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Sunday, 8 April, 2001, 07:05 GMT 08:05 UK
Barrera drains Hamed's colour
Naseem Hamed
The high point of Hamed's night
By BBC Sport Online's Chris Summers in Las Vegas

He came, he saw but he did not conquer.

Prince Naseem Hamed was dethroned by a Mexican who is a throwback to the old days.

Hamed entered the ring sitting on a circus swing with booming bass music, fireworks and ticker tape.

But while the capacity 14,000 crowd loved the showbiz - which was perfectly suited to the Las Vegas setting -a proud man waited in the ring.


Seven long minutes he waited, this 27-year-old veteran of 55 fights.

Marco Antonia Barrera entered with only a small entourage, a clutch of Mexican flags and a cacophony of support from the hombres from across the border.

There was no flash or razzmatazz with the man from Mexico City.

But he let his fists do the business.

Barrera - proud, professional and punch perfect
Barrera and his trainer Ricardo Maldonado, who trained for seven weeks in the mountains at Big Bear in California, had clearly studied Hamed's technique, prepared a perfect game plan and stuck to it.

From the first bell he allowed Hamed to come forward, a stance he is not effective with, and picked him off with jabs and hooks.

Naseem Hamed was very strong he took my best punches
  Marco Antonio Barrera

The Mexican also stepped constantly to the left avoiding Hamed's best punch, and when he saw an opening he threw combinations which clearly alarmed Hamed.

Boxing pundit Roy Foreman said: "Tonight was Barrera's night. It was the night the 'Baby faced assassin' became a stone cold killer."

Afterwards, a humble Hamed thanked Allah for the fact that he came through the fight safely and gave "maximum respect" to his opponent.

Hamed and Barrera hugged afterwards and the Mexican said "Naseem Hamed was very strong he took my best punches."

Hamed said: "At the end of the day this is my first loss in 36 fights and I took it like a champion and I will be back."

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