Barker gunning for Martinez

30 03 2011

Darren Barker: Ambitious man

Darren Barker is an ambitious and confident man. Having his eyes set on middleweight king Sergio Martinez proves this.

Barker, who is attempting to recapture his European belt when he takes on Domenico Spada on April 30, believes he has what it takes to dethrone the man, who I believe, is the current pound-for-pound king.

Barker told Sky Sports:”I know some people might think I’m bonkers even saying his name in the same breath as mine, but I fancy I could cause a mad upset, I really do.

“He’s a class act, a top, top-level performer – but I’ve got a good knack with southpaws from my Repton days, and it’s got to end for him someday so why not to me?

I understand Barker is ambitious and wants to fight the best, which I really respect, especially in this day and age, but this is just a no-no for me. Barker is a fine domestic fighter but stepping up to fight someone like Martinez is going too far. Martinez is three or four levels above Barker and that is being kind.

I mean no disrespect to Barker in saying that either but Martinez is a phenomenal fighter. His one shot KO of Paul Williams proved that. People talk of Pacquiao and Mayweather as the number one’s in the mythical pound-for-pound rankings but to me Martinez is the number one boxer in the sport right now.

Of course is the fight was made it would be a great opportunity for Barker but one that I could only see end in defeat.

If I had any advice for Barker it would be to concentrate on winning back his European title and concentrate on getting into the top 10 and forget any talk of fighting Martinez.


Rocky blasts his way through

24 03 2011

Rocky Fielding: Prizefighter champ

Local lad Rocky Fielding was the surprise package as he won the super-middleweight Prizefighter in Liverpool tonight (Wednesday 23 March).

Fielding upset the odds as he blasted his way to the £32,000 prize fund by beating Tobias Webb in the final.

Fielding had to get past knock-out artist Patrick J Maxwell and Joe Ainscough before stopping Webb in the final and becomes the first man to win all his fights through stoppage. Webb, who had the harder route, beat former world champion Robin Reid and Jahmaine Smyle.

You could tell Webbs last fight (against Smyle) took it out of him and Fielding was very smart by attacking the body of his weary opponent. Webb just couldn’t handle it and dropped to his knees after Rocky landed a fantastic hook to the body with just 20 seconds left on the round one clock.

Webb was then saved by the bell after another knockdown, but his corner decided enough was enough.

This was the definitely the right call as Webb had nothing left to give and was really drained because of his two previous fights.

The first fight of the night saw knock-out artist Maxwell face off against Fielding. The first round began really scrappy, but Rocky took the centre of the ring and began trading with the big puncher. In the second round, Fielding again took the centre of the ring and landed some great shots, dropping Maxwell twice before the referee called a halt to the fight.

The second fight of the night was probably the most controversial as Ainscough beat Wayne Reed via split decision, despite Ainscough being dropped in the third. If I’m honest this was the worse fight of the night, with neither fighter displaying any real skill. Ainscough came out swinging wildly, displaying no defence while the cocky Reed wasn’t good enough (despite some of his earlier predictions) to exploit the obvious lack of defence from Ainscough. Even so, I thought Reed won the second and third rounds and was surprised as anyone to see Ainscough progress.

The third fight saw former world champ Reid take on Webb. Reid was disappointing in this fight, looking very sloppy and always looking to tie up when on the inside. I take nothing away from Webb who thoroughly deserved it, but Reid looked a shadow of his former self and should definitely stick to retirement.

In another shock, pre-tournament favourite Carl Dilks lost via a split decision to Smyle in the final quarter-final. Dilks looked as though he hadn’t recovered from the pounding DeGale gave him and despite winning the first round, was pressed back throughout the fight by the stronger Smyle. Smyle had Dilks rocking in the second but couldn’t finish the job but continued to press forward to take the split decision win.

The first semi-final saw Rocky blast past Ainscough in the first round. Despite knocking Ainscough down, the referee declared it wasn’t to be as he felt Rocky pushed Ainscough down but I’m still not sure. But Rocky wasn’t to be denied and continued to land some brutal shots, resulting in two cuts (one above the right eye and one between both eyes) which forced the referee to stop the fight in round one.

Webb came through another exhausting fight with Smyle but did enough to claim a unanimous points victory. Webb moved well throughout the fight and picked his shots well as Smyle continued to come forward time and time again, despite a cut on his mouth.

However the night belonged to local lad Rocky Fielding, who entered this tournament at short notice. He blasted his way through the tournament and was a deserved winner.

Prizefighter: Super-Middleweights Preview

23 03 2011

Prizefighter: Super Middleweight

It’s back again, the exciting knock out tournament returns tonight (Wednesday 23 March) and it’s the return of the Super-Middleweights.

Everyone should be familiar with the format by now but for those of you that don’t, the format consists of 8 fighters who will compete in four quarter-finals. There will be 3 rounds, each lasting 3 minutes. And of course the winners of the quarter-finals will then face off in the semi-finals, with the 2 winners of those facing each other in the final for £32,000.

So enough of that, lets introduce the 8 fighters.

Tobias Webb

The nephew of former WBO and WBU cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli. His record stands at (4-0-1) and Enzo has backed his nephew to win Prizefighter and go onto bigger and better things. Webb holds an impressive win over former Prizefighter champ, Patrick Mendy. The man from Swansea sure has his hands full in his first fight, which pits him against former world champion Robin Reid. And if he manages to get by him, he will have to face Carl Dilks in the semi’s, so it’s not going to be easy for the youngster.

Then we have Webbs’ first opponent;

Robin Reid

Easily the biggest name in the tournament, which could prove to be a burden. Reid is a former Olympic bronze medalist, but hasn’t fought in over 4 years since he lost to current world champion, Carl Froch. Reid is in great shape but after being out of the ring for so long, his sharpness and reflexes might not be there and this is surely just one final shot at glory for the former world champ.

Carl Dilks

Then we have tournament favourite, and my personal pick. You might remember Dilks from last December when he lost via a first round TKO to James DeGale. Now none of the fighters in this tournament are anywhere near the calibre of DeGale and Dilks, who has previous experience of the Prizefighter format, could well see himself in the final so long as he is focussed and doesn’t freeze.

His opponent will be;

Jahmaine Smyle

His record stands at (3-1-1) and is considered one of the bigger punchers in this tournament, which is always handy. His only loss has come against fellow Prizefighter competitor Wayne Reed and will surely be looking for revenge. Sadly I don’t think Smyle will get the chance to avenge his defeat because I don’t think he has the required skills to get past Dilks. But he definitely has the punchers chance, so watch this space.

Joe Ainscough

Now this guy has some story. Following a promising start to his career 2 years ago, Ainscough was stabbed twice from behind after he tried to intervene in a disturbance outside a pub in Liverpool. Doctors told the boxer he would never step foot in the ring again, but 2 years on, and following Adrian Dodson dropping out of the competition, Ainscough has the shot at a fairytale ending.

His first opponent will be;

Wayne Reed

He already boasts a victory over Jahmaine Smyle. His current record stands at (5-1) and isn’t really expected to make an impact in this tournament but if he can get the better of Ainscough, his side of the draw is quite favourable and with a bit of luck, he could find himself in the final.

Patrick J Maxwell

Boasts 11 KO’s in 16 wins and is definitely “the puncher” of the tournament. Most of Maxwell’s opponents have been journeymen and a quality operator could seriously trouble him. But with that sort of KO record you wouldn’t back against him but he faces a tall order (literally) against his opponent;

Rocky Fielding

He has only had 3 fights (all ending in a win) and boasts a superior height advantage over Maxwell, which he will have to use to his advantage if he is to progress.

Click Part 1 and Part 2 to see the preview of Prizefighter: Super-Middleweight “The Last Man Standing”.

Don’t forget to tune into Sky Sports 1 at 8pm for the tournament and be sure to check back on the site for a round-up of the nights action.

Comment below on who you believe will win this Prizefighter tournament.

Vitali on standby

21 03 2011

Vitali could step in

The Klitschko brothers are at it again as Vitali Klitschko is on standby to take over from David Haye if younger brother Wladimir is ruled out.

The Klitschko brothers are known for being master match-makers and coming up with these unbelievable contracts where the ball is always in their court.

Now some of you might believe it is their choice and right as they are the champions but if Haye has to sign a contract with Wladimir that states if he is unable to make the fight and Vitali can step in, then the boxing world has really gone to cloud cuckoo land.

The contract that was drawn up for fellow Brit challenger Derek Chisora was laughable enough (if he beat Wladimir, he would have to fight Vitali in his second fight and give Wladimir a re-match) but this really would take the biscuit.

Personally I think that Haye should fight either one of them, his legacy wouldn’t be secure as a heavyweight without either fight. He would just be known as the man who beat up on Audley Harrison for a round.

I believe that if Haye signs a contract to fight Wladimir and then for some odd reason Wladimir cannot make the fight, then he should be stripped of his title. He pulled out of two proposed fights with Derek Chisora and hasn’t fought, let alone defended his title since he beat Samuel Peter back in September of last year (which again was a joke of a fight).

Then there should be a separate contract drawn up for Haye-Vitali. But we all know that Haye will have to sign the contract for Wladimir stating that Vitali can step in if he is injured because Haye needs this fight. Don’t get me wrong, the Klitschkos’ need it too but Haye more so.

He was the one that was supposed to light up the heavyweight division, bringing back the glamour. Heck, Golden Boy Promotions are even behind him. But the sad thing is, and something people seem to forget is, Haye says he’ll retire by his 31st birthday.

So even if he does unify the division, once Haye turns 31 the belts will go right back to the Klitschkos’ and the division will be back to normal.

The contracts have yet to be signed, with talks between managers Adam Booth and Bernd Boente, so there will be plenty of twists and turns left in this tale. That is one thing I’m certain of.

Keep checking back for the latest information regarding this heavyweight clash.

Have your say below.

Magee KO’d

20 03 2011

Magee: KO'd in 10th

Brian Magee dreams of bringing home a world title were dashed last night in the battle of the southpaws.

After the first five rounds, which were surprisingly even, Lucian Bute showed he is a level above Magee by dropping him in the sixth and seventh before stopping him in the 10th.

So in the end I was pretty close with my prediction but Magee did well to make it to the 10th round. He was put down in the sixth with a sharp left to the body and Magee did well to recover, only be dropped by the same punch again in the seventh. The crowd, and those watching, could sense that the KO was close.

And it came in the 10th (three rounds later than I predicted) as Bute landed with a blow to the head that dropped the Northern Irishmen to his knees, giving the referee no choice but to stop the fight.

In all honesty the result was never in doubt and it was only a matter of time before Bute’s class told, but Magee should take heart from his performance but I stand by my opinion; this sort of level is just beyond Magee.

He is a fine European level champion but the world-class level is out of his reach I’m afraid.

Below is the footage of Magee being KO’d (couldn’t find the English commentary version):

In other British boxing news, Willie Casey was destroyed in the first round by WBA super-bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Casey was dropped three times by the fleet-footed champ before the fight was finally waved off. The gulf in class was evident from the start and even though I expected a KO win for Rigondeaux, I didn’t see it coming in the first round.

Below is the footage of Rigondeaux KO of Casey:

Chance of a lifetime for Magee

19 03 2011

Magee: Massive chance

Brian Magee has the opportunity of a lifetime as he goes for Lucian Butes’ IBF Super-Middleweight title tonight in Montreal.

Magee, who holds the European super-middleweight title, will attempt to defeat the highly rated Bute as he tries to bring a world title back to Northern Ireland.

The super-middleweight division is looking quite hot right now with the likes of Carl Froch and Andre Ward holding WBC and WBA titles respectively. Bute, to me, stands alongside them as the divisions best and I can see nothing but a KO victory for hard-hitting Canadian.

No disrespect to Magee, who is a fine champion in his own right, but this sort of level is just a level too high I’m afraid and I believe Magee will be exposed inside 7 rounds.

Magee will have to show plenty of heart and determination to get anything from this fight and if he is to bring back the world title, he’ll have to do it via KO. There is no way the Canadian judges will let him leave with the title if it comes down to the cards, just ask Bernard Hopkins.

But, as I said earlier, I think Bute will win via KO and then hopefully fight the winner of the Super Six in a unification bout, which hopefully will mean a fight with Nottingham’s own Carl Froch.

Who knows, by the end of this year Britain could have its fair share of undisputed world champions if everything goes to plan.

The future is definitely looking bright for British boxing.


DeGale and Groves: War of words

18 03 2011

DeGale v Groves: Bad blood

James DeGale and George Groves met on Sky Sports Ringside last night to discuss their upcoming fight.

After watching these two go at it, I can’t wait for the May 21st showdown. You can literally feel the animosity between the two and I can see this ending in a KO for someone, with my money leaning towards DeGale at this stage.

I must admit, even though I am a DeGale fan his antics on Ringside left me feeling a bit annoyed. DeGale came across as childish, while Groves seemed very focussed and much more grown up.

But it did remind me of the build up between Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton with Mayweather boasting and bragging while Hatton remained calm and collected throughout.

And we all remember what happened with that fight.

Watch the segment from Ringside below:

Simple question for boxing fans; Who are YOU picking? vote in the boxing poll selection or feel free to leave comments.