By Alistair Donkin - For Amir Khan and Marco Antonio Barrera in the MEN arena in Manchester, England, Saturday 14th March it is crunch time. A whole lot is resting on the match up between this young superstar and willy, battle hardened warrior. Amir Khan gets a perfect opportunity to prove himself to be more than a china chinned British hype job. Barrera gets the chance to put himself in a perfect position for a title shot which would enable him to become the first Mexican to win world titles in 4 weight divisions. Defeat for either could spell either an unfortunate end to a great career for the Mexican legend or destroy young Amirs before it starts....
Amir Khan (19-1 15ko`s) had a fantastic start to his career. He was propelled into the spotlight after becoming one of the few Britains to win a medal at the Athens Olympics. Amir demonstrated excellent skill, speed and a crowd pleasing come forward aggressive style to pick up a silver medal and endear himself to the British public.. It was inevitable with all the hype surrounding the youngsters career that a top promoter such as Frank Warren would sign him up and encourage him to turn professional. Before he turned pro Amir did however get the chance to redeem his loss to Mario Kindalen in the final of the Olympics and did a brilliant job out pointing the Cuban 19-13. This perfectly set the stage for Amir to tun pro and he put together an impressive early career record of 18-0 14KO`s. Although Khan did show signs of weakness on occasions such as when light punching Willie Limond and danger man Michael Gomez dropped him, he got back up on his feet to courageously stop both fighters to temporarily silence his critics. It was not until a bit of dodgy matchmaking put him in with a hungry unknown Colombian banger that all the hype surrounding Khan silenced. Amir was reckless in his come forward approach to the fight and was completely starched by Prescott in 54 seconds. New trainer Jorge Rubio appeared to carry the can, in comes `trainer of champions` Freddie Roach and Amir is apparently rejuvenated and once again ready to rumble.
It is hard to pick somewhere to start when writing about Marco Antonio Barrera(65-6 43ko`s). He has done so much, seen so much and been part of so many fantastic battles that he has endeavoured himself to the hearts of many boxing fans. A seven time, 3 weight division world champion Barrera has proved himself in battles with many legends of the sport like Naseem Hamed, Manny Pacquiao and Juan manual Marquez to name but a few. His trilogy with another Mexican great Erik Morales was a privilege to watch and I have severe doubts in my head as to whether Khan can stand and trade with the same ferocity as those 2 warriors. Barrera has proved himself time and time again against different styles of world class opposition, can counter punch and is as technically sound as any boxer could wish to be.
A major factor in the outcome of this fight is as Ricky Hatton stated when giving his view on the fight `how much does Barrera have left?!` If Barrera has anywhere near the level that fought Morales all those years ago Amir really does have little if no chance. If Barrera has fell so far off his perch that he can not get his shots off, is uncomfortable at an unfamiliar weight, does not carry his noted power at 135lbs or has simply been caught up with by father time Amir Khan might just have the determination and speed to edge a close encounter. As explained above I can see this fight playing out by either one or two ways but if I was a betting man which I am I would be forced to go with experience over youth and back the baby faced Assassin to once again relive the glory days and march on to win an eigth world title in an historic forth weight division.
Article posted on 11.03.2009