Boxing spotlight to shine on Atlantic City Saturday

Aug 13, 2013 3:07 AM

The boxing spotlight shines on the middleweight division at Atlantic City this Saturday with a title match between current IBF belt holder Daniel Geale (29-1, 15 KO’s) and Darren Barker.

Geale looks to successfully defend his crown for a fifth time. Barker, a former British and European champion, is 25-1 with 16 KO’s.

HBO’s Boxing After Dark main event has been marketed mainly as another battle between Australia and England, and also as a statement fight to prove a third name belongs in the conversation when discussing the top guys at 160 lbs.

The summer began with Gennady Golovkin, owner of the WBA Middleweight strap, earning his rightful place in the sweepstakes to face the recognized king at 160, current WBC champion Sergio Martinez. Many believe Golovkin to be Martinez’s greatest threat after disposing of the usually tough Matthew Macklin within three rounds, and ultimately showing fans why his handlers argue Golovkin’s the fighter who’s being avoided most in the sport today.

Geale, a former Olympian and 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner, is listed as an almost 2-1 favorite by bookmakers to retain his title and enter the Martinez sweepstakes. The take-back on challenger Barker, whose only loss came at the hands of Martinez by way of an 11th round TKO, is +175.

The OVER in number of rounds the fight will last should be a heavy favorite once bookmakers elect to hang a price up.

For Barker, the challenger will need to turn this into a bout fought in close quarters. Barker will need to use his size advantage to cut the ring off and draw Geale in to where he’s able cut the ring off and draw Geale in to where he’s able to use his edge in strength to punish the title holder on the inside.

By going to the body and systematically breaking Geale down, Barker may be able to turn this into more of a brawl where the opportunity to land a big shot exists.

The champion knows he’ll want to use his footwork to avoid fighting this battle in a phone booth. Geale will try to pile up rounds with the judges by outworking and out landing the slower and more methodical Barker. I expect the title holder to try and get Barker’s respect early to make avoiding him easier, otherwise he’ll be forced to stay mobile the entire 12 rounds, which at 32 years of age, isn’t as simple as it once was.

Until the champion’s more recognizable, the betting market will price him at a discount like it’s done for his next title defense. My “true line” is much closer to -250 so the choice as to where my money will be is obvious…on the champion. GEALE.

UFC Fight Night 26: The UFC will help FOX launch its 24 hour sports television station when Fight Night 26 is shown live on FOX1 this Saturday evening.

The main event will feature a bout between Chael Sonnen (27-12-1) against Mauricio Rua (21-7), which was originally scheduled for a previous fight card but had to be moved after Sonnen was unable to secure a visa.

That card’s loss is this one’s gain since the highly anticipated heavyweight bout between Allistair Overeem (36-12) and Travis Browne (14-1-1) will now be the co-main event, making the Fight Night 26 card one of the most stacked non-pay per view ones we’ve seen.

Oddsmakers opened Sonnen as a -145 favorite over Rua, but since the line went up, money on the underdog has forced books to adjust, and the line currently sits as low as -125 here in Las Vegas.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Rua can keep this fight standing and slowly pick apart Sonnen like Jones did by out landing him 20-6 and softening him up for three successful takedowns where he was able to do some serious damage.

I don’t agree with the early money on Rua, and think Sonnen’s conditioning even though he’s the older of the two, will be the difference maker. SONNEN.

Vegas-Runner, a pro sports bettor in Las Vegas, has been featured on CNBC/ESPN. Follow him on Twitter @vegasrunner, at and on AM 1100 ESPN (also FM 98.9) on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. when he co-hosts First Preview. Contact Vegas Runner at [email protected].

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