Ahead of Amir Khan’s bout with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas on Saturday night, Sport360 takes a look at some of the most memorable bouts between British and Mexican boxers over the years:
Amir Khan v Marco Antonio Barrera, March 2009
Khan was in the process of rebuilding his career following his first-round knockout defeat by Breidis Prescott just two fights earlier, but despite the name of a true great in Barrera being on his record, the reality is he caught the Mexican when he had declined and was fighting well beyond his natural weight division, at lightweight.
Barrera, who excelled at super-bantamweight, dropped a fifth-round technical decision because of a significant cut that had opened over his eye in the second.
Fighting for the first time since the first defeat of his professional career, six months earlier by Floyd Mayweather, Hatton appeared a fighter in decline when labouring to a unanimous decision victory over an opponent he was expected to impress against.
Scores of 120-110, 118-110 and 120-108 did little to mask an unconvincing performance in which Hatton occasionally looked in trouble and rarely looked like stopping a fighter he would have excelled against in his prime. The fight proved his last with long-term trainer Billy Graham.
Naseem Hamed v Marco Antonio Barrera, April 2001
The first and only defeat of Hamed’s professional career came in his penultimate fight, when he had been widely expected to win. He had lacked focus throughout the fight’s build-up, and naively pursued a knockout throughout the 12-round boxing lesson he received against the more polished Barrera.
The Mexican, though having a point deducted in the final round for turning Hamed and ramming his head into the ring post in the knowledge he had already done enough to win, was awarded scores of 116-111, 115-112 and 115-112 from the three judges.
Julio Cesar Chavez v Andy Holligan, December 1993
Liverpool’s Holligan challenged the then WBC lightwelterweight champion, and perhaps Mexico’s most popular ever fighter, in cold temperatures at the Cuauhtemoc Stadium on a Don King promotion but quickly looked out of his depth.
With his nose bleeding heavily from the second round, Holligan did well to survive several brutal attacks until his corner withdrew him at the end of the fifth. It was Chavez’s 89th win from his 90th fight; the other was a draw. El Gran Campeon Mexicano had another 25 fights before retiring in 2005.
Lupe Pintor v Johnny Owen, September 1980
This was the tragic night that cost Wales’ Owen his life. Challenging Pintor for the WBC bantamweight title, he impressed in the opening rounds before gradually being worn down, first hitting the canvas in the ninth round, and then twice more in the 12th of a scheduled 15. He remained unconscious following the second knockdown, was removed from the ring on a stretcher, and later underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain. He died from the head injuries suffered almost two months later.