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Khan easier than Hamed - Barrera

Barrera relying on vintage performance

Marco Antonio Barrera believes it will be "even easier" to beat Amir Khan than Naseem Hamed, who the Mexican legend outclassed in Las Vegas in 2001.

Former three-weight world champion Barrera, 35, faces Bolton lightweight Khan, 22, in Manchester on Saturday.

"I heard all the same talk about Hamed when I beat him," said Barrera.

"By the time I was Khan's age I had made six world title defences and beaten some greats. Everybody wants to beat me, but at the end I win."

Barrera is a former super-bantamweight, featherweight and super-featherweight world champion who has three wins over British fighters on his record.

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As well as his comprehensive defeat of Sheffield's Hamed, who fought only once more before retiring, Barrera stopped Liverpool's Richie Wenton in 1998 to claim the WBO super-bantamweight title before forcing Cheshire's Paul Lloyd to retire in his first defence at the Royal Albert Hall the following year.

Barrera added: "It has been 10 years since I fought in England but I took this fight with a young fighter in his home town because I believe that when I beat a guy in front of his own crowd, it's a double victory for me.

"I have a lot of respect for him. He is a young fighter, he has excellent hands and he's in great condition. But since I became a world champion, everyone has wanted to beat me, but only a couple could. So it's just the same deal every day."

Amir is a big 135-pounder. It's 22-year-old kid against 35-year-old veteran. We're going to knock Barrera out

Khan's trainer Freddie Roach

Barrera has been beaten six times in a career spanning almost 20 years and 71 fights, although by only four different men: American Junior Jones (twice), great rival Erik Morales, Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao (twice) and Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez.

However, Barrera has shown signs of wear and tear in recent years. He retired after being easily outpointed by Pacquiao in 2007, before engaging in two unconvincing comeback wins over journeymen opponents.

Khan, meanwhile, says he has spoken to former featherweight world champion Hamed about Barrera, as well as Pacquiao, who shares the same trainer in Freddie Roach.

And Roach, who has also trained Mike Tyson, Bernard Hopkins and Oscar de la Hoya, believes his man is meeting Barrera at the "perfect time".

"Barrera's best was at 122lb (super-bantamweight) and 126lb (featherweight)," said Roach. "Amir is a big 135-pounder. It's 22-year-old kid against 35-year-old veteran. We're going to knock Barrera out."

Khan has been beaten once in 20 fights, by Colombia's Breidis Prescott, who knocked the former Olympic silver medallist out in 54 seconds last September. The fight at Manchester's MEN Arena is effectively an eliminator for the WBO lightweight title.

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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