Darren Barker vs Simone Rotolo Preview March 9
European Middleweight Champion Darren Barker of England will be taking on Simone Rotolo of Italy at Wembley Arena in London on Saturday March 9. The 30-year-old Barker will enter the ring with a record of 24-1 with 15 Kos while his 37-year-old challenger has a mark of 35-3, with 15 Kos. This bout will also be for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental Middleweight Championship. This bout was scheduled for last September, but Barker had to pull out of it due to an arm injury.
The 30-year-old Barker was planning on landing a fight with either Andy Lee of Ireland or fellow Briton Matthew Macklin, but had to settle for a bout against Rotolo to remain active. His last bout was a fourth-round stoppage over Kerry Hope in December. It’s believed that WBA middleweight king Gennady Golovkin was willing to give Barker a shot as his title, but Barker’s management team feels it’s too big of a risk at this moment even though it would give Barker another crack at a world crown.
He failed in his first attempt when he took on WBC Champion Sergio Martinez of Argentina and was stopped in the 11th round back in October of 2011. His only fight since that loss in America was the win against Hope. He may actually be stepping down a little bit in class from Hope to Rotolo, who hasn’t really faced anybody that could be called an elite boxer since he fought his first professional bout in 1999. He’s fought Hamlet Petrosyan and Sebastian Sylvester and was beaten by both of them.
However, he’s been on quite a decent hot streak since 2007 when he lost a split decision to Sylvester, who’s a former world champion. Rotolo’s won eight bouts in a row, albeit it against Grade B opposition. His last contest was a 10-roound unanimous decision over Lorenzo Cosseddu. We’ve seen lower grade opposition step up before though when take on a tougher challenge, so Barker will have to take Rotolo seriously.
Barker said he won’t be taking his opponent lightly because he’s got a lot of experience and knows what he’s doing in the ring. He said he’s watched him fight and is looking forward to getting another win under his belt. Barker added that he’s in terrific shape after holding his training camp in Spain. Barker turned pro back in 2004 and has faced some pretty good opponents over the years and has the edge in the experience department.
He’s not really a hard hitter and neither is Rotolo, so there’s a good chance this fight could go the distance. Rotolo was stopped in the fourth round in 2004 by Petrosyan and was also stopped two years earlier in the ninth round by Malik Cherchari, so his chin is certainly a little suspect. However, he fought well against Sylvester and came close to becoming the European champion against him.
Barker’s a good boxer who really needs to step up in class if he hopes to improve and get a shot at a world title. He’s not really doing that against Rotolo, but it’s better than getting rusty waiting in the wings. He should be able to stop Rotolo late in the fight or take a unanimous decision.