The Reuters global sports blog
Two-way gamble as fragile Khan takes on Barrera
A wonderful clash of styles between the wily, tough veteran and the speed and power of youth is on the cards when Britain’s Amir Khan faces Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera in Manchester, with the winner being thrown into Lightweight World title contention.
The young Brit, who suffered a crushing defeat inside a minute at the heavy hands of Colombian Breidis Prescott is taking a huge gamble by stepping into a ring with a future Hall of Famer in 35-year-old Barrera.
As quick as his hand speed has been in his 19 wins, Khan appears fragile in dealing with blows to the chest and jaw.
Even before the Prescott defeat, too many poor fighters have rattled Khan and despite the work trainer Freddy Roach has done on the Olympic silver medallist’s defence you can’t fix a bad chin.
Barrera is gambling too, mind you.
Coupled with the fact that Barrera has fought for most of his career at a lower weight, he is risking a lot and that adds to the intrigue behind this fight.
Even the bookmakers are struggling to call it. There has been a lot of money placed on the Mexican, an 11/10 shot, even though Khan is the slight favourite quoted at 4/6 with Ladbrokes this week.
For me, though, the fact that two fights ago Barrera was slugging it out over 12 rounds with the current pound-for pound champion in Manny Pacquiao and Khan was on his back against Prescott after just one, makes the seven-times world champion my favourite.
Khan, as talented as he is, just hasn’t been in with a fighter of Barrera’s class and like Bernard Hopkins (against Kelly Pavlik) and Nate Campbell (against Juan Diaz) in 2008 I can see experience proving too much for youth once more.
PHOTO (UPPER): Amir Khan punches during a media workout session at his gym in Bolton, northern England, March 6, 2009. REUTERS/Phil Noble
PHOTO: Mexican Boxer Marco Antonio Barrera poses for photographers during a media session at Shannons gym in Manchester, March 11, 2009. REUTERS/Phil Noble