On the August 17th Darren Barker rose from a sixth round knockdown to snatch the IBF Middleweight World Title from Daniel Geale in an entertaining split decision.
Next up for Barker will be his mandatory, against former world champion Felix Sturm. Unless they agree to go to Germany and risk controversial hometown scoring, I think this is definitely a winnable fight for Barker.
I would justify this claim by pointing out that Sturm has displayed evidence of slowing down and a tendency to be outboxed in his recent fights. After this fight is where it could get interesting for British boxing fans, with Haye vs Fury this year we could be in for another British blockbuster next year. The question I am asking is who should Barker face? Martin Murray or Matthew Macklin?
When considering who would be the better option, there are a number of factors to take into account -
The fans have craved a Barker-Macklin matchup before, it was actually signed in 2010 for the European belt but Barker withdrew due to injury so it is long overdue. Plus add in Macklin’s come forward, fan friendly style and he edges this category. Whereas Martin Murray is the new boy of the three and doesn’t have this history with Barker. Macklin edges this category.
Macklin is more well known around the world than Murray at this time and he would bring higher PPV figures. Barker had his world title fight in the USA and if he wanted to further his exposure over there, then Macklin with his American promoter Lou DiBella would be capable of putting on a show in America.
It is a British blockbuster though so Eddie Hearn might want it in the UK and Martin Murray is growing in support after every fight so would bring solid PPV figures and Hatton Promotions would add a sparkle to it if it was in Manchester. Overall, I feel Macklin takes this category.
Deserving of title shot
This is a very tough category with Macklin and Murray both suffering controversial decisions in their previous world title attempts. In my opinion both men beat Felix Sturm and were very unfortunate to lose out in the given decisions. Although it can be argued Murray’s encounter was a lot closer to call, he certainly displayed admirable qualities in the fight against Sturm, something which he demonstrated even more so in a close loss to Sergio Martinez.
I feel that both encounters illustrate why he deserves another shot at the title. With regards to Macklin, any potential bout could be his last chance to claim glory after his devastating loss to Golovkin. There may be a sense of sentiment towards Macklin to see him have one last shot at glory but I feel that in this category Murray's past efforts outweigh any argument put against him.
I hope either of these fights take priority over a Geale rematch or even come after it, it would be a real boost for British boxing. From Barker’s side, a Macklin fight would generate more money and stylistically it’s a good matchup for Barker and the fans.
I do, however, see a Murray fight being more likely. Ricky Hatton has plotted a path for his prize fighter to the number one WBA ranking but a Golovkin fight won’t appeal to him, so this could be the best opportunity to win a world title
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