Barker vs Surm

Barker makes the first defence of his world title against Sturm


I’ve been struck by man/bird/swine flu, so I bought myself a box of the world’s hottest chilli powders as anecdote; Ghost, Butch T (sounds hard), Moruga and Bhut Jolokia. I intend to launch one of these in a curry later this evening, if it doesn’t make me sweat it out, I’m hoping Butch T beats it out.

Two big weekends of boxing coming up, home and abroad, but before we get in to that, let’s discuss Tony Bellew from the weekend just gone:

Adonis Stevenson v Tony Bellew

Adonis Stevenson beat Tony Bellew in a 6th round TKO, to retain his WBC Light Heavyweight title. For me, the most exciting thing was the weigh in where it kicked off massively. Bellew touched heads with Stevenson at the face off and all hell broke loose.

Stevenson was carried away by his entourage calling Bellew: “A bum, you can’t fight, you’re getting knocked out” etc.

Back to the fight, Bellew was completely outclassed by Stevenson who seriously impressed me with his boxing ability. He proceeded to carry on where he left off against Tavoris Cloud by showing a tight defence and exerting some real power when he unloaded.

“He said I’m a dwarf, and the dwarf knocked him out,” said 36-year-old Stevenson, who was giving up four inches in height and five years in age to the 6ft 3in Bellew.

“I told him, when he’s going to feel my power, I’m going to drop him out.”

That he certainly did when he ended the fight with a huge left that rocked Bellew completely off balance, Stevenson steamed in with a melee of punches which the ref jumped straight in and called a halt to the encounter. Well timed stoppage and no controversy in Canada.

I take my hat off to Bellew for going out there; he has apparently had stick off BRITISH fans on twitter which I find pretty disgusting. No matter how you think they will fare in these match ups, you have to support your own. Stevenson was always going to win this one, but I wouldn’t insult a man who has endured a grueling 12wk camp for the shot of a lifetime, he deserves respect.

For Bellew, he is considering moving up to Cruiserweight for his next move, arch Nemisis Nathan Cleverly is now operating there, so could have a big domestic rematch.

For Stevenson, he has called out Froch and Hopkins on behalf of Canada, for their victories over Bute and Pascal. Two easy fights for him in my eyes, as he stops them both well within the distance.

One man he seemed apparent to distance himself from fighting is unbeaten Russian Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KO’s) in a Light Weight unification match up.

I for one don’t blame him.

Kovalev is a complete beast; he ate Nathan Cleverly in the summer like a homeless person consuming a meal at the Salvation Army and dropped a Hiroshima style nuke on Ismayl Sillakh in round 2 on the undercard.

Money talks as they say and HBO will demand that fight happens in Spring 2014, it is one I cannot wait to see.

Darren Barker vs Felix Sturm

This weekend, we have IBF Middleweight World Champ “Dazzling” Darren Barker, facing his mandatory challenger, veteran Felix Sturm in Stuttgart on Saturday evening.

Darren Barker (26-1: 16 KO’s) makes his first defence of the IBF Middleweight title against Felix Sturm (38-3-2: 17 KO’s) in Stuttgart on December 7th.

Barker, 31 has agreed a career high purse of £700k/$1.1m to fight in Germany against veteran Sturm, 34.

This, from my perspective is admirable from a newly crowned champion and you simply can’t turn that kind of money down simply because you are the “away” fighter.

Matchroom who represent Barker have ensured there is no favouritism to the home fighter by appointing neutral judges. This is a smart move considering recent questionable scoring in Mayweather v Canelo and Bradley v Marquez.

In addition, they have inserted a rematch clause which would take place in London if they felt the need to activate it, if he does lose on 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,losing on a unanimous decision in Las Vegas.

Other notable opponents on his CV are Brits Martin Murray, Matthew Macklin, Daniel Geale.

Murray, Sturm drew with; Macklin, won a split decision and Geale he lost on a split decision, his 1st defeat in 6 years.

Geale, we all know well as he 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.

I will give you 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 mesmerised by the end of the fight.

It was truly heart rendering and you can see how much it meant to Barker and his camp.

All in tears once they heard “And NEW!!!”, you would of had to go far to find a dry eye in the arena.

It felt lost a bit on HBO’s Max Kellerman, perhaps he thought it was another overrated Brit celebrating a win. But I’m certain he now knows what it meant to them.

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:

“I saw Gary as clear as day. It was vivid, so vivid. He was there. I know it sounds like a movie script, but I saw my brother. He told me to get up.”

In this fight, I can only see one winner.


Why you ask?


The Geale victory in face of defeat will have given him new found hunger to have a gruelling 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.

Blood, sweat, tears and tragedy he has experienced.

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.

Stateside, we have the Battle of Brooklyn between Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah:

Paulie Malignaggi v Zab Judah

Paulie Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KO’s) faces Zab Judah (42-8, 29 KO’s) at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn on Saturday evening.

What is a local, fierce derby from a geographical perspective, we have two guys who are “home boys” according to Judah and have both spoke very candidly about one another.

Shame really, but I think it reflects on where they both are in their respective careers; Malignaggi coming off a loss to Adrien Broner in the summer and thus losing his WBA Welterweight title, Judah, losing to Danny Garcia at Jnr Welter.

No shame on either defeat for the Brooklyn boys, Broner a multi-weight world champion, Garcia the main man at 140lbs.

What it does represent is an opportunity for each of them to display they are not in twilight of their career, and let’s face it, provide a good pay day in front of a packed home crowd.

I’d favour Malignaggi over the distance due to speed and appearing the busier fighter, but Judah can bang, so don’t be surprised if he gets a late stoppage.

There is a  knats c*ck between them.

Guillermo Rigondeaux v Joseph Agbeko

Super Bantamweight Kingpin Guillermo Rigondeaux faces Joseph Agbeko at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night, for the WBA and WBO super bantamweight titles.

This is the Cuban’s 1st fight since his dismantling of Nonito Donaire earlier this year, which was a pure boxing lesson for any aspiring young fighter and one to send shivers down the spine of young starlets such as Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton.

For Agbeko, it’s his first outing since 2011, he is a former two-time world champion, used to be a steady fighter.

But this is easy money for Rigondeaux, like being on call for an hour on a Monday morning, spending the rest of the day at home. I fully expect Agbeko French kissing the canvas within 3 rounds.

The problem Rigondeaux has is who to face next, at 33 he is at the peak of his powers, Donaire rematch, Martinez, Frampton & Quigg other possible opponents.

I’ll be amazed if Team Frampton or Quigg want that fight just yet, they need to come armed with two belts first.

I’d love to see the winner of Frampton/Quigg in with him this time next year/early 2015.

Let’s see something different, make him box on the backfoot. Put him under the cosh, Donaire did have him on the deck remember.

Can he beat a hungry 25yr old superstar in the making?


That’s your lot from me.

I’m off to try these chillis, cue the ring of fire!

Have a good weekend and catch you next week.



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