Tuesday 11 December 2012

Macklin, Barker, Murray - A tasty triangle has taken shape!

By James McKnight @mckjimbo.

2013 could be a year where we see trio Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker and Martin Murray stepping in the ring to square off against each other. 

Neither boxer is set to step in the ring again this year and with Murray facing Sergio Martinez next April for the WBC middleweight title, could we see the start of this tasty triangle with the long awaited clash between Macklin and Barker? 

Macklin versus Barker is a fight that should have happened 3 years ago. The pair were meant to meet in September 2009 to fight for the BBBofC British middleweight title which Macklin had won in March earlier that year. Macklin though withdrew and in the process vacated the belt opting to fight for the vacant EBU (European) middleweight title instead. They were then scheduled to meet in September 12 months later, with Macklin challenging Barker for his European title which he won in April the same year. This time it was Barker who pulled out of the fight having suffered a hip injury. Barker vacated the belt which Macklin then fought for that September. 

Whilst all this was going on, Murray had won his first 12 rounder as he claimed the vacant commonwealth (British Empire) middleweight title in July. By the end of 2010 he had won the vacant WBA Inter-continental middleweight title too. 

Going into 2011, a Macklin/Barker fight did not appear likely to happen. Instead, Barker bounced back from the hip injury that ruled him out of the rearranged date with Macklin by beating Italy's Domenico Spada to win the vacant European title in April whilst Macklin lost a debatable split decision to Felix Sturm in a WBA Super World middleweight title fight in June. Also at this point, Murray defended his WBA Inter-continental title and claimed the BBBofC British middleweight title. 

Barker was sensationally offered a World title shot against WBC 160lb Diamond champion, Sergio Martinez, later that October. A number of opponents apparently turned down the chance to face Martinez, but Barker and his team did not and gratefully accepted the offer. Barker subsequently lost the fight and his unbeaten record. To many people's surprise, Murray was given the chance to head to Germany to face Sturm that December. That fight ended in a draw. After his controversial loss in Germany, Macklin was awarded a shot at the great Argentinian champion in March earlier this year. Macklin's corner waved off the fight before round 12 with Macklin still on his stool. 

After two straight losses, Macklin got back to winning ways in September with Joachim Alcine of Canada his opponent. Macklin destroyed him in only 1 round. In November, Murray won the interim WBA World middleweight title after proving too strong for Jorge Navarro of Venezuela in 6 rounds. Murray's reward for winning that fight is the 2013 meeting with Martinez. Last weekend, Barker was back on the winning path after a 14 month injury lay off as he was too much for Welshman Kerry Hope to handle in 4 rounds. 

So, this is how their careers have mapped out over the past few years. You know the deal between Macklin and Barker. You know how Murray has progressed. What about Murray/Macklin and Murray/Barker though? Well, Murray and Macklin have apparently voiced their dislike for each other via social media networks in the past. It is also said that they exchanged words ahead of a potential clash around 2011, but apparent talks broke down between the two fighters teams. 

Ahead of Barker's 2011 showdown with Martinez, Murray apparently told Barker to face him first before thinking about World titles. Barker's team also apparently turned down an offer to face Murray after Barker had fought Martinez. Only recently Murray was on Ringside on sky sports. Murray said that he and Barker had ''agreed'' to fight on twitter if both kept winning of course. 

These three, if they are to get in the ring and face one another, would surely produce classic fights! They've got to face each other because the fans not only expect it, they demand it and they deserve it! 


Discuss on twitter with me @mckjimbo and with @boxingopinions1 

We want to hear what you, the fans, have to say because you are important! 

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