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Sergio Martinez must respect Barker

By Joe Unsworth: Sergio Martinez, ranked as the 2nd best fighter on the planet according to the current pound for pound rankings, has his next bout penciled in on the 1st October against UK fighter Darren Barker at Boardwalk Hall, New Jersey.

Many see this fight as a one for Martinez to keep busy until Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito are free to face him. I disagree; Darren Barker must not be overlooked. Yes, he is a big underdog going into the bout no doubt, but Barker definitely has the skills to give Martinez a real challenge.

Barker has been through a lot in his career, having to come through personal tragedy with the loss of his younger brother leading to him taking a break from the sport, to serious injuries reoccurring which halted his career also.

Barker is a two time European champion after regaining the belt last April against Italy’s Domenico Spada in a unanimous decision in which Barker was the better fighter throughout and he was still not at his best as he admitted himself after the bout. Domenico Spada was no pushover with a record of 32 wins and only 3 losses, yet Barker simply out-boxed him easily and looked very impressive in certain stages of the fight, especially as it was his first fight back after another year absence because of injury.

This is a massive step up in class with Martinez, but I believe that Barker can give Martinez a real challenge and it would be a very poor decision from the 2nd best fighter on the planet to overlook him. Most will not give Barker any chance of causing an upset, but do not look past him; ‘dazzling’ Darren Barker may just cause a big, big upset.

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