Looking Back At The Weekend In The Ring

By Tom Donelson
Updated: March 15, 2009

Boxing GlovesIOWA CITY — The 22-year-old Amir Khan faced his biggest fight against Hall of Famer Marco Antonio Barrera and this fight coming off his first defeat against Breidis Prescott.

In the opening, both fighters clashed heads and Barrera came off the worse. With blood spurting out on his face, this affected Barrera and it didn’t help that Khan fought his best fight as he used his height and speed to keep the Mexican star off him.

Khan showed improvement in his defense from his previous fight as Barrera could not get close to the young British fighter and when he did connect, it had little effect upon Khan.

As blood continued to spurt, Barrera could not see the punches coming his way and in the fifth round, the fight was stopped.

Khan won a technical decision and improved his record to 20-1 and Barrera lost his seven fights in 72 fights.

Barrera’s cut played a role in the outcome of the fight and it is hard to discuss how this fight would have turned out if the cut didn’t occur but Khan’s looked like a better fighter and appeared to learning all the right lesson under the tutelage of Freddie Roach.

For Barrera, his career is coming to a close as he readied to exit stage left. He’s accomplished much in his stellar career but he is no longer the fighter of old but simply an old fighter.

For Khan, he has his victory over a name opponent but there still real questions left. While the WBO have Khan listed as a contender, it was just last fall that he lost to another contender, Breidis Prescott in his back yard by a first round knockout.

For his fans in Manchester, England; he survived a big test and now his career is back on track.

In another fight in Manchester, Ola Afolabi challenged former WBO cruiserweight champ Enzo Maccarinelli. Afolabi is another Freddie Roach charge and for him, this was his introduction to the Cruiserweight elites.

Born in London, Afolabi trains in Los Angeles but on this night, he was facing his toughest fight. With 13 victories with only one defeat and three draws, he faced a fighter with only two losses in 31 fights.

Maccarinelli started out strong as he took the first two rounds but Afolabi turned the fight around in the third round.

He stood on the rope in the third round as Maccarinelli moved forward, and in a flash, a Afolabi nailed the Welshman with a right hand that sent Maccarinelli reeling 180 degrees.

With his legs wobbly, Maccarinelli concentrated on surviving. He worked the body and proved be the more active fighter but Afolabi right hand would occasionally remind his opponent of the danger that still existed.

Going into the ninth round, Maccarinelli seemed safely ahead but another Afobali right sent Maccarinelli to the canvas and unlike the third round, Afolabi didn’t allow his opponent off the hook.

Maccarinelli looked like a beaten man after he beat the count and the referee stopped the fight. The Cruiserweight gained yet another potential star in a division filled with good fighters.

In Germany, “Relentless” Lamon Brewster won a unanimous decision over Michael Sprott as he begins his own comeback.

Brewster, a former champion, boxed efficiently as his jab backed up Sprott with his powerful left jab and his typical relentless style.

In the third round, Brewster threw a right hand that grazed Sprott and then followed up with a devastating left hook that sent Sprott sprawling to the campus.

Sprott survived the eight count but since it happened at the end of the round, the bell saved him. From this point, Sprott survived against the rushing style of Brewster as whenever Sprott decided to counterattack, Brewster’s power reminded the British fighter that in order to survive; caution took precedence as Brewster power proved decisive.

Brewster would love to fight Wladimir Klitschko in a third bout but at this point of his career, he is far removed from title contention.

Meanwhile Arthur Abraham continued his own quest to unite the Middleweight title as he easily defeated Lajuan Simon. He simply used Simon to remind the rest of the Middleweight — including Ring magazine champion Kelly Pavlik — that he may just be the best 160 pound fighter.

This weekend contained some fascinating fights; invisible to American boxing fans. All of these important fights occurred overseas; showing once again what a global sport boxing is.

American fighters just as Barrera and Brewster went across the Atlantic to take advantage of full arenas to continue their careers but it showed that outside of the United States; new stars are being born away from the sight of American boxing fans.