Frank Warren: It will be a big fight for Amir
AMIR Khan will face boxing legend Marco Antonio Barrera in March, it was announced today.
Securing a fight against the seven-time, three-weight world champion – regarded as a modern great – is a coup for both Khan and promoter Frank Warren.
Barrera has won 64 of his 71 fights and at 34 has plenty of miles on the clock, but he remains a formidable opponent and the biggest test of Khan’s 20-fight career to date.
Winning his first world title in 1995, Barrera has faced Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales in a record that includes a unanimous points win over Naseem Hamed in 2001.
Khan bounced back from his brutal 54-second knockout by Breidis Prescott last September with an impressive two-round demolition of Oisin Fagan.
The 22-year-old lightweight dispensed with trainer Jorge Rubio after the Prescott defeat, his first professional loss, and is now being guided by Freddie Roach.
Facing Barrera is a major gamble for Khan, coming just two fights after being flattened by Prescott, and he will be taking a significant step up in class.
Warren said: “This is a huge step up for Amir, who had some serious thoughts about it. The discussions over the fight finished at 4am on Thursday morning.
“It’s a big fight for Amir, who has been champing at the bit. This is the right fight for Amir at this stage of his career.
“I believe it will bring out the best in him. This puts him well and truly on the world stage.”
Speaking to BBC Sport, Khan said he was a fan of Barrera.
“I was a fan and I am a fan – but when you’re in the ring, you have no respect for any of your opponents, you go in and do a job,” he said.
Khan added he would seek advice from Naseem Hamed who lost to Barrera in 2001.
“I’m sure Naseem knows what mistakes he made and will tell me the mistakes that he doesn’t want me to make,” he said.
“Nas is a great guy so I’ll have a chat with him and see what he thinks.”