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Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Barrera motivated for Khan fight

By Ben Dirs

Marco Antonio Barrera
Barrera has won 65 of his 72 pro fights

Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera says he will not be a "stepping stone" for Amir Khan when the two meet at Manchester's MEN Arena on 14 March.

Former three-weight world champion Barrera, 35, added that Bolton lightweight Khan, 22, "makes mistakes" and has a "questionable chin".

"He is another British fighter who will be on my list," said Barrera, who beat Sheffield's Naseem Hamed in 2001.

"I'm not coming to be a stepping stone, I'm coming to win the fight."

There had been concerns that the fight was in jeopardy after Barrera suffered a cut in a warm-up contest against Freudis Rojas on Saturday.

But Barrera, who has 65 wins and 43 knockouts from 72 fights, has undergone a thorough medical examination and been given the all clear for the bout, which is expected to be a 22,000 sell-out.

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"Things happen, I got cut, it's no big deal," said Barrera in a conference call. "Amir Khan shouldn't be worried about any cut, he should be worried about Marco Antonio Barrera. I'm coming to get him.

"I want to make it clear I am still a contender. This fight will get me into the bigger fights. I just have to show up and win this fight and then I will get to those bigger fights again."

Khan's promoter Frank Warren said he was confident his charge would prevail, before going on to challenge for a world title, possibly in his next fight.

"You've got the new kid on the block against the legend, but I've got absolute faith in my warrior," said Warren.

"Amir's got all the tools to go on and be a legend in boxing. I believe in him and I put my money where my mouth is. He's going to be the future of British boxing and the future of world boxing."

I will be in the best shape of my life come fight night

Amir Khan

Unsurprisingly, Barrera's promoter Don King disagreed: "Marco Antonio is like the Hispanic fighters of yesteryear, people who fought for the lumpen proletariat.

"He's coming with vigour, spirit and grit. He's going to kick ass on Amir Khan. The cut was no more than a pimple. This is going to be war."

Khan, who is training at Freddie Roach's gym in Los Angeles, said he was pleased the fight date had not been moved.

"It was a worrying few days but it's great news to hear that it's still on the original date," he said.

"I was never worried that the fight wouldn't happen, at the worst it would have been delayed by a couple of weeks, but now my team are all geared up and ready for 14 March.

"My training camp is going absolutely fantastic and I will be in the best shape of my life come fight night."

Also on the bill at the MEN Arena, Nicky Cook defends his WBO super-featherweight title against unbeaten Puerto Rican Roman Martinez while Enzo Maccarinelli fights Argentine Victor Ramirez.

see also
Can Barrera turn back time?
16 Jan 09 |  Boxing
Khan knocked out in first round
06 Sep 08 |  Boxing
Barrera suffers shock defeat
16 Nov 03 |  Boxing
Barrera drains Hamed's colour
08 Apr 01 |  Boxing


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