Darren Barker is just three years younger than Felix Sturm, but it sure feels like the gap is a lot wider. The British star, who will travel to face Sturm in the first defense of his IBF middleweight title in Germany on Saturday, feels the experience difference won't matter, and he's looking to retire the former three-time middleweight titleholder.
"Why it's an important fight is, it's the old and the new. It is me putting an end to Felix Sturm's career, as harsh as that sounds, and letting my reign start. I'm looking forward to a long reign as world champion.
"He's one of the old guard if you like. He was the champion for about six years, a great fighter who I will never be naive enough to take lightly, but I'm extremely confident that it's my time.
"That's not me being nasty or anything like that, by saying he will call his career a day. He's been there, he's fought everyone, he's been champion for years. I think when I beat him, that will be enough. He's got enough money, he's achieved lots in the sport. It will be easy for him to hang up his gloves."
Barker (26-1, 16 KO) went abroad to beat Australian Daniel Geale on neutral ground in Atlantic City on August 17, winning his first world title after years of promise that nearly all went down the drain due to nagging injury troubles and the mental strain they caused.
Sturm (38-3-2, 17 KO) is without question past his better years at age 34, but he's at least a live dog in this fight. He has the talent to box with Barker, who is a good fighter but has hardly ever looked unbeatable. Both men have had issues with stamina -- Barker's in the past, Sturm's more recent -- and Sturm's luck against British fighters has been both good and shaky of late. On the one hand, he's officially 1-0-1 against Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray. On the other hand, many believe he should have lost both of those fights.
Sturm last fought on July 6, easily beating Predrag Radosevic in a rebound fight following a loss that was later changed to a no-contest against Sam Soliman.