ATLANTIC CITY — There was so much beforehand that made so little sense about Aussie Daniel Geale and Brit Darren Barker fighting in A.C., but that was then and this is now. Now, anyone watching this middleweight battle from Revel or at home on HBO is a happy, happy person. In the end, Barker won by a fraction on the scorecards.
Almost every round was ridiculously close and competitive, with Geale often busier and Barker often landing heavier, yet one round stands out. In the 6th, Geale dropped Barker with a paralyzing left hand to the body. Barker took almost the entire 10 seconds to rise, to the point that when referee Eddie Cotton stepped toward him I was convinced he was going to halt the fight. And Barker's hair-raising round didn't end there. Geale pounced when Barker was allowed to continue. He was doing serious damage. Over in the Barker corner, one member of his team was screaming at another member of his team to, by my reading of the body language, throw in the towel. Suddenly, Barker came back to life, and suddenly that Barker team member was screaming in joy.
You could have scored it any which way, as most did ringside and on Twitter. I had it 114-113 Barker, like one of the judges; another judge had it the opposite for Geale; and one judge had it too wide, for Barker, 116-111. This might end up controversial: The judge who had it 114-113 for Barker gave the 12th to Barker, when it appeared clear to everyone I talked to that Geale was very strong in that one.
I wouldn't mind a rematch, if any controversy can contribute to that. It was an outstanding effort by both men, a grueling fight where the two traded off being dog tired throughout. Barker, though, might have to face Felix Sturm next due to alphabet belt requirements. That's an OK fight, too. But this is the kind of fight that begs for a rematch, maybe this time before a larger crowd (my estimate was 1,000 people in attendance). Still, sometimes funky processes lead to excellent results. That was the case Saturday.