EL PASO, Texas (April 9) - Marco Antonio Barrera carved another notch on his holster Saturday night by dropping Mzonke Fana to the canvas and out of contention at 1:48 of round two in a shootout at the Don Haskins Arena in El Paso, Texas to retain his WBC belt, without hardly breaking a sweat.
The defending super featherweight champion Barrera (60-4 42 KOs), from Ciudad de Mexico, dominated Fana (22-3 8 KOs), hailing from Capetown, South Africa, from the opening bell. Fana fired off his quick jab to some effect, but his money punch was nullified as soon as Barrera started landing. The economy and power of Barrera's punches were too much for Fana, just as they have been too much for men named Morales, Tapia, Salud, Junior Jones and Kennedy McKinney. Everything Marco Antonio threw hit the mark. In his corner between rounds, Fana looked like a beaten man.
The second picked up where the first left off. Halfway into the second Barrera connected with a left hook to the body, followed by a right-left-right to the head, which dropped Fana to the deck. The referee Laurence Cole, to whom controversy sticks like gum sticks to the bottom of a shoe, didn't bother to count, for reasons known only to him, and waved off the fight at 1:48. The Baby Faced Assassin scored an impressive but meaningless kayo victory over the Rose of Khayalitsha.
In the co-main event, former WBO champion Fernando Montiel (30-1-1-23 KOs) returned to form and regained the 115-pound title with a seventh round knockout over previously unbeaten Ivan "Choko" Hernandez. Montiel (29-1-23 KOs) was nothing less than superb and fought a perfect fight. Hernandez (19-0-1 13 KOs) is a fine fighter, but he was in there with one of the game's rising stars. Montiel dropped Hernandez in round six and two times in round seven and that was it.
Olympian junior lightweight Vicente Escobedo (2-0 2 KOs) needed a little more than a minute and a half to depose Jose Rodriguez (3-2-1). Escobedo's rights dropped Rodriguez twice before the fight was called.
Junior lightweight Aaron Garcia (3-0) beat Bryan Garcia (7-12) over six rounds to win a unanimous decision. This ugly fight should have been off-TV. No one wants to watch a man get hurt, so that another man can pad his record. The viewer should have been spared.
After his demolition of Fana, Barrera assured the TV audience that "There's a lot of Marco Antonio Barrera left." He also said, "Thanks to all. Thanks to Oscar De La Hoya. And thanks to Fernando Montiel. Arriba Mexico!"
That the evening's telecast was deemed an HBO-PPV card is one of life's great mysteries. Barrera must have a legion of fans that were willing to shell out forty bucks to see his fight on TV, but Mzonke Fana, for all his heart, nerve and ambition, didn't belong in the same ring with Barrera. Paying to witness a mismatch of this caliber sends the wrong message to the fans. Instead of proclaiming "Ain't boxing far-out?" the warning seems to be: Caveat Emptor (i.e. Buyer Beware).
Who's the best Mexican boxer today?