It looks like Darren Barker will be making the first defense of his IBF middleweight crown against ex-champion Felix Sturm on December 7th according to a report from Boxing Scene's Rick Reeno. The new beltholder will travel to Sturm's home country of Germany. On the surface, it would seem counterproductive for Barker to travel to Germany but the report states that his promoter Eddie Hearn "was going to make a serious push to bring Sturm to the UK". However, the report then states that "Barker was compensated well to travel over to Sturm's home turf". Everyone has a price.
Barker won the title from Daniel Geale on HBO in August in a fight that was better than most expected, one of the best on American premium cable this year. Barker had to pull himself off the canvas in the sixth round from a left hook to the liver in a great display of courage that few knew he possessed.
In the aftermath, there was some discussion of a possible rematch with Geale or even the a rematch with middleweight champion Sergio Martinez who owns an 11th round knockout win over Barker. It was widely theorized that the reason for having Barker and Geale on its airwaves was so HBO could familiarize American audiences with challengers for its stable of boxers at or near the middleweight division like Martinez, Gennady Golovkin, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Andre Ward.
But in the end, it was the aging ex-champion Sturm who got the call from Barker. Sturm has been a name in the middleweight division for a decade now and has made a nice living winning decisions in Germany. At 34 he seems to be in decline and that may be a motivating factor for Barker.
Is Barker making a mistake by going to Germany for a defense of his own title? Does Sturm have one last strong performance left in him to pull it our? Should Americans be outraged that boxing is occuring on Pearl Harbor Day?