“Baby Faced Assassin” Barrera ascended into the pound-for-pound lists during the 90’s. At 22 years old, he became the WBO Super Bantamweight champion in 1995, amassing an undefeated record with 39 wins. On the other hand, gold medalist and former champion Kennedy McKinney presented a major challenge for Barrera. HBO created “Boxing After Dark“, and this fight became the first under the B.A.D. banner. During a press conference, Barrera and McKinney fought where both camps had to be separated from each other. The fight was a success, and it surely didn’t disappoint.
Barrera came out fast throwing bombs and trading with McKinney in the first few rounds. After round six, HBO unofficial scorer Harold Lederman had McKinney up four rounds to two. McKinney’s age started to show as the fight progressed. His double hooks and right uppercuts couldn’t keep Barrera from attacking the body. Barrera started to land more on McKinney, knocking him down twice in the eighth with hard shots. McKinney avoided the third knockdown in the round, which would have ended the fight because of the three knockdown rule being in effect. The fight became a dogfight of will towards the championship rounds. McKinney finally saw an opening in the eleventh, landing a beautiful right hand to Barrera’s body. That body knocked down Barrera for the first time in his career. However, Barrera rose quickly and went back to work on his opponent’s body. Barrera ultimately stopped McKinney in the twelfth round after three more knockdowns. This fight would be a start of the long-running HBO series, which is active to this day.
“Baby Faced Assassin” continued his ascension into Mexican and international boxing stardom after this fight. He went to have fights with the best boxing had to offer. He fought Kevin Kelley, Prince Naseem, Erik Morales, Manny Pacquiao, and more after losing to Junior Jones twice. McKinney won titles after this loss, and quietly faded away from boxing. HBO continues to show “Boxing After Dark”, which has outlasted ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights.