Aspirant fighters who could not be at the Banquet Hall in Klerksdorp on Friday night to witness Mzonke Fana defending his IBF title against Javier Alvarez missed a free boxing lesson.
Fana, written off in 2005 after being stopped in two rounds by the legendary Marco Barerra, did not just climb in the ring and clumsily throw a left uppercut to the solar plexus that ended the fight in the ninth round, he patiently wore down his man with artfully executed body blows.
It all started with a probing left jab which drew blood from Alvarez' nose in the second round. Fana entertained fight fans in this main bout of a Branco Sports Production. Fana's top drawer performance makes him a hot favourite for the Boxer of 2007 award.
Alvarez came out like a raging bull at the start of the second round, but Fana slowed him down with a solid left hook to the jaw.
In fact, Fana easily handled Alvarez throughout the fight - thanks to the hard training by trainer Zola Koti.
Fana, who has established himself as the best jabber in local boxing, preferred to fight from a distance as he tried to keep Alvarez at bay with countless jabs, but El Vikingo literally walked past them and engaged him in a slugfest.
The vastly experienced challenger, a former South American, WBO Latino and WBU champion, threw rock-solid body shots but only a few found the target. Fana's defence was tight. The few punches that landed had little or no effect.
Fana stood in front of Alvarez and went to work on his midsection, with devastating body shots. By the sixth round Fana had earned total respect from Alvarez who had earlier predicted that he would knock Fana out.
By round seven, Fana was in total control, dazzling the South American with an array of punches and feigns. Some in the big crowd sensed an early night and started calling for Fana to finish his man.
The Rose of Khayelitsha did not disappoint. A well-aimed, damaging left uppercut to the solar plexus sent the already softened Alvarez sagging to the canvass - the rest is history.