By Jonny Stapleton
DARREN Barker and Matthew Macklin‘s dislike for each other is common knowledge, but that won’t stop the last man to face middleweight ring king Sergio Martinez cheering for the Irish middleweight on March 17.
However, the former European champion, who impressed despite being stopped late on against the pound for pound No.3, will lend his support to Macklin for selfish reason.
Dazzling Darren has a Macklin itch he has been struggling to scratch for a number of years now.
Indeed the pair previously agreed to fight twice only for the bouts to fall through, but if ‘Mack The Knife’ goes one better than Barker and defeats Martinez in Madison Square Garden next month Barker is confident a massive fight between the pair will be made.
The former world challenger believes in Martin Murray, Macklin and himself you have three middleweights that can recreate the Chris Eubank, Steve Collins and Nigel Benn era.
The only ingredient missing a world title to put in the mixing pot.
“Boxing can be a selfish sport sometimes. If Macklin wins it could set up a massive fight between myself and him. It would be a big fight on the international and the domestic stage. If he loses a fight between me and Matthew is still big, but if one of us have a world title its massive,” Barker told Mirror Sport yesterday.
“Everyone wants to see it. Everyone has their pick. Matthew, Martin Murray and I want to prove we are the best domestically. If there was a major title involved it could be a return to the Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn era. There are three big fights there.”
Having stressed he wants the former Tipperary under age hurler to claim victory over the greatest middleweight in the world, the likable Barker advised the Birmingham born Irish pugilist how to defeat his most recent foe.
The former amateur stand out warned the Lou DiBella promoted star against taking the all action come forward approach he has talked about.
“Matt has power. His record is proof of that and if you have power you always have a chance. I think his style suits Martinez though. Macklin likes to come forward and Martinez likes fighters to come at him. Matthew is smart and he knows that. I think he will change it up even if he is saying he is going to war. I would advise him too anyway.”
Like Macklin, Matchroom’s Baker’s first world level experience was against the best in the division. The English middleweight admits it can be daunting but stresses there is one positive- no pressure.
“We both have had big fights in our career and that helps when you move to the world stage, but it is a big occasion and very different experience. I fought 23 times before the Martinez fight and 23 times I was favourite to win. You have to deal with expectations then and that can be worse than anything. When I fought Martinez I wasn’t expected to win. The majority of the public and media don’t give Macklin a chance so he can enjoy the experience with no pressure.”