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It was a lot harder for Sergio Martinez than expected – 29 year old Brit Darren Barker proved to be quite a challenge for the WBC Diamond Belt holder, especially in the early rounds, peaking with a punch that broke Martinez’ nose in the fourth round. However, from the fifth round on wards, it was all Argentina, leading to the 11th round knockout.

Darren Barker’s 23-0 record didn’t really impress anyone coming into the fight, with hardly a recognizable name in those 23 wins, all coming on UK soil. For Martinez, who seems to be passing the time until he gets a big chance and payday against Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr., it was an unexpected challenge. Barker’s defense and style proved hard to figure out. Then came the 3-4 punch combos that kept Barker behind his gloves, getting hammered for the rest of the fight.

I knew it would be this kind of fight. I planned for this. I always get a second wind. We train for that. It’s part of our game plan going in. We knew we would get stronger as the fight went on. I just kept throwing right hands because I knew sooner or later they would start landing. Some would say Martinez’ early problems show the 36 year old is… well, getting older, with his judgement and reflexes not as sharp as before.

The 2010 fighter of the year thought differently, and according to him, was prepared for the long route and saving his best for last. Nobody believed he was a tough fighter, Nobody gave a shot to him. It’s the same thing that people thought about me when I came from Europe. Barker might not have won, but he certainly made a name for himself on American soil.

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For Sergio Martinez, there was no need to prove he’s the best middleweight around, the top fighter in the 160 lbs. category. At 48-2-2, it seems the option for him are either heavier or lighter. He’s considered the no.3 pound for pound fighter in the world, behind Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Glory, and a big payday, awaits if one of the two Welterweights agrees to go up to a 150 catchwait, something both don’t seem eager to do.

Anoter option is either Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito, who go at each other in New York two months from now. Both are Bob Arum fighters, and according to sources, Arum doesn’t won’t any of his fighters to go down against Martinez. Sergio Martinez is dying to prove he’s the best there is, not just in his weight class. Problem is, no one big enough (in name) is likely to take him up on that offer.

Maybe going up the division, to the Super Middleweight or even Light Heavyweight, might give him the chance for glory and money he so eagerly strives for. After all, not everyone is like Bernard Hopkins, still fighting strong at 46. Sergio Gabriel Martinez will be turning 37 in four months, and time is ticking. There are options, but the only option that will satisfy him will probably be Pacquiao or Mayweather. Maybe Barker giving Martinez a hard time, making him look more human or vulnerable, might open up options for him.