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Barker to face Felix Sturm next, then possibly Geale again

barker44By Scott Gilfoid: Newly crowned IBF middleweight champion Darren Barker (26-1, 16 KO’s) will have a tough first title defense of his IBF 160 lb. strap, because he’s got to face his mandatory challenger former WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm (38-3-2, 17 KO’s) next rather than a domestic fighter.

Barker defeated former IBF middleweight champion Daniel Geale (29-2, 15 KO’s) by a 12 round split decision last Saturday night at the Revel Resort, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA.

Barker’s promoter Eddie Hearn said this as quoted by ESPN “We’ve got the Sturm mandatory. We’re happy to make that fight with Sturm. We’ll look for that fight with Sturm, but then obviously, in the new year we’ll sit down with [Geale’s promoter] Gary Shaw…and we’ll talk about a rematch with Daniel Geale.”

Why fight Geale again? I don’t understand that move at all other than it’s a fight that Barker would have a chance to win again. The move is understandable when you realize that Barker’s #6 IBF contender is Curtis Stevens, and we could see pressure mounted on Hearn by HBO, if they decide to show Barker’s future fights, to face Stevens if he doesn’t look bad in his November 2nd fight against Gennady Golovkin. I think Stevens would destroy Barker, because unlike Geale, Stevens can actually punch hard, and if he had Barker on the canvas the way that Geale did in the 6th, he’d have finished him off in that round.

Oddly enough, Barker would have lost the fight had judge Carlos Ortiz given the 12th round to Geale, but Ortiz felt that Barker did the better work in the 12th. If you remember the 12th, that was the round where Geale had Barker hurt after nailing him with a big shot near the end of the round.

Barker was holding onto Geale for the last 30 second of the round much of the time, and clearly he had been hurt. How Ortiz could give that round to Barker is hard to understand.

The only thing I can think of is that Ortiz didn’t see how hurt Barker was, because it seemed painfully obvious that Barker had been buzzed by a hard right hand from Geale, and was just trying to survive the round from that point on.

Ortiz had the fight knotted up 104-104 going into the 12th round, and the fact that he gave the round to Barker instead of Geale like the other two judges had, it was the difference in the fight. Ortiz scored the fight 114-113 for Barker, while judge Barbara Perez gave it to Barker by a wide margin of 116-111, and judge Alan Rubenstein had it 114-113 for Geale.

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