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BBC Sport's John Rawling
"Barrera produced a quite brilliant boxing performance"
 real 14k

Defeated Prince Naseem
"The fact is he couldn't knock me out"
 real 14k

Hamed's trainer Emmanuel Steward
"He'll be back"
 real 14k

Promoter Barry Hearn
"I'm already thinking about Hamed-Barrera 3."
 real 14k

Hamed's former trainer Brendan Ingle
"Finally, probably everything's caught up with him."
 real 14k

Sunday, 8 April, 2001, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
Hamed beaten in Las Vegas
Naseem Hamed and Marco Antonio Barrera
Naseem Hamed absorbed a lot of punishment
Naseem Hamed lost his unbeaten record after dropping a unanimous decision to Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera in Las Vegas.

The 27-year-old Sheffield man was outclassed for almost all twelve rounds at the MGM Grand in the casino capital of the world and now faces a career rethink.

Hamed was repeatedly rocked and beaten to the punch by a man not previously considered a boxing stylist.

Great fighters get beat and come back and win - and I'll be back.
  Naseem Hamed

The fight was initially delayed when Hamed refused to leave his dressing room until a problem with his right glove was corrected.

But both Hamed's hands were to be of little use to him as he struggled to come to terms with a fighter acknowledged to be the toughest he had ever faced.

Hamed clearly lost the opening two rounds as Barrera opted to circle the ring and land eye-catching hooks and crosses.

All the while, Hamed was unable to land cleanly with so much as a jab.

Hamed enjoyed more success in the third round, as he began to find the range with his right hand lead, but the heavier blows were being landed by the Mexican.

The fourth round was a bad one for Hamed who was staggered in the corner by a sharp combination of punches.

The main thing is that he does not hit as hard as everyone says he does. I was never hurt in the fight.
  Marco Antonio Barrera

The former World Boxing Organisation Featherweight champion was looking alarmingly easy to hit and was starting to mark up around his right eye.

The fifth and six saw Hamed's head repeatedly knocked back by Barrera's ramrod left jab.

Round seven saw Hamed land his best punch of the fight, a solid left hook to Barrera's chin.

But it proved a formative moment in the contest - Barrera's response was to sneer at his rival and ask for more of the same.

Unable to hurt his opponent, Hamed became increasingly confused as to what approach to adopt.

His lack of activity only seemed to spur on Barrera further and the Mexican scored heavily in the eighth and ninth rounds.

Hamed has to absorb a hard right hand at the start of the tenth, but rallied to shade the round and give his cornerman Emanuel Steward a glimmer of hope.

I accept the loss and I'm going out like a real champion but I will return.
  Naseem Hamed

The veteran trainer told Hamed that Barrera may finally have been unsettled.

But any uncertainty in the Mexican's mind was erased when he elected to charge out of his corner at the start of the eleventh and stalk his man.

It was now that Barrera underlined his dominance and mastery of Hamed, rattling off flurries of jabs and hooks as his opponent retreated in haste.

The pattern continued in the final round, although Barrera had a point deducted for putting his opponent in a 'full nelson' and banging his head against the ringpost.

But the point proved insignificant when the scores were read out.

Hamed went down by margins of 115-112 (twice) and a third verdict of 116-111.

The Englishman's record drops to 35 wins and one defeat with 31 KOs, while the victor moves to 52 wins with three losses, with 37 KOs.

The bout was refereed by veteran third man American Joe Cortez.

Hamed admitted after the fight that he has a rematch clause in the contract for this fight which he intends to exercise.

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