By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — It’s a classic cliché for fighters, but Darren Barker means it when the British middleweight contender says he isn’t thinking about any opponent other than the one he’ll encounter Saturday night.
Barker would become a potential foe for rising middleweight star Gennady Golovkin if he defeats Daniel Geale for the IBF 160-pound crown at Revel in Atlantic City. But Barker is thankful for a second title shot after losing to Sergio Martinez in October 2011, and feels he must remain fully focused on Geale if he is to leave Atlantic City a world champion this time around.
“I wouldn’t be naive enough to look past Daniel Geale,” said Barker, who was knocked out by Argentina’s Martinez in the 11th round of what had been a much more competitive fight than most expected. “I can only look at these [future] fights and start dreaming of these fights once I become world champion. So it’s important I stay focused and get the job done on [Saturday night].”
Australia’s Geale (29-1, 15 KOs) also acknowledged that a difficult fight awaits him Saturday night (HBO; 9:45 p.m. ET/PT), but the 31-year-old title-holder hasn’t hid his desire to fight Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) and/or Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs), either. London’s Barker (25-1, 16 KOs) isn’t offended, just certain that Geale’s future aspirations won’t matter.
“He’s going to be rebuilding after he fights me anyway,” Barker said. “He’s going to have to look for other fights. I’m not too concerned about Geale. It’s about myself. I’m in great physical and mental condition. I can’t wait to get in there and show the world the new Darren Barker.”
The 31-year-old Barker believes in himself more than he did before he fared so well against Martinez, but he knows he’ll take a significant step backward if he is unable to beat Geale in their “Boxing After Dark” main event.
“I can’t look past Daniel Geale,” Barker said. “It’s important that I get this job done. Who am I to start calling out names before I even won the world title? That’s why it’s important to get the job done.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing. Tags: Darren Barker , Daniel Geale , Geale-Barker , Geale vs Barker