James Hare vs. David Barnes preview
By Daniel Heath (November 11, 2004) 
James Hare
Championship boxing comes to Halifax on Friday night. Young Mancunian David Barnes stands just one victory away from claiming the prestigious Lonsdale belt outright. However Roberttown’s James Hare will be eager to take both the title and Barnes’ unbeaten record. On paper, it is an excellent Yorkshire versus Lancashire clash.

The fight has been a while coming. When purse bids were first called, Barnes suffered a broken arm, which ruled him out of the clash. Subsequently an early October date fell through. One wondered if the fight would ever be made. However the two rival promotional camps have worked together and the fans should benefit. It is an intriguing crossroads clash.

Despite being the champion, Barnes is the unproven fighter. His early professional career was fairly low profile. A flashy southpaw, with quick hands and a dangerous dig, he looked a decent prospect from the start. This in spite of being blown of course by a bizarre incident, which saw him serve time in military prison for desertion. It was a little surprising however to see him nominated for a British title challenge after just twelve fights (all against lower-tier opposition).

His clash for the vacant title took place in Dagenham in July of last year. Opposing him was Birmingham brawler Jimmy Vincent. What followed was one of the most controversial fights of the year. Vincent dominated from the off, so much so that David’s trainer – Bryan Hughes – at one point almost pulled his man out of his fight. Barnes improved towards the end and showed his superior boxing ability, but looked well beaten. Referee John Keane disagreed however and awarded David the fight by a single point, to the boos of the crowd.

Two successful defences have followed: an eighth round stoppage of Scot Kevin McIntyre and a comfortable, if hard fought, points victory over Ulsterman Glenn McClarnon. However the Vincent fight still lingers and has inevitably tarnished the legitimacy of David’s title. He has been far from convincing in his reign and one feels that he still has much to prove. A win over Hare though would almost certainly silence his critics.

James is still rebuilding his career after coming crashing down to earth at the end of last year. On the cusp of a world title shot and being talked about as one of Britain’s great new boxing hopes, a one-sided stoppage defeat to Cosme Rivera has sent him back down the pecking order. A win on Friday should open more avenues for him.

It had been a spectacular rise through the ranks. An impressive stoppage win over decent Australian Julian Holland for the Commonwealth welterweight title thrust Hare into the public eye. A series of defences throughout 2002 (in all honesty against pretty dire opposition) built his momentum, before Hare won the WBF welterweight title with a one-sided drubbing of Ukrainian dangerman Roman Dzuman. He followed this with a two round blow out of South African puncher Jan Bergman. By this time James had earned a top-of-the-bill status and a lofty rating with the IBF. An excellent boxer, with superb timing and a great judge of distance, Hare was beginning to excite.

However cracks began to show. Jozsef Matolcsi floored the Yorkshireman in their clash, before James scored a controversial stoppage in the tenth of a bruising encounter. Then came Rivera. The Mexican was utterly dominant from start to finish, grinding Hare to defeat in ten. It was a bad loss.

His comeback has been a little hit and miss. His two most recent opponents (Welsh journeyman Jason Williams and Frenchman Moise Cherni) have both caused him trouble in parts, perhaps exposing a lack of self-confidence in James. However Hare has shown ruthless finishing ability in both fights and it is difficult to question his determination. He seems a man keen to get back to the top.

Thus we have potentially one of the fights of the year. Both fighters like to counter-punch though, so there is also a strong chance of them cancelling each other out and producing a less interesting spectacle. Barnes needs to use his speed advantage and impose himself early in the fight. James is possibly still mentally vulnerable and it is crucial David exploits his weakness. However Hare’s experience is likely to tell. Barnes has only ever topped the bill once before; his fight with Vincent. I believe James will be able to stick to his game plan and frustrate his opponent by staying out of punching range. Hare wins a comfortable points decision.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2004