By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
DARREN BARKER will choke back the tears as he remembers his dead brother Gary before his world-title shot.
The unbeaten Londoner challenges Argentine Sergio Martinez for the WBC diamond middleweight title on Saturday after winning back his European crown.
Martinez, 36, is regarded as the world’s best middleweight and is rated at No.3 in the pound-for-pound rankings, so starts as overwhelming favourite in Atlantic City, USA.
But Barker, 29, will draw inspiration from the memory of Gary, who was killed in a car accident, aged 19, in December 2006.
The former British king, who almost quit following Gary’s death, is working on a book of his life and victory next weekend would be the perfect final chapter to a story that could end up being the latest hit film based on boxing.
But Barker insists he has not yet considered which film star would play him if his story ever ended up on screen.
He said: “I will think of Gary in those final moments in the changing room. I think about him before every session and even more so before the fight.
“Through my success, Gary’s name lives on. That will definitely go through my mind before the fight. He is with me all the time, when I’m making a cup of tea and when I’m in the ring.
“I’ve been working on a book for a couple of years now and we’re waiting to see where the journey ends.
“If I win next week it’ll make some movie. My journey has been quite a roller-coaster ride and I’m looking forward to it ending with victory.
“If the book became a movie, wouldn’t it be nice for Brad Pitt or Mark Wahlberg to play Darren Barker? I’m not sure which one I would prefer.
“But I am still creating the final chapter with the job at hand against Martinez.
“I actually feel quite proud of myself that I actually got back in the gym after what happened – and look where I have ended up.
“I am fighting the best in the world for a world title. I have always been mentally strong and don’t get fazed. That has helped put me in the right frame for this fight. I’m fully focused on October 1 because this is make or break for me.”
Barker has only fought twice in two years due to injuries but insists the shot at Martinez is not too soon and he is now the fittest he has been in years.
He said: “I know it is a bit of a cliché but this is the best I have ever felt. I am doing more training and doing things quicker.
“It is nice to be injury-free for a change as well. That has made a big difference.
“I can’t even remember the last time I was injury free.”