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Khan and Barrera meet in crossroads fight!

On Saturday afternoon, from the MEN Arena in Manchester England, British lightweight contender Amir Khan will square off with ring legend and former three division champion Marco Antonio Barrera.

Khan, who won a silver medal in the lightweight division at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, was considered an emerging British phenomenon on the rise to super stardom, touted by many as the second coming of Prince Naseem Hamed.

Wins over the likes of Gary St. Clair and Michael Gomez contributed to the padding of Khan's undefeated professional record, and there were those in the British isles who believed that Khan's rise to prominence was inevitable, but the general boxing public was still waiting for Khan to make a significant splash against a legitimate top contender.

Some observers were anxious, even as recently as a year ago, to see Khan against the like's of Juan Manuel Marquez, Joel Casamayor, and Juan Diaz. Undefeated as a professional, Khan met fellow undefeated lightweight Breidis Prescott of Columbia on September 6, 2008. In the eyes of fans and experts, following the embarrassing 54 second KO loss to Prescott, Khan had been reduced from being Great Britain's most promising young superstar in the making to boxing's latest hype job.

Many felt they had seen the last of Barrera, following his retirement after his second loss to Manny Pacquiao in October of 2007, but rarely do boxers who ever reach Barrera's level of success and acclaim stay retired without making a comeback. Throughout his career, Barrera has posted wins over the likes of Kennedy McKinney, Erik Morales, Kevin Kelley, Johnny Tapia, and Hamed just to name a few.

Taking into account as impressive of a resume as Barrera has, one would declare that he has established quite a legacy for himself in the sport of boxing. Khan, 29, has much more to prove going into this fight than does his opponent who is one of Mexico's finest champions of recent memory. Barrera is making one last stand in a career that probably should have been permanently complete following the loss to Pacquiao in 2007. Khan is still rebounding from the knockout loss to Prescott and feels that a win over Barrera will elevate him to lightweight title contention or at least a big payday.

Barrera's losses to Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao are more excusable, as they pertain to his standing in all-time history, than they were a couple of years ago, as Marquez and Pacquiao are arguably the two best pound for pound fighters in the world today. Pacquiao went out of his natural weight element to dominate and stop Oscar De la hoya in a welterweight fight, while Marquez has now scored two consecutive knock out wins over Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz. Therefore, Barrera may not be as finished or over the hill as we once thought.

Given the fact that Khan is a fragile-chinned, relatively recent first round knockout victim who still remains unproven, coupled with Barrera's incomparable professional experience against top flight opposition, I am inclined to pick the old warrior in this one - probably by decision, but a stoppage win would not surprise me at all.

Khan vs. Barrera can be seen live on PPV, distributed by Integrated Sports, on Saturday, March 14 at 4pm E/T 1PM P/T.

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