Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is set to make his return this June in Mexico City if the fighter gets his wish, and his top choice for an opponent is now Darren Barker, as a fight with Matthew Macklin looks unlikely to happen.
"I think Barker is a good fighter. He only lost to Maravilla Martinez and I would like to fight someone of that level. Making a fight with Macklin seems to have been difficult, and because of that Barker has turned into a good candidate - although there are some others being considered."
Barker (25-1, 16 KO) has looked a more determined and "mean" fighter since his return in December, blasting through Kerry Hope and Simone Rotolo. Now, there's no comparing those guys to Chavez Jr -- even though Chavez has flaws, he's a bigger, stronger man than either of those two, and is a better fighter, plain and simple.
Barker and Macklin were two of three candidates recently named by promoter Bob Arum, the other being veteran brawler Brian Vera.
Should Barker travel to Mexico City for this fight? He says he wants the big fights, but there has been a lot of talk of him facing Andy Lee, in a fight where Barker would not have to travel to unfriendly soil, and considering Chavez's name in Mexico, there's probably extra risk involved in that scenario, too.