When Darren Barker was knocked out by Sergio Martinez in the 11th round of last night's fight, pretty much everyone noted what was plainly obvious, that Barker was not struck directly by the right hand that sent him to the canvas. The final shot actually hit Barker in the glove, which then went into the side of his head. Barker went down and just couldn't get up, and part of that may be explained by an injury he's dealing with today.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said earlier today on Twitter that Barker suffered a perforated eardrum. The fighter is OK otherwise, and has been pretty heavily praised for his solid effort in a fight where he was figured to get blown out by a superior fighter. Fellow UK fighters and British fight fans have sent a lot of messages of support out, and Barker himself said, "Just wanna say thanks for all the support I've had. I feel proud to be British! Gutted I couldn't pull it off but hats off to Martinez. Thank you."
While the focus today is on what's next for Sergio Martinez, it's also worth wondering what will be next for Darren Barker. Going into yesterday's fight I said I'd give Barker a good shot against anyone at 160 besides Martinez, and that holds true today. I think he's a good style matchup for a lot of guys, including some of the top fighters. I do still figure a top pressure fighter would be his undoing given his past stamina issues against Domenico Spada and Affif Belghecham, but I'd have him a fair bet against Felix Sturm, for instance. He's a talented fighter and now has experience against a world class opponent, which could make him better if he treats the loss right.