Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Kennedy McKinney
On the first episode of HBO's Boxing After Dark, undefeated WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Marco Antonio Barrera goes to war with Olympic gold medalist Kennedy McKinney in one of the greatest fights of all time. Having already punched McKinney at the press conference ahead of the fight, Barrera tries to finish the job by shocking the challenger with some right hands in the opening round and hurting him with a body shot in the second. They trade bombs at the end of the fourth and again over the last half of the sixth when McKinney finally starts to succumb to the blows. In the eighth, Barrera lands a three-punch combination to put McKinney down for the first time in his career. McKinney tries to hold, but Barrera knocks him down into the ropes with another right hand and nearly wins on the three-knockdown rule before the challenger barely makes it out of the round. An accumulation of punches drops McKinney into a sitting position in the corner in the ninth round, but McKinney comes back to hurt Barrera with right hands in the tenth before Referee Pat Russell stops the action to retrieve the challenger's mouthpiece. A right hand from McKinney puts Barrera's glove to the canvas in the eleventh round for the first knockdown of the champion's career, but Barrera catches McKinney slipping with a body shot to put him down again in the twelfth. Another body shot drops McKinney to a knee, but Russell misses the knockdown. Barrera then closes the show for real with a right hand to the head that puts the still hurting McKinney on his backside, and Russell stops the fight, ending a classic.