It was a textbook dismantling, with pages inked the sweat and blood of Errol Spence Jr.'s opponent.
Spence took apart yet another overwhelmed challenger, this time at The Bomb Factory in his native Dallas on Saturday afternoon, stopping Alejandro Barrera (28-3, 18 KOs) for the first time in the Mexican fighter’s career.
Errol Spence Jr., one of the sport’s brightest hopes who was fighting in his hometown for the first time, entered Saturday's bout having yet to truly be tested in his pro career. Turns out, Barrera was the boxing equivalent of a pop quiz for which Spence had all the questions—and answers—in advance.
Barrera entered the ring with a 6½-inch reach advantage, and initially attempted to use that edge by boxing from the outside behind his jab and continuing to move to avoid Spence’s charge. However, it was Spence’s jab that ruled the day.
And as many previous opponents can attest, Spence doesn’t just flick that jab as a means of setting up his left hand; he throws it with more force then plenty of other fighters’ power punches.
From the opening round, the southpaw continually rocked Barrera with that jab, then followed it up with a short, sharp left uppercut to the body.
Barrera looked punch drunk as early as Round 2, when Spence peppered him with combinations, pumping his jab followed by left hands before stepping to the side and landing yet another shot or two.
Barrera inexplicably kept circling to his right, square into Spence’s punishing left hand. Even when he did manage to land a counter shot, Barrera was throttled for his efforts, such as in Round 4, when he scored with an uppercut only to be rocked by Spence's straight left hand that left Barrera noodle-legged for a moment.
By Round 5, Spence began to focus more on a withering body attack, which he used to drop Barrera with a savage right to the ribs that forced him to take a knee as blood dripped from his nose.
Barrera would get to his feet only to soon be knocked back on his heels, as a charging Spence hammered his wide-eyed opponent into submission at the 1:46 mark of the round.
When referee Laurence Cole stepped in and officially ended the beating, Spence had his fifth consecutive TKO victory.
Afterward, the 25-year-old said that earning the victory wasn’t quite as easy as it might have appeared from afar, thanks to Barrera’s fitful, unorthodox charge. It was an attack that was the opposite of the press-the-action style typical of most Mexian boxers.
“He threw me off a little bit,” Spence said. “I thought he was going to come forward and stand there, and then he started moving here and there. He was a lot more awkward than I expected him to be.
"It took me a few rounds, but once I calmed down a little bit, got behind my defense and started picking my shots and going to the body, everything started working out. I started taking my time, breaking him down and not rushing in. I was able to slow him down to the body, get some head shots in there and stop him.”
In the days prior to the fight, it was announced that Spence’s clash with Barrera was named a title elimination bout, with the victor being positioned to eventually fight 147-pound champ Kell Brook.
Whether or not that happens, Spence made clear his primary goal for 2016: He wants a title shot, no matter the opponent.
“Either I can get a fight with Kell Brook or he vacates it and I fight somebody else for the belt,” he said.
In the meantime, Spence’s more immediate concern was making up for all that lost Thanksgiving grub.
“My mom saved me some food,” he said, having had to skip all the holiday eats to make weight for his fight. “I’m going to stuff my face this weekend.”
Indeed, to the victor goes the sweet potato pie.
For complete coverage of Spence vs Barrera, make sure to visit our fight page.
Young prospect Erickson Lubin remains unbeaten with devasating knockout
In the televised opener Saturday, 154-pound prospect Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin (13-0, 10 KOs) lived up to his nickname—much to the chagrin of his opponent, Alexis Camacho (21-6, 19 KOs), who played the nail.
Fighting for the fifth time this year, the southpaw Lubin dropped Camacho in Round 1, drilling him with a sharp left hand after hurting him with a head-snapping jab followed by a cracking left.
Lubin dubs his left hand “Sledge” and his right hand “Jack,” and it was a crushing shot from the latter that sent Camacho into orbit, with the Austin, Texas, resident unable—or unwilling—to beat the count.
“I need to make a statement tonight,” Lubin said in an interview prior to the fight, and that he did, his fists punctuating said statement in exclamatory fashion.
Also on the TV card, undefeated 140-pound prospect Eddie Ramirez (12-0, 8 KOs) kept his unblemished record intact with a hard-fought win against game veteran Bilal Mahasin (7-2-1, 1 KO).
Mahasin worked well behind his jab and swarmed his younger opponent successfully from time to time. But ultimately, it was Ramirez’s dogged body work that won the day, as he continually dug in to Mahasin’s ribs, sinking his fists into his opponent’s midsection like he was dropping anchor in particularly deep waters. When it was over, Ramirez won a unanimous decision (78-74, 77-75 twice).
In still more action, 140-pound prospect Ryan “Cowboy” Karl (11-0, 8 KO) rode the range all over Ken Alvarez (7-3-2, 3 KOs), lassoing a fifth-round stoppage win after dropping Alvarez three times in the scheduled six-round bout.