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Darren Barker: Julio Cesar Chavez JR in Crosshairs – Boxing News

By Donald C. Stewart

If you didn’t know him by the time he got in the ring with Sergio Martinez 48-2-2, 27 KO’s, then his name will be mentioned more often after he came out of the ring with his pride intact. Although the gallant Brit Darren Barker 23-1, 14 KO’s, didn’t manage to wrestle the belt from Martinez’ grasp he was able to gather some admirers and upon his return to the UK, promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed through Sky Sports that talks have already been held with the holders of the WBC and the IBF belts – Julio Cesar Chavez JR., 43-0-1, 30 KO’s, and Daniel Geale 26-1, 15 KO’s.

The world could be Barker’s oyster and with fights to be lined up what we all knew in the UK was confirmed by Barker’s performance. We have a future contender in our midst that could light up the word stage with his performance, guile and crafted boxing style. Barker – Dazzler – is a cultured fighter who knows how his pedigree will be measured as long as he can reach the top and be there when he can be challenged and examined at the highest level. His recent challenge proved he could mix it up with the best.

A former Gold medalist in the Commonwealth games, in 7 years as a pro, Barker has carefully worked his passage and for many was well under the radar until the Commonwealth title victory he managed against Steven Bendall in 2008. We know how the story went from there as Barker got busy. He defended his title twice in 2008 and then in 2009 he took the British title from Danny Butler in November with the fight stopped in the 7th.

The European belt followed in April 2010 when, after a year out of action Italian Domenic Spada was beaten for the that crown. As Matthew Macklin went on to fight Felix Sturm and lose on went Barker to lose to Martinez. There have been attempts to get Macklin and Barker in the same ring before and there will no doubt be many who think such a domestic battle has reasonable box office but both have their sights set higher than that.

A fight against Sturm for Barker has been ruled out as some think Sturm is just a little too strong. I would go along with that and although I had Macklin the winner in the fight against Sturm earlier this year. Barker has been far too careful in his approach to throw it all away on a shot at glory. The idea of a European battle when the riches of the US can be his will make Barker avoid it for other more financial reasons.

The intriguing tie would be Chavez JR. It would also probably be the toughest of the other two for Barker. The Mexican has only 1 loss, like Barker, and has the types of fans that bring raw energy and fear into the venue. He does have a defense against Peter Manfredo JR., in November and thinking beyond that date would of course be very dangerous. If Chavez gets past Manfredo, an early defense against Barker in 2012 might be tempting.

More tempting would be a match against the Australian, Daniel Geale. Not least because he has just won the belt – in late August – and he does not have a defense on the table as yet. If Barker can make the negotiations Geale could travel to the UK to fight. He has fought in Germany before so he is no stranger to Europe. It would be a stepping stone to another title fight in the USA. Perhaps against Chavez, JR., in a unification bout?

Whatever the future for Darren the Dazzler Barker, his brief sojourn in the States has prepared him and us for the legacy that is to come. What that legacy will be is interesting to watch from the sidelines and as a UK boxing supporter I, for one will be hoping it is bright and explosive.

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