Barker faces Sturm on December 7th in Germany
By Scott Gilfoid: IBF middleweight champion Darren Barker (26-1, 16 KO’s) will be making his first, and perhaps his last title defense on December 7th against former WBA 160 lb. champion Felix Sturm (38-3-2, 17 KO’s) at the Porsche Arena, in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
One of the questions that Barker’s British fans are asking is why did Barker’s promoter Eddie Hearn choose to have Barker defend his title in Sturm’s adopted country of Germany rather than the UK. It’s pretty simple. Sturm is a huge draw in Germany, and a fight between him and Barker will bring in a guaranteed huge gait over there.
Unfortunately, Barker isn’t a huge star in the UK, and it’s doubtful that a fight between Barker and Sturm would have many anywhere close to the same kind of money that it will in Germany.
If Hearn tried to stick it in one of the large arenas, it likely would have been a disaster with a small crowd showing up to see Barker and Sturm fight. Hearn could have went to purse bids and maybe even won it, but that would have meant that he would have had to open his pockets in a big way.
I doubt that the British turnout would have been enough to justify Hearn paying big money to get the fight in the UK. I mean, this isn’t Carl Froch we’re talking about with Barker. He’s not as popular as Froch, and at 31, I don’t see Barker getting to where Froch is in terms of being a huge draw.
Hearn is angling to get a rematch clause in the contract in case Barker loses, which is pretty likely given the location of the fight. Hearn wants to have the rematch take place in the UK.
Hearn said to Sky Sports “Felix is the fight we want both financially and from a legacy perspective and once we were able to introduce our demands, which included a potential second fight in the UK and neutral officials, then this was an opportunity Darren could not turn down.”
If Barker gets beaten by Sturm, he’ll still have to wait awhile before he gets a rematch with Sturm, because he’d have the option to make a defense against another opponent before he faces Barker again.
Sturm could choose to fight a unification opponent or even pick one of the bottom dwellers to fight in the division to pad his record and get a nice little payday without any risk at all. It would be up to Sturm, and Barker would have to sit around and lick his wounds while waiting for the rematch.
If Barker does beat Sturm on December 7th, then you can expect to see Barker fight 2-3 optional title defenses against the likes of Martin Murray, Andy Lee and Matthew Macklin. In other words, Barker will likely dine on UK fighters for domestic consumption before he’s forced to defend his title against someone like Sam Soliman or Daniel Geale. It doesn’t really matter.
The International Boxing Federation has some pretty mickey mouse rankings if you ask me. They’ve got the best guy, Bryan Vera, ranked #14. With Vera ranked that far down, Barker won’t have to worry about fighting anyone good for a long, long time. That’s not to say he’s going to hold onto his title for ages, because I don’t think he will.
Barker is pretty mediocre and he should have lost his last fight to Geale if Geale had the sense to keep throwing body punches after he dropped Barker with a hard body shot in the 6th.
It’s like Geale had no memory of what he had just done because he stopped throwing body shots completely after that, and gave away the fight. I still think he won the fight, but he messed up his chances to take the judges out of the equation by knocking Barker out.
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