Great Britain vs Mexico: A tale of two nations looking for boxing supremacy

A look into some of the biggest fights between the two countries involved, including Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera and Anthony Joshua.

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's recent eighth round TKO victory over Billy Joe Saunders is the latest marquee fight to have taken place between a Mexican and Briton.

Coincidentally, Saunders was the seventh fighter from UK shores to taste defeat to Canelo - boxing's four-division world champion.

It's fair to say Eddie Hearn has had a mixed experience when it comes to putting his stable up against Mexican fighters.

The Matchroom mogul has continued his love affair with Mexico, teaming up with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Eddy Reynoso for a four-fight Mexican series, the first event starts on June 26 in Guadalajara.

To celebrate some of the biggest names in the game, Planet Sport has looked back at some memorable British vs Mexican match-ups from years gone by.

Prince Naseem Hamed vs Marco Antonio Barrera - April 2001, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada - Lineal featherweight title, vacant IBO featherweight title

The first fight on our list comes from back in 2003 when the hugely entertaining Prince Naseem Hamed put his unbeaten 35-0 record on the line against Mexican fighting legend Marco Antonio Barrera at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

Hamed entered the bout as an overwhelming odds-on favourite with Barrera - who, having already been beaten three times - given little chance of ending the Sheffield born fighter's unbeaten run.

However, it would quickly become apparent that Barrera was of a different breed to the 35 victims on Hamed's unbeaten resume. Sharper to the punch, Barrera's ring generalship was on full display for much of the fight with Hamed, unusually subdued in what would turn out to be his penultimate bout at the age of just 27.

Prince Naseem Hamed (left) shudders after taking another stiff right to the head from Marco Antonio Barrera during the IBO Featherweight Title fight at the MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas
Prince Naseem Hamed (left) shudders after taking another stiff right to the head from Marco Antonio Barrera during the IBO Featherweight Title fight at the MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas

Indeed, having failed to perform his cursory summersault into the ring, Hamed, instead stepped through the middle rope on his entrance, was subsequently outboxed, out-thought and out-manoeuvred by a superior, and far craftier boxing technician.

In a dominant, one-sided display, Barrera even had the luxury of manhandling the outspoken Prince in round 12, with the "babyface" displaying his assassin's temperament, escorting and shoving the shell-shocked Hamed face-first into the ring post.

A point deduction mattered little for the legendary Mexican, who, with his dominant performance, had finally silenced the brash-talking Hamed. Following an ugly win over Augy Sanchez in his final bout, Hamed would retire, with both his tongue and tail tucked firmly between his legs.

Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz 1 - June 2019 - Madison Square Garden, New York City - WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles

A heavyweight fight never to be forgotten, that almost never happened.

Unbeaten with a 22-0 record, Anthony Joshua had the boxing world at his feet following his superb and thrilling win over former champion Wladimir Klitschko and following convincing wins over Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin, had cemented his position as the world's most dominant heavyweight.

With a scheduled bout against "Big Baby" Miller postponed due to failed drug tests on the part of the New Yorker, Mexican-American Andy Ruiz would step in at less than a month's notice to take on the Brit for this, his first contest held on American soil.

However, Ruiz had not read the Joshua script and was instead following his own Hollywood narrative. He would score two stunning knockdowns in round three, having looked to have been on the verge of being stopped himself in a round that truly encapsulated the thrilling drama this wonderful sport so often brings.

Joshua would survive the round but would suffer two further knockdowns on his way to a seventh-round stoppage, with Ruiz remarkably emerging as Mexico's first-ever heavyweight champion.

While AJ would make amends in the rematch just six months later following a deserved points decision victory in Saudi Arabia, it was this first contest that will live long in the memory of fight fans, with Ruiz scoring arguably the biggest heavyweight upset since Buster Douglas's win over Mike Tyson 30 years earlier.

Ricky Hatton vs Jose Luis Castillo - June 2007 - Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada - IBO and Ring light-welterweight titles, vacant WBC International light-welterweight title

Perhaps the zenith of Ricky Hatton's fighting career - the lovable Mancunian would also travel to Las Vegas, taking on the hugely experienced and legendary lightweight fighter Jose Luis Castillo.

In winning the bout in quick-style fashion, Hatton had caught the attention of the US viewing public and would remain in Las Vegas for his next fight against fellow unbeaten star, Pretty Boy Floyd.

Boxer Ricky Hatton, of England, is introduced before his junior welterweight boxing match against Jose Luis Castillo
Boxer Ricky Hatton, of England, is introduced before his junior welterweight boxing match against Jose Luis Castillo

Hatton, sporting an unforgettable Sombrero during his Mexican themed ring entrance, was defending his IBO and Ring light-welterweight titles and unbeaten record against the vastly experienced Castillo.

Despite having seven losses on his record, Castillo - who had gone the distance with Floyd Mayweather five years before - was still considered a threat to Hatton's dominance in the 140 lb division.

However, Hatton, five years Castillo's junior, made quick work of the shop-worn Mexican, stopping him in the fourth stanza with a deadly and incapacitating left hook to the liver.

The punishing punch left the Empalme native gasping for air, as he failed to beat Joe Cortez's count of 10.

Scott Harrison vs Juan Manuel Medina 2 - November 2003, Braehead Arena, Glasgow - WBO featherweight title

A now disgraced figure in Scottish boxing, Scott Harrison gained revenge in this fight having lost to the experienced Manuel Medina in Glasgow just six months earlier.

A five-time featherweight world champion, Medina had deservedly scored a split decision victory in the first of their two bouts held in the summer of 2003.

However, this time round Harrison would not be denied, scoring four knockdowns in front of a partisan home crowd on his way to an 11th round TKO.

Harrison had shown tremendous resolve in coming back to vest the hugely experienced Mexican who had entered the bout with more than 50 fights more experience than his rugged Scottish opponent.

Yet, on a thrilling night in Glasgow, Harrison would reclaim his WBO belt, stopping Medina for only the third time in his long career. It was a dominant display that had included a first round knockdown of the veteran champion.

Harrison would go on to defend his title on a further six occasions before trouble with the Spanish law would, despite a brief comeback in 2012, all but end his boxing career in 2005 at the age of just 28.

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