Fight Pick & Preview – Barker vs. Sturm:
Darren Barker (26-1, 16 KOs) makes his first defense of the IBF Middleweight title against Felix Sturm (38-3-2, 17 KOs) in Stuttgart, Germany on December 7th. Barker, 31 has agreed a career high purse to fight in Germany against veteran former champion Sturm, 34.
While facing Sturm in Germany hasn’t been a smart career move for many a fighter who have been on the wrong end of questionable decisions, Matchroom, who represents Barker, have appointed neutral judges. In addition, they have inserted a rematch clause which would take place in London, if he does indeed lose a contentious decision.
Sturm has spent the lion’s share of his career fighting in Germany and Europe, only venturing to the USA once to fight Oscar De La Hoya in 2004, ironically coming up on the wrong end of a decision there against the house fighter, who was preparing for a fight against Bernard Hopkins.
He has faced a who’s who of mid-tier middleweights over the past decade, including a recent stretch where he had a draw with Martin Murray, a Split Decision win over Matthew Macklin, and a Split Decision loss to Daniel Geale, his 1st defeat in six years.
Of course, Geale is the man Barker beat in August to win his 1st world title in dramatic fashion. It was a fight that captured the imagination of not only your hardcore boxing contingency, but even the general public as well.
As an example, I was up myself doing a shift feeding my then 2 week older daughter. My girlfriend, who to be fair to her is no sport fan whatsoever, was utterly mesmerized by the end of the fight.
It was truly heart rendering and you could see how much it meant to Barker and his camp. They were all in tears once they heard “And NEW!!!” You would of had to go far to find a dry eye in the arena.
Barker dedicated the victory to his late brother Gary, who died tragically in a car accident 7 years ago. In the aftermath of the fight, Darren swore he saw his brother in the ring when he was knocked down by Geale.
Barker vs. Sturm Prediction
In this fight though, I can only see one winner. Barker.
Why you ask? Momentum.
The Geale victory in face of defeat will have given him new found hunger to have a grueling camp and push himself to be in the best shape possible. Amazing what winning a world title will do to a man. Barker will be reluctant to surrender a belt that he has spent his whole career to date working towards acquiring. He has experienced blood, sweat, tears, and tragedy.
Sturm I feel is in the winter of his career. He will still pose a serious threat that Barker won’t take lightly, but I envisage a Barker stoppage around round 8-10.