Dudley's McDermott faces battle to beat champion Barker

Sunday Mercury Lee Gibson17th May, 2009

IF Darren McDermott is to become the new Commonwealth middleweight champion in Watford on Saturday night he will have to perform out of his skin.

The Dudley "Body Snatcher" challenges champion Darren Barker who will be making the third defence of his title and he looks a step too far for McDermott.

But anybody who writes off the Black Country battler does so at his peril because McDermott believes he is the best middleweight in the country and wants the chance to prove it.

Beating Barker will not achieve that particular target because British champion Matthew Macklin is also standing in the way.

But as this fight is recognised by the authorities as a final eliminator for the middleweight Lonsdale Belt McDermott can kill one bird and take a huge step towards the next.

By the end of the year he could be the British and Commonwealth champion. He is just two wins away - but it isn't that simple.

One good reason is that Macklin doesn't expect McDermott to get past the Barker hurdle.

He said: "I honestly don't care who wins because I will take care of the one who will be facing me eventually.

"But I think that Barker has operated against higher class opposition and he is a much sharper boxer. I think he will be too quick for McDermott who is a bit one paced.

"One guideline is that they have both beaten Coventry's Steve Bendall. Barker stopped him in seven and McDermott won on points over 10. Clearly there isn't much in it but Barker just has the edge," he added.

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