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Chavez Jr. targeting Barker for 6/22 fight on Mexico

Darren Barker Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.By Scott Gilfoid: With limited options for his next fight on June 22nd in Mexico, former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32 KO’s) is kicking around the idea of fighting British middleweight Darren Barker (25-1, 16 KO’s). Chavez Jr. likes Barker’s talent and sees him as a top level fighter that he’d be interested in facing in his tune-up fight to get him ready for a much more important rematch with WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez later on this year.

Barker himself is making a comeback of sorts after having injured his hip a year ago. Barker has fought twice since the injury healed against weak opposition. This will be a big step up for Barker if he gets selected for the fight.

Chavez Jr. may not be a highly skilled fighter at 160, but he’s a cruiserweight sized fighter that somehow is still able to melt down to 160 to fight at middleweight. I expect Chavez Jr. to win this fight on his size advantage alone to get a knockout.

Irish fighter Andy Lee was stopped last year by Chavez Jr. in a 7th round stoppage in El Paso, Texas. Lee didn’t have the mobility to stay out of range of the much heavier Chavez Jr. and he eventually got trapped against the ropes and blasted out. I see the same thing happening with Barker, who doesn’t move well around the ring. Barker is one of those stiff fighters that likes to fight on the outside, but who can’t move to avoid guys that can cut off the ring on him.

Chavez Jr. says he was thinking of facing Brian Vera or Matthew Macklin, but he’s ruled them out as potential opponents for one reason or another. Chavez Jr. says he has some other guys in mind for his June 22nd fight as well, but currently Barker is at the No. 1 position at this time.

It could be that he’s considered the most affordable guy with the kind of style that Chavez Jr. can do well against. It’s no secret that Barker has no real inside fighting skills to speak of, and Chavez Jr. can definitely exploit a guy like Barker in a big way, especially if Barker doesn’t have the sense to move around to keep from getting knocked out.

If Barker had a set of wheels he might give Chavez Jr. some problems in this fight, but unfortunately Barker is too stiff on his feet and he moves like he’s got rusty joints in his knees and hips. To beat a fighter as huge as the 190 pound Chavez Jr., Barker is going to have to become mobile overnight.

Maybe if he can get Andre Dirrell to spar with him for the training camp, Barker can copy some of the things that Dirrell uses to move around the ring and use that against Chavez Jr. But I don’t think it’s possible because it seems like a physical thing rather than Barker not having the training to move around the ring. You either have good foot speed or you don’t. Barker fights like he’s got his feet stuck in a bunch of quick drying cement, and can’t break loose.

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