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Page last updated at 21:08 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 22:08 UK

Arthur handed Barrera incentive

Alex Arthur during his win over Stephen Foster Junior
Arthur was unconvincing in his last fight with Stephen Foster Junior

Alex Arthur could land a mouth-watering bout with Mexican superstar Marco Antonio Barrera, if he sees off the challenge of Nicky Cook on Saturday.

He defends his WBO superfeatherweight title in Manchester aiming to cement the status he was given when Joan Guzman moved up to lightweight.

"Alex has a big carrot in front of him," said promoter Frank Warren.

"If he does win this fight, I am going to do my best to bring Barrera over and I will try and bring it to Scotland."

Warren believes Arthur may have reached the world title stage before now if he had teamed up earlier with former WBC bantamweight champion Wayne McCullough as his trainer.

However, he insists there is still a long career ahead for the 30-year-old Edinburgh boxer, whose only blemish in his record is a defeat to Michael Gomez in October 2003.

"Alex started off his career very well and then I think there was a problem with trainers," added Warren.

Alex is struggling at the weight. He says he has done the weight okay but a boxer doesn't tell you if he is struggling

Michael Gomez

"I'm pleased that he has settled down with Wayne.

"He always wanted him to train him but Wayne had his own boxing commitments in the last few years.

"But the best thing that happened to Alex was when he got beaten by Gomez. That was a big learning curve for him.

"It made him re-think what he had to do and it stood him in good stead.

"He didn't turn world champion until he was 29 but there is no disgrace in that. He still has a lot of boxing left in him."

Still officially only interim champion in December, Arthur was taken the distance by the unfancied Stephen Foster Junior and Warren is warning against another sloppy display.

"Nicky is no pushover and Alex can't afford to be complacent as he was against Stephen Foster Junior in his last fight," he said.

"He was very complacent and he was also complacent against Michael Gomez.

DEBATE
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs

"He should have won that fight but he was playing up to the crowd.

"But training has gone well for this fight and he is very focused."

Earlier this week, Arthur, who weighed-in at exactly nine stone, four pounds - half-a-pound heavier than challenger Cook, said: "Mentally, I've prepared for the hardest fight of my life."

Londoner Cook will be having a second tilt at a world title after last summer's unsuccessful bid to dethrone WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano.

And the challenger will be buoyed by Gomez's assessment of Arthur as "one of the weakest world champions" in boxing.

Gomez stopped Arthur after five brutal rounds at Edinburgh's Meadowbank Arena five years ago and he said: "Wayne is a great trainer but Alex hasn't improved since I fought him.

"In the fight after I beat him, he kept his hands up but in his last fight against Stephen Foster Junior, he had gone back to doing the exact same thing, dropping his hands.

"Alex is struggling at the weight. He says he has done the weight okay but a boxer doesn't tell you if he is struggling.

"I fancy him to do it in the seventh or eighth but it all depends how he has done the weight."



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