If Alex Arthur Beats Nicky Cook, Could It Be Barrera Next?

by James Slater - The stakes for Alex Arthur's title fight defence against fellow Brit Nicky Cook were high enough before, but in the last 24 hours the fight has become an even more important one for the Scot. In making the first defence of the WBO super-featherweight title he was given for real when Joan Guzman moved up in weight, the 30-year-old from Edinburgh had enough pressure on his shoulders. But now, according to promoter Frank Warren, Arthur, should he come through with a win in Manchester tonight, may land a mega-fight with the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera..

The Mexican warrior, as we know, has just signed a five year contract with Don King and is keen to fight again this year. And even though it seems Barrera wants to win a lightweight world title, Warren believes he can maybe get "The Baby Faced Assassin" to come to Scotland to face the once-beaten Arthur.

Warren spoke of this possibility with Sky Sports.

"Alex has a big carrot in front of him," the promoter said. "If he does win this fight (tonight), I am going to do my best to bring Barrera over and I will try and bring it to Scotland. So he has some big opportunities there if he comes through."

As faded as he may be at age 34, an Arthur-Barrera fight would still be a huge event for British boxing. Arthur has actually wanted a fight with the Mexican great for some time now, and if he needed any further incentive to beat the tough Nicky Cook, the possibility that he may finally get what he wants is surely it. Cook will be no pushover, though. But Warren has faith in Arthur and said he feels he would have become a world champion a long time ago, had he been trained by current coach Wayne McCullough all along.

The former world champion from Ireland has been doing a great job with Arthur, but Warren believes that the 30-year-old's sole loss - to Michael Gomez - was, in a way, the best thing that could have happened him.

"Alex started off his career very well and then I think there was a problem with trainers," Warren continued. "I am pleased he has settled down with Wayne. He always wanted to train him, but Wayne had his own boxing commitments in the last few years. But the best thing that happened to Alex was when he got beaten by Gomez. It made him re-think what he had to do and it stood him in good stead. He didn't turn world champion until he was 29 but there is no disgrace in that. He still has a lot of boxing left in him."

Warren agrees that Alex has a hard fight ahead of him later tonight.

"Nick is no pushover and Alex can't afford to be complacent as he was against Stephen Foster Junior in his last fight," Warren stated. "He was very complacent and he was complacent against Gomez. He should have won that fight but he was playing up to the crowd. But training has gone well for this fight and he is very focused."

Arthur will need to be focused, even more so now that he just might see a win reward him with a big fight against Barrera.

Article posted on 06.09.2008

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