 (twice).

Abraham, 29, Armenia, is a true world champion because he fighting anyone, anytime, and anyplace. Abraham has defended his IBF title against opponents from Mexico, Columbia, Armenia, Australia, Canada, Ghana, and Philadelphia, PA, and New Haven, CT. Abraham is also a technically sound fighter, very strong for his size, and resilient (remember the first Edison Miranda fight?)

Arthur Abraham is the real deal and is a pleasure to watch.

Also in Holstein, former WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster (35-4, 30 KOs) continued his comeback with an eight-round decision win nod over Michael Sprott (31-13, 16 KOs). The judges scored the bout unanimously for Brewster by scores of 79-73 and 78-73 (twice).

Brewster won the WBO championship with an emphatic fifth round TKO of Wladimir Klitschko in April 2004. Brewster successfully defended that title three times before losing it to Sergui Liakhovich on points in 2006. Brewster, who lost July 2007 rematch with Klitschko (TKO by 6), eyes a rubber match with Wladimir.

Coincidentally, Wladimir hasn’t lost since the first fight with Brewster almost five years ago. Klitschko has reeled 10 consecutive victories (10-0, 7 KOs), unified the IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight championships, and is the consensus No. 1 heavyweight in the world.