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Geale Fight is Barker’s Best Chance at Title, Hearn Says

by David P. Greisman

Darren Barker’s fight against International Boxing Federation beltholder Daniel Geale is his best shot at a world title, says his promoter Eddie Hearn, who spoke to speaking to BoxingScene’s David Greisman and Tim Starks of Queensberry-Rules.com on Aug. 16 following the weigh-in in Atlantic City.

“I’ve looked at the odds on both sides of the Atlantic, and they’re quite similar. Darren’s 7-4. It means that he’s the outsider, but very slightly. Geale is the champion, obviously. He’s got the home promoter. In my opinion, it’s a 50-50 fight. I just feel this time around, we feel like the champion for some reason. He’s been here before. He fought [Sergio] Martinez in Atlantic City. This is all just very easy for him this time around. Geale is a great fighter, a pressure fighter, but I just think Darren’s bigger, stronger and punches harder. But I do think it’s going to be a great fight. I just think it’s Darren’s time.”

Geale vs. Barker will headline on HBO. Geale is coming off decision wins over Felix Sturm in September 2012 and Anthony Mundine this past January. The 32-year-old Australian from Mt. Annan, New South Wales, is 29-1 (15 knockouts). The lone loss came in his first fight with Mundine, back in 2009, a bout that saw him come up on the short end of a split decision.

Barker, 31, of London, is 25-1 with 16 knockouts. He was knocked out in the 11th round by Sergio Martinez in October 2011, bounced back with a fourth-round stoppage of Kerry Hope in December 2012 and then had a fourth-round technical knockout of Simone Rotolo this past March.

The winner of the bout will likely end up defending the title next against the mandatory challenger, Sturm.

“I think that’s a big fight in the U.K., and there will be a 75-25 split,” Hearn said of Barker-Sturm. He added that HBO had asked in the fighter meeting about potential bouts with super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch and middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin. Hearn said Barker wouldn’t be strong enough to fight at super middleweight but would be open to a fight with Golovkin, as well as bouts against Martin Murray, Matthew Macklin and Peter Quillin.

“It’s a great division,” Hearn said. “But he’s not looking past this fight at all.”

David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at fightingwords1@gmail.com

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