Morales, Pacquiao on horizon for Barrera

Originally Published: April 9, 2005
By Doug Fischer | Maxboxing.com

Marco Antonio Barrera blew out Mzonke Fana in two rounds Saturday night, defending his WBC super featherweight title at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.

Barrera, who defended the 130-pound belt that he won in his rubber match victory over Erik Morales last November, improved to 60-4 (42 knockouts) with a second-round knockout of Fana, the unheralded No. 1 contender who fell to 22-3 (8).

Marco Antonio Barrera, left, and Mzonka Fana
Barrera's knockout blow snapped Fana's head back to the canvas.

Fana shot out a pretty jab, but that was his only punch of note and it was not nearly enough to hold off a champion of Barrera's caliber and experience. The three-division champion from Mexico City easily countered Fana's jab with right hands that instantly buzzed the South African in the first round, opening up the lanky contender to a variety of other punches -- jabs, hooks and uppercuts.

In the second round, Fana finally dropped a right hand but his aggression only opened him up for a left hook to the body (which backed him up even though it was partially blocked), followed by a right cross that hurt him, followed by a jab that fell short, followed by another right cross that landed right on the chin that dropped the challenger flat on his back (causing his head to snap violently on the canvas and the referee to immediately wave the mismatch off).

Fana complained of being hit low and a quick stoppage after the contest ended, but in truth he was saved from being seriously hurt by a great fighter. Now that this silly mandatory defense is out of the way, Barrera can focus on fighting fellow great fighters such as archrival Morales and nemesis Manny Pacquiao.

In the co-featured bout to the Golden Boy Promotions card, Fernando Montiel improved to 30-1-1 (24) with a seventh-round stoppage of Ivan Hernandez. Montiel, who dropped Hernandez twice in Round 7 with perfect left hooks to the body, regained the WBO 115-pound title he lost to Mark "Too-Sharp" Johnson via a close decision in 2003. Hernandez, who dropped to 21-1-1 (13), won the title with an eighth-round stoppage of Johnson last year.

The few fans that saw Hernandez's title-winning effort thought the Ensenada, Mexico, native's size and reach might be too much for the smaller Montiel to deal with. However, after an even first round that saw Hernandez stalk Montiel behind a strong jab and long-range right hands, the Los Mochis, Mexico, native took control of the fight with his faster hands, nimble footwork and uncanny hand-eye coordination.

Montiel countered Hernandez's jab with accurate lead rights and cross-hook combinations in the early rounds before getting off with his own jab in the middle rounds and unleashing more aggressive combinations. By round six Montiel was looking to land his favorite punch -- the left hook to the liver -- and he found the spot in the seventh round, dropping Hernandez for an eight count with the first body shot that landed and then ending the contest with another one 20 seconds later, one minute and 48 seconds into the round.

Also on the undercard, 2004 U.S. Olympian Vicente Escobedo scored his second consecutive impressive first-round KO with an 82-second blowout of JosÚ Rodriguez. Escobedo improved to 2-0 (2) with a series of right hands that landed on Rodriguez's temple and jaw.

Former amateur standout Aaron Garcia improved to 3-0 with a workmanlike four-round decision over Bryan Garcia.