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Barrera to Golden Boy?

Featherweight agrees to join De La Hoya's promotional arm, but it's not that simple.

June 20, 2003|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

Featherweight Marco Antonio Barrera has an agreement in principle to join forces with Oscar De La Hoya, a significant union of two of boxing's most powerful figures.

"We have formed a partnership with Golden Boy Promotions," said Barrera, referring to De La Hoya's promotional organization.

It's not as simple as that because Barrera is still in the midst of legal proceedings to break away from his previous promoter, John Jackson of Forum Boxing, and his previous manager, Ricardo Maldonado. Barrera has gone to federal court to break his agreements with Jackson and Maldonado, claiming those agreements don't comply with federal and state law.

Barrera has also complained that Jackson and Maldonado did not keep him informed about ongoing negotiations for a third fight against Erik Morales.

"It wasn't so much that it was Oscar De La Hoya," Barrera said of the move. "I just wanted to be a free agent, free with my contract. We have to experiment with different things in order to know that everything has a beginning and an end."

How can Barrera enter into an agreement with Golden Boy while his previous legal ties are still being contested?

"I have a good lawyer," Barrera said.

Golden Boy officials had no comment, but Barrera was available to the media upon his arrival Thursday night at the Olympic Auditorium for a Golden Boy show.

In existence for only 18 months, Golden Boy Promotions will stage 50 fight shows this year, 25 of those televised.

Golden Boy has signed a stable of fighters, but none as significant as Barrera, considered the best featherweight in the world, even though he has shown no interest in competing for the title of one of the three major sanctioning bodies.

Owner of a 57-4 record with 40 knockouts and victories over Naseem Hamed, Johnny Tapia and Jesus Salud, Barrera also had a memorable fight at the Forum in 1996 against Kennedy McKinney. That fight included six knockdowns, McKinney going down on five occasions before the match was stopped in the 12th round.

Barrera has also had two classic battles with Morales, each fighter winning a controversial decision. Barrera says talks will continue for a third fight, with Staples Center involved as a possible site.

"I want the same thing as [Morales]," Barrera said, "but right now, it is very difficult because of my legal issues."

Negotiations for Barrera-Morales III should get interesting, because Morales is promoted by Bob Arum, who also promotes De La Hoya.

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Staff Writer Paul Gutierrez contributed to this report.

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