Sources: Barrera signs five-year promotional deal with King
By Dan Rafael
Two months after severing ties with Golden Boy Promotions, former three-division world champion Marco Antonio Barrera has a new promoter: Don King.
Barrera, one of Mexico's all-time great fighters, signed a five-year promotional agreement last Tuesday night at King's Deerfield Beach, Fla., offices, according to two sources with knowledge of the deal, which has not been announced.
King, who was traveling back to the United States on Sunday from Germany, where he co-promoted Saturday's Nikolai Valuev-John Ruiz heavyweight title rematch, could not be reached for comment.
Barrera (63-6, 42 KOs), who signed with Golden Boy with much fanfare in 2003 and was made a partner in the firm, lost both of his fights last year to Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Many thought the losses meant the end of his career and the former junior lightweight, featherweight and junior featherweight world champion retired. But it didn't last. Not long after the loss to Pacquiao, Barrera said he would return. However, he was unhappy with Golden Boy's lack of attention to his career. In mid-July, Golden Boy released Barrera from his contract and they announced an amicable split.
"While I have a great respect for Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions, I have decided that I wanted to take a new path with respect to my boxing career," Barrera said at the time. "I am pleased that we will move forward as friends."
The new path led him to King, who made Barrera his first high-profile signing in quite some time.
When Barrera, 34, will debut under King's banner and against whom, has not been determined, although it is likely to come Nov. 7 in Chengdu, China, where King is promoting a card in conjunction with the annual WBC convention.
Barrera plans to move up to the lightweight division, where he has talked about his desire to win another world title. One of his goals has been to become the first Mexican to win titles in four divisions. He is tied with fierce rival Erik Morales and icon Julio Cesar Chavez with titles in three divisions.
King has opponents he can offer Barrera for an opportunity to achieve his goal next year. King could give him a shot at unified titleholder Nate Campbell if he defeats Joan Guzman in a mandatory defense on Sept. 13. A more likely option would be for King to match Barrera with Japan's Yusuke Kobori (23-2-1, 12 KOs), with whom he is involved. Kobori claimed a belt May 19 when he stopped Jose Alfaro in the third round in Tokyo. Kobori is slated to make a mandatory defense against Namibia's Paulus Moses, another King fighter, this fall, after which the winner would be waiting for Barrera.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.