By James Slater – In breaking news, BBC Sport has revealed how the eagerly anticipated British and European middleweight title clash between champ Darren Barker and challenger and former European champ Matthew Macklin is off. The all-British fight was set to go ahead as part of promoter Frank Warren’s big “Magnificent Seven” show on September 18th in Birmingham, but Barker has apparently injured a hip in training and will be unable to fight as planned..
Macklin, who gave up his European title, will almost certainly be devastated at this news, as will Barker himself. It’s not yet known if the fight will be re-scheduled, but hopefully this will be the case. The two 28-year-olds had been looking forward to meeting one another for quite a while, and a great fight was expected by many good judges.
However – and not to in any way dispute the validity of Barker’s hip injury – Macklin, who felt he would win in relatively easy fashion, did say he hoped the fight would not, for some reason fall through. Now that it has, Macklin is sure to have the urge to say, ‘I told you so.’ Again, no-one is doubting Barker’s injury, but a number of people did seem to think that this fight had a good chance of hitting a speed bump of some kind.
Promoter Warren has already seen the intriguing Frankie Gavin-Curtis Woodhouse fight, also originally set for the September 18th show, fail to happen, and now this depressing news arrives. It will be interesting to see how the cancellation (or postponement) of Barker Vs. Macklin affects ticket and pay-per-view sales. Still a very good show, with top talent such as Nathan Cleverly, Ryan Rhodes, Enzo Maccarinelli, James DeGale and Derek Chisora in action, the September bill was especially hot-looking due to the scheduled middleweight rumble.
So far, Macklin, 26-2(18) has made no public response to the bad news – and Barker, 22-0(14) has not said anything either – but with all the hard training he’s been doing, he may well opt to fight a late replacement on the card. If a suitable one can be found for the warrior known as “Mack The Knife” that is.