Looks like UK middleweight Darren Barker is no longer in line for a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr on September 24, as promoters Eddie Hearn (Barker) and Lou DiBella (Martinez) have agreed to terms for a fight between Barker and legitimate middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez. Martinez has an HBO date of October 1 set aside.
The fight appeared to come together quickly today, and is about as solid a fight as Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KO) is going to get for that date. "Maravilla" last fought on March 12, defeating top junior middleweight Sergiy Dzinziruk in impressive fashion on HBO, but has struggled to find another opponent. He was originally slated to return on July 9, but that was pushed back into the fall.
Barker (23-0, 14 KO) is the current European champion, and is a two-time European champion overall, as well as a former British and Commonwealth middleweight champion. He is a well-skilled fighter, and while he'll be a rather big underdog here, he's been wanting a step up in class and now he wants to take the biggest one available, so you have to respect that. Barker currently has a tentative date on July 23, but something tells me he'll be giving up the European title and the July fight in order to get this done.
Of course this also means that Chavez vs Manfredo looks all but official for September 24, and DiBella's involved there, too, so look for something on that soon if this pans out officially.
Thoughts on Martinez vs Barker? Thumbs up or down?