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Sergio Martinez scored an eleventh round knockout last night over Darren Barker, the challenger to Martinez' WBC Diamond Middleweight World Title Belt. A Martinez-favouring crowd in Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, watched the two men give everything in a fight that really was a tale of two halves.

Barker, 29, went into the fight with Martinez as the underdog, with the best odds on him winning set at 26/1. Boxing fans and boxing media beforehand predicted an early knockout for reigning champion Martinez, so it came as a surprise when Barker turned this into a close fight.


Darren Barker Takes the Fight to Sergio Martinez
Martinez took the first round in a controlled, but relatively inactive opening three minutes. The second round was closer to call, with Barker and Martinez still sizing each other up. Things opened in the third, and from nowhere Barker took control of the fight. For the next few rounds he looked both dominant and disciplined, breaking Martinez' nose with a clean punch and backing the Argentinian into the ropes.

There was talk of an upset among the boxing commentators and boxing fans, but it was not to be. Martinez used his experienced and rallied, breaking through Barker's defence and taking advantage of the Brit's failing concentration. The fight started to turn against Barker, and in the eleventh round Martinez landed one head shot too many. Darren Barker dropped to the floor from a Martinez right hand and was unable to beat the count. Sergio Martinez keeps his WBC Diamond Middleweight Title and stays in the pound for pound lists.