Amir Khan vs Marco Antonio Barrera!

Marco Antonio Barrera15.01.09 - by James Slater - As has now been widely reported, lightweight talent Amir Khan will face the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera in his next fight, on March 14th, somewhere in the UK (venue and TV details still to be announced). This news will likely have surprised many. A quite audacious move on the part of the former Olympian and his promoter Frank Warren, the Barrera fight is without a doubt a gamble.

One cannot find fault with Khan's ambition and self belief in taking this fight, and if the 22-year-old gets himself a win it's likely Amir's bad loss to Breidis Prescott will become something of a distant memory. But will Khan really be able to handle even a 34-year-old version of the all-time great and former three-weight world champion?

Without debate, Barrera is the best opponent Khan will have faced in his life - even if the Mexican star is past his best. Barrera is far from a shot fighter, and he will almost certainly be looking at Khan as an upstart he will be able to either take to school or knock out; or maybe both.. Sure, Khan's bravery and self belief are as healthy as ever, but the chin problems his critics (and the Prescott loss) say he has will not have gone away. The 34-year-old legend may only have fought once up at lightweight, but no-one - least of all Khan - should forget that "The Baby Faced Assassin" has 43 KO's or stoppages to his great name.

Really, it cannot be stressed enough how much there will be at stake for Khan in this one. Should he lose again, especially by KO, the hot prospect's career may well be over; such is the pressure to make it and quickly in today's boxing world. Remember, a lot of fans and experts said out loud how Khan was taking a gamble in his last-but-one fight, against the lethal punching Colombian - and we all know how that roll of the dice went. As much as the Barrera fight is an attractive fight - one that will get not only a sell-out crowd and a huge live TV audience (this fight will almost certainly be on pay-per-view, don't you agree?), but also a helluva lot of opinions and discussion beforehand - is it really a wise move on the part of Khan and Warren?

In many ways the March 14th fight is something of a dream fight. No-one really felt Barrera would still be fighting into the year 2009, therefore Khan, from a different era, never looked like fighting the man he says he admires. But the fight is happening, it's signed and sealed, and it will help the next 12 months become an even better boxing year than 2008 was.

Barrera has fought and won as recently as last November, therefore he will be sharp and he will be ready (there's no way Barrera will leave anything to chance in training, so determined will he be to not have himself embarrassed by such a youngster). Khan can really punch, but he has gone on record as saying he will not be looking for a KO in March; claiming he will box Barrera intelligently and patiently instead. So, going by Khan's comments at least, we can perhaps anticipate a chess match type affair. Barrera has certainly been more boxer than banger in his more recent fights (with the KO over the massively overmatched Sammy Ventura last time out being Marco's only inside the distance win since April 2005).

A tough fight to pick, as we don't know what Barrera has left or how he will cope with the naturally bigger man - Khan-Barrera is sure to have the fans divided. This writer picks Khan to win, via a close decision.

Article posted on 15.01.2009

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