Saturday, June 10, 2023  |


Barrera, Khan both confident

Fighters Network

Marco Antonio Barrera refused on a conference call Wednesday to talk about the cut that jeopardized his lightweight fight against Amir Khan on March 14 in Manchester, England.

The former six-time world titleholder said simply that he’ll be ready to go. And he issued a warning.

“I really don’t want to get into the cut,” Barrera said through an interpreter. “That’s behind me; that was last weekend. Amir Khan better not worry about a cut. He should be worrying about Marco Antonio Barrera coming to get him.”

Barrera suffered the cut over his left eye when he was butted by late-replacement Freudis Rojas in the third and final round of a tune-up fight Saturday in Jalisco, Mexico, near Barrera’s home.

His decision to fight – and risk injury – only six weeks before meeting Khan seemed baffling. However, he explained that he took the tune-up before he agreed to fight Khan and didn’t want to disappoint his hometown fans.

“I didn’t want to be disrespectful to my people and not fight after committing to it,” he said.

Barrera reportedly was advised by his own handlers to postpone the March 14 fight but he was cleared by a doctor to fight on the scheduled date.

That’s a relief to England-based co-promoter Frank Warren because the MEN Arena in Manchester will be packed: More than 15,000 tickets reportedly have been sold. The arena normally holds 21,000.

And, as of now, Americans who want to see the fight will have to go to Manchester because it isn’t scheduled to be televised in the United States.

Co-promoter Don King said he and Warren are exploring options in the U.S. and he believes it will be televised.

“Me and Frank will get together to see what direction we want to go,” he said.

The fight matches a 22-year-old prospect in Kahn (19-1, 15 knockouts) who was knocked out in the first round by Breidis Prescott two fights ago in the same arena in which he’ll face Barrera.

Kahn, who is training under Freddie Roach in Hollywood, Calif., insists he’s ready for a proven veteran like Barrera.

“If I didn’t think I could win, I wouldn’t have taken on this fight,” he said. “ÔǪ Since (the Prescott) fight I’m a better fighter. I’ve tasted defeat; I’m not scared of anything else.”

Barrera (65-6, 43 KOs) has been written off by many at 35.

He has engaged in many taxing brawls, which seem to have taken a toll. He hasn’t looked like the Barrera of old in recent fights. He lost one-sided decisions to Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao in 2007, stopped journeyman Sammy Ventura in November and won by disqualification when he was cut against Rojas.

“That’s good that they say I’m not a (legitimate) contender,” Barrera said. “I’ll have more to prove in the fight. I know who I am. ÔǪ Freddie Roach thinks that because he has one great fighter (Pacquiao) all his fighters are great.

“I just want to make it clear to him: Marco Antonio Barrera will be 100 percent. He better get that kid ready.”

Barrera wants to become the first Mexican to win titles in four weight classes. He already won titles at 122, 126 and 130 pounds.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]