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Barker beats Geale

1823(Photo credit: Robert Epstein – Gary Shaw Productions) By Jose Muradas: The Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. was host to a tremendous night of boxing in the 160 middleweight division. Australian Daniel Geale(29-1, 15 KO’s) put his IBF title on the line vs. Londoner Darren Barker(25-1,16 KO’s) Geale who won the IBF title from Sebastian Sylvester in May of 2011 has made four successful defenses of the the title which included a unification bout for the WBA/IBF titles against Germany’s Felix Strum. Geale lost WBA title for failing to fight mandatory challenger Gennady Golovkin. He fought fellow countryman Anthony Mundine (44-4,26KO’s) and avenged his only loss of his career.

Barker entered the fight coming off wins against Kerry Hope (18-5,1KO), Simone Rotolo (35-4,15KO’s), and a spirited performance against WBC middleweight champ Sergio Martinez back in 2011 which resulted in an 11th round knockout loss.

The stage was set and both men came out at a hurried pace which would last throughout the fight. Barker took control early landing his right hand when Geale would bounce forward and also working Geale’s body to slow his early assault. After four rounds Barker had control with the occasional right hand landing for Geale. In the fifth and sixth rounds the tide started to turn and Geale was more precise with his punches,he seemed to be more controlled in his attack. In the sixth Geale landed a “sizzling body shot,” as described by HBO’s Jim Lampley. Barker went down on his knees and referee Eddie Cotton counted to nine as Barker somehow rose to his feet. Geale,tried to finish off the staggering Barker only to be met with a left hook that sent him against the ropes. Barker survived the round and Geale’s corner gave him instructions to go in for kill. Geale’s corner told him the Barker was fading, Barker was anything but faded. He began by beating Geale to the punch, landing his right hand and working the body as he did earlier in the fight.

Barker had taken rounds seven thru nine by out landing Geale. In the tenth,Barker landed a three punch combination to the body, Geale stopped and waved his gloves at Barker as if to say you didn’t hurt me. Barker obliged Geale by landing a right hand. In the eleventh, Barker continued to out land Geale and had another round in his favor. The twelfth and final round saw Geale hurt Barker with a combination, but Barker held on and sent the fight to the scorecards. Judge Andy Rubinstein saw it 114 -113 Geale, Judge Barbara Perez had it 116-112 Barker, and Judge Carlos Ortiz had it 114-113 Barker.

The judges had it right, It was a close fight. I don’t think it a 116-112 was warranted, but the judges did award the right man. It was no surprised that a man who had overcome the death of his brother, two hip surgeries, and a vicious beating at the hand of thugs would find the courage to rise from a blow that should have ended the fight. It’s just isn’t in Darren Barker to give up, he never has and last night in Atlantic City was no different.

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