Macklin set for St Patrick’s Day title shot

13 01 2012

Matthew Macklin will be hoping for the “luck of the Irish” as he attempts to dethrone middleweight king Sergio Martinez on March 17 at Madison Square Garden. 

Macklin set for title shot

It will be Macklin’s first outing since his controversial split decision loss to WBA champion Felix Sturm last summer.

But the Birmingham fighter, who has Irish heritage, will face an uphill battle to dethrone Sergio Martinez, who is considered by many to be number 3 on the mythical P4P list.

However this is another fantastic opportunity for Macklin who, in my eyes, beat Sturm and should be the WBA champion. It’s even more shocking that Macklin didn’t receive a rematch with Sturm, who struggled again in his draw to Martin Murray last December.

It’s going to be a tough ask for Macklin because Sergio is a fantastic boxer with a wide range of skills and a very unorthodox style.

But Macklin can take heart from Darren Barker’s performance against Martinez last October where he managed to take Martinez into the later rounds before ultimately being knocked out in the 11th.

Macklin will have to have a higher work rate than Barker did, who was sound enough defensively but didn’t really offer much by way of offense. He’ll have to keep a high intensity throughout the fight and try to cut off the ring, while keeping away from Martinez fast and hurtful combinations.

Middleweight King Sergio Martinez

Having said that I think Martinez wins this either way.

If Macklin comes and looks to trade; Martinez will win via a stoppage. If Macklin tries to box and pressure Martinez; Martinez may take it by points or even a late stoppage.

It’s a tough ask for Macklin but the fight is on St Patrick’s Day and you never know how the “luck of the Irish” will come into play.


Barker suffers late KO

3 10 2011

Darren Barker’s brave world title bid ended courtesy of an 11th round KO at the hands of Sergio Martinez.

Barker fails in title bid

Barker put up a valiant effort as he stifled Martinez attack and limited the champ to very few openings.

The champions’ power eventually told though as he landed a brilliant right hand that caused Barker to hit the canvas.

Barker proved a lot of people wrong by lasting as long as he did with Martinez and limiting the champ to very few attacks.

But Barker rarely troubled Martinez, despite giving the champ a bloody nose in the 4th.

Barker continued to work the bloody nose of Martinez in the 5th  but Martinez stepped it up a gear in the 6th and landed with some good combination work. Martinez began to show his class and finished the 7th and 9th round better.

The champ stepped it up a notch again in the 10th as he rocked Barker with two solid rights which caused Barker to return to his high shell guard to see out the round.

As Barker tried to open up in a bid to win the round in the 11th, Martinez landed that high right that caused Barkers’ knees to buckle and end the fight.

Barker walked Martinez down well enough, with his high shell defence working well. Yet it was his failure to really let his hands go when he had the chance that really put Barker at a disadvantage.

If you don’t throw punches, you don’t win fights.

Martinez, who wasn’t at his best, kept his hands low throughout the fight, almost goading Barker to trade with him. Had Barker done this, it is quite likely that he would have been KO’d earlier and this could be one of the reasons Barker was unwilling to let his hands go.

Barker by no means disgraced himself and should get himself a world title fight again; but he has to learn from this fight. He has a very good defence and a good boxing brain; but has to throw more punches.

On a side note; I can’t believe that Sky Sports Jim Watt had the fight (I believe) even going into the 11th round.

Yes Barker did well; but he wasn’t doing enough to win the rounds. In a championship fight, as the challenger, you have to WIN it. You have to be more active and really take the title from the champion, especially if your fighting away from home. I had Barker winning 2, possibly, 3 rounds. I do find it very odd how Jim Watt managed to score it the way he did; but we all look for different things in boxing.

Barker hoping for an upset

2 10 2011

Barker hoping to cause upset

‘Dazzling’ Darren Barker will be hoping to cause an almighty upset as he looks to dethrone middleweight king Sergio Martinez at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Barker faces an uphill task as he takes on a boxer many pundits, and myself included, consider number 3 on the pound-for-pound (P4P) list.

This is a massive step up in class for the likeable Barker, who has conquered the British, Commonwealth and European divisions. One thing is for sure, you cannot fault Barker one bit for what he has achieved.

The real question is; does he have what it takes on the elite stage?

Sadly I can’t see Barker taking the south-paws ‘The Ring’ World Middleweight title.

I like Barker. He’s a very good boxer, very textbook with his style. He possess a good jab, a good straight right, good temperament and he seems like a really down to earth guy.

I just don’t think he has enough speed or power to trouble Martinez.

I will be rooting for ‘Dazzling’ Darren and really hope he puts in a fantastic performance, whatever the result. He’s had quite a hard time in his personal life but he’s done fantastically well to come back and to win the European title in his comeback fight was a brilliant achievement.

Hopefully he puts on a good enough performance to impress the American’s over there to earn himself some further chances.

But I’m afraid Barker will follow in the footsteps of Mathew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes and Brian Magee.

A ‘heroic failure’ sort of performance is on the cards tonight.

Sweet Science UK prediction

As much as I like Darren, I don’t see him having the required power or speed to really trouble a focused Martinez.

Martinez does like to fight with his hands quite low when he’s out of range and Barker will have to try to take advantage of that. His best bet is to stick that jab all night and use his good straight right whenever possible. Barker does posses a decent left hook too and he’ll have to use that to counter Martinez as he comes in.

But sadly I think Martinez has too much power and speed to defeat Barker.

Martinez also possesses that rare one punch KO power (just ask Paul Williams) and Barker will have to be aware because Martinez can hurt you with either hand, particularly the left.

If Barker doesn’t freeze early on the big American stage (ala Calzaghe-Hopkins/Jones Jnr and Froch-Taylor) then I can see him taking Martinez into the later rounds.

If Martinez is unfocused then Barker does have a chance but his lack of power will seriously hurt his chances.

Martinez to win by KO late on.

See the weigh in below:

All the best Darren. I, for one, hope you prove me wrong.

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.