Martinez K0’s Barker with 11th round KO and retains Diamond belt title • Latino Sports


Martinez K0’s Barker with 11th round KO and retains Diamond belt title


Atlantic City – Sergio Martinez, the WBC Diamond Belt Middleweight champion retained his title with an 11th round stoppage over Darren Barker Saturday evening at Boardwalk Hall In Atlantic City. The knockout not as stunning as the one he got agains Paul Williams in the first round at the same venue last November.

But the win was good enough to keep Martinez among the best to be considered pound-for-pound as a premiere fighter. It was a right upper cut to the temple that put Barker on the mat that caused referee Eddie Cotton to call an end at 1:29 of the round in the scheduled 12-rounder.

Barker, (23-1, 14 K0’S) the relatively unknown and undefeated fighter from London England used his technical and defensive technique against Martinez. In the fourth round, Barker caught Martinez in an exchange that caused the champion to sustain a broken nose. With blood coming from his mouth, Martinez was losing some stamina but was able to withstand the defense and power from Barker.  

“He is a tough fighter, Sergio and got to give him a lot of heart for the way he stayed with barker for the first six rounds,” said Lou DiBella, the promoter of Martinez. “Where Sergio goes from here is something we have to talk about. He can stay at middleweight, move up, or go down. He can handle weight, but getting Miguel Cotto or any of the fighters of Bob Arum won’t happen.”

DiBella was referring to how Arum, promoter at Top Rank, has avoided putting Cotto, or even Manny Pacquiao, the elite welterweight champions in the ring with Martinez. 

Sensing the urgency that Martinez is at the pinnacle of his career, Lou DiBella, co-promoter of the HBO televised card, believed Barker was the appropriate opponent for the champion from Argentina.

“Every challenge is a strong challenge,” commented Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KO’s) who had a contingent of fans at half empty Boardwalk Hall. “I knew it was going to be this type of fight. I planned for this,” he said.  And it appeared Martinez was struggling in the first six rounds but got stronger as the fight progressed.

“I knew I would get stronger as the fight went on. I kept throwing the right hand because I knew it was going to land. It landed more and more as the fight went on.”

When asked if he would be interested in taking on the winner of the upcoming light heavyweight fight with Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson, Martinez said,  “I’m ready to fight anyone as long as we can come to a good deal for me and for my rival.”

Barker wanted to prove he belonged in the ring with Martinez. He was not a mandatory challenger and had he pulled off an upset, DIBella and Martinez may have not been talking about lucrative and future pay days. But DiBella believes Martinez deserves to be in the discussion towards getting a lucrative opportunity in the ring with Pacquiao or Cotto

The co-feature of the HBO televised card saw middleweight Andy Lee avenge a loss to Brian Vera  with a 10-round unanimous decision In their first fight on ESPN, in March of 2008 at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, Vera overcome an early barrage of punches but he managed to stop Lee in the seventh round.

A straight left from Lee (27-1-19 KO’s) put Vera down towards end of the second round and quickly earned him points. Lee, rated 2nd by the WBA and 6th by the WBC won his 12th straight fight.  Vera (19-6, 12 KO’s) of Austin Texas would sustain a nasty cut in the next round above the left eye brow

In another undercard bout, undefeated junior middleweight Steven Martinez of the Bronx New York, a national and three-time New York Golden Gloves champion, defeated Jay Krupp (14-5, 7 KO’s) when referee Steve Smoga stopped the bout at 0:38 of round five. Martinez (11-0, 9KO’s) trapped Krupp in the ropes and used a short right uppercut that sent his opponent to the canvas. For the last few weeks, Martinez was one of the lead sparring partners for Sergio Martinez.


About William Gerena-Rochet

William Gerena Rochet, is the former Latino Sports baseball editor. He is a retired NYC teacher who divides his time living between New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He started writing for Latino Sports during the inaugural World Baseball Classic when a series was played in Puerto Rico in 2006. On of his favorite moments was covering the 2006 MLB All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. During his time with Latino Sports, he covered several divisional and League championship series games and the 2009 World Series. He also covered the last game at the old Yankee stadium and the first game of the current one. In closing, William has covered multiples Latino Sports MVP Awards ceremonies and Spanish Language Press Conferences including the Jorge Posada retirement one. Now a contributor, Willie will occasionally cover the Yankees.