Khan's Conditioning Coach Alex Ariza Says Barrera Will Get Stopped On Saturday!

by James Slater - Only a brave (or biased?) man would go out on a limb and predict a KO or stoppage victory for Amir Khan on Saturday night when he gets in there with the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera - after all, the Mexican great has only been stopped twice in over seventy fights. Well, one man brave enough to make such a prediction is Khan's conditioning coach, Alex Ariza. Speaking to Sky Sports recently, the Wild Card Gym staff member who has worked in the past with top names from the sport such as Diego Corrales and Erik Morales (when he fought against Barrera) said Khan will win at the weekend, and he will win by mid-rounds stoppage..

"This is truly going to be one of Amir's defining moments," Ariza said to Sky Sports. "Freddie [Roach] wouldn't have taken this fight if he didn't think Amir could do it. And I have every confidence as far as his conditioning is concerned: I just think he is going to be too much for Barrera.

"It's a question of physiology and he's bigger, he's stronger, he's faster, he's younger. What are you going to do with that?"

Ariza makes some good comments to be sure, but the one thing he didn't mention - the one thing that may prove to be the big equaliser in the fight - was Khan's chin. We all saw it shatter before our very eyes against Breidis Prescott back in September of last year, could the same thing happen if and when Barrera lands a left hook on it? Also, Barrera went into his fight against Naseem Hamed - another would-be-superstar from the UK - very much the perceived underdog. And yet despite being younger, faster and more powerful than Barrera, "The Prince" lost. Royally.

Yes, that was a long time ago, but if Barrera is past his best, it's also fair to say that Khan is no Hamed. The two men's respective talents just might even themselves out on Saturday night in Manchester.

Still, Azira is sure the fighter he conditions to fight hard will win.

"I think it's going to become too much, too early for Barrera," Ariza said. "And maybe it becomes a forgone conclusion by the sixth or seventh round. In my own heart of hearts, I think he's going to stop him."

It's likely there will be a large number of open mouths inside the M.E.N Arena on Saturday night if Khan does manage to become only the third man to stop "The Baby Faced Assassin." Khan will certainly have gained entry into a pretty exclusive club - with just Manny Pacquiao and Junior Jones for company!

Article posted on 10.03.2009

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