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This Saturday Britain’s Darren Barker will fight Argentinian Sergio Martinez for The Ring Middleweight Title. The match will take place at the Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, New Jersey U.S.A, so it is another late night for us Brits who want to watch the fight.

Martinez is coming off an impressive win over Sergiy Dzinziruk in which he retained his Ring Middleweight title and along with it collected the WBC diamond belt. HBO commentator Max Kellerman, who was at the fight, said:

“It is impossible to look good against Dzinziruk, but he (Martinez) looked excellent.”

Martinez put in a great performance, and him getting the seal of approval from Kellerman must have Darren Barker worried. In the fight, Martinez knocked Dzinziruk down five times before it was finally waved off by referee Arthur Mercante JR.

Barker on the other hand has never had a win half as impressive as Martinez’s last. However, he is unbeaten after 23 fights (14 by K’O), he is the current European belt holder at Middleweight and is ranked in the top 15 by IBO. In Barker’s last fight he won the EBU Middleweight title for the second time after it was first stripped from him due to a year long hip injury. He won it for the second time by taking a unanimous decision over Italy’s Domenico Spada. Barker looked impressive in the earlier rounds in this victory but spectators questioned his stamina as he seemed to tire in the later rounds.

Sergio Martinez v Darren Barker Prediction
If you look at various bookie's odds, 1/16 is given for Martinez to win and 9/1 for Barker. You don’t have to be a gambling addict to work out that Martinez is a favorite to win this fight. While I think Martinez will come out victorious, I also think it will be a lot closer than the bookmakers suggest.

Barker has never faced top ten middleweight opponent; the closest he has come is when he was scheduled to fight his rival Matthew Macklin on Frank Warren’s “Magnificent Seven” bill. It was not to be though - Barker had to pull out of the fight due to a reoccurrence of his hip injury.

Martinez is the bigger puncher of the two, whereas Barker has a questionable chin and, based on his last fight, bad stamina. Taking these three factors into account, I think Martinez will win the fight by a late round knockout. Despite his unanimous underdog status, Barker will be not far behind Martinez on the scorecards and will have his moments in the fight.

What’s next for the winner of Martinez v Barker?
It was announced earlier this month that Felix Strum will, for his next fight, defend his WBA belt against a Brit. Surprisingly it won’t be a rematch with Matthew Macklin, which most boxing fans thought would happen as their last fight had a controversial decision, and in the post-match press conference both Macklin and Strum looked interested in a rematch. Strum announced will fight Martin Murray on the 2nd of December later this year, putting an end to talk of a Macklin/Strum rematch.

Following his failed attempts to get a rematch, Macklin has said to be interested in fighting Martinez if ‘Maravilla’ successfully defends his belt against rival Darren Barker. On hearing this, Barker said he will be the one defending his newly won belt against Macklin. So it looks very likely that the winner of the Barker/Martinez bout will go onto to defend the ring title against Irish Matthew Macklin.

What Barker Should Have Done Instead of Fighting Martinez
I think there should have been a “Battle of Britain” fight between Barker and Macklin with the winner getting the EBU and British belts and also having a shot at another Middleweight titlist – Felix Sturm. Macklin has already fought Strum and in the opinion of many spectators that night (and also myself), Macklin was robbed and Strum got the hometown decision. Technically Macklin has already lost to Strum, but I think at another venue whoever the winner of Barker/Macklin is, Strum would get beat.

It would then make sense for the winner out of the Barker/Macklin Vs Strum to go into a title unification fight with Sergio Martinez. Not only would this fight have a much better build up because more belts are at stake, it would be viewed as a closer fight because whoever would face Martinez would have already beat one of the best in the division.

Regardless of whoever faced Martinez out of Barker, Macklin and Felix Strum, I think Martinez would beat them and become the unified Middleweight champion.

The Sergio Martinez v Darren Barker Fight on TV
The Darren Barker – Sergio Martinez is being broadcast on HBO (America), Sky Sports 1 (UK, starts 2AM), Australia Main Event, Hungary Sport 2 and Mexico Televisa.

Written by Jake Wallwork (@WallworkJake on Twitter)