It’s sometimes hard to predict a mismatch in boxing. Any so-called expert can say a fight was going to be a mismatch when it’s over, but nobody knows what’s going to happen once the bell rings. If fights were so easy to predict, millions of people would have cleaned up at the sportsbooks when 40/1 underdog Buster Douglas knocked Mike Tyson into next week back in 1990 or when Leon Spinks outpointed Muhammad Ali in 1978.
But a lot of people are crying mismatch over the Oct. 1st bout between 36-year-old WBC Middleweight Diamond Champion Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) of Argentina and England’s Darren Barker at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. On paper, that might seem a little odd as the 29-year-old Barker is the undefeated European and Commonwealth Champion with a record of 23-0 with 14 Kos.
While Barker has an exceptional record, he’s virtually an unknown in America and in parts of his native Britain. This will be his first fight in the US and many think it will also be his last unless he pulls off an upset or puts up a hell of a fight in a losing cause. It’s hard to argue that Barker is a boxing star by looking at his list of unknown opponents.
He won the Commonwealth middleweight belt by beating Ben Crampton back in 2007 and added the British title two years later with a seventh-round stoppage over Danny Butler. If you’re asking who Crampton and Butler are you’re not the only ones. He then won the European championship in 2010 and defended it in April.
Barker also has a reach and height advantage over the southpaw Martinez, but as the 6-foot-1 Paul Williams found out when Martinez savagely knocked him out in the second round in November, that doesn’t mean much.
Martinez is a bit different from most boxers as he didn’t really bloom until late in his career. A lot of fighters have already retired by the time they’re 36, but the champion seems to be improving with each fight. He’s got terrific power, fast hands, and excellent foot movement. He’s also a pretty classy guy and he said he respects Barker quite a bit for coming all the way to America to take him on.
The two have been praising each other in press conferences instead of engaging in trash talk, but it’ll be all business once the bell rings to start the fight. Barker will likely be wary of Martinez’s power and will try to keep his distance with his jab. He’s going to have to open up sometime though and that’s when he’ll probably be caught by a counterpunch.
Look for Barker to show a lot of heart and courage, but also look for Martinez to eventually stop him anytime after the fourth round.