Champions vying for vacant gold
Prince Naseem flew to the top of the featherweight division in stylish fashion. He was the undefeated showman that brought more attention to the smaller guys of the sport. After relinquishing his WBO title, Prince challenged the Baby-Faced Assassin for the vacant IBO Featherweight title. Barrera, a star in his own right, just lost a controversial split decision to Erik Morales. Barrera, a three-to-one underdog, accepted Prince’s challenge, setting the stage for an explosive fight.
Prince came out with his usual showmanship and unorthodox tactics, but had little effect on Barrera. Ironically, Barrera sat behind a patient, stiff jab, catching Prince as he lunges. That first round was the sign a long night for Naseem. As the fight wore on, Barrera showed off boxing technique that pundits and fans did not see coming. His usual aggressive brawling style was much less apparent in this particular fight. Barrera intelligently moved from Hamed’s powerful left to land his own left hook to the head and body. Hamed possessed no answer for Barrera’s strategy. By the middle rounds, Barrera pulled away on the scorecards. Barrera continued putting his combos together, snapping Prince’s head back on numerous occasions. Barrera won the fight by wide unanimous decision, handing Prince his only career loss.
After many people considered Barrera over the hill, he put together a masterful performance that led him to many more prizefights. This win played an integral part in Barrera’s comeback into the championship picture. Hamed, however, fought once more before retiring. Both guys solidified the smaller divisions as must-watch attractions.