By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
DARREN BARKER told promoter Eddie Hearn he was finished after losing his IBF world middleweight title to Felix Sturm.
Sturm captured Barker's belt for his fourth reign as world champion after dropping the Londoner twice in the second round.
Barker was troubled by injury to his right hip from the opening round before he was floored first by a right to the temple.
The 31-year-old got up but was on unsteady legs when the German landed two more rights to put him back on the canvas.
He got up but Barker's trainer Tony Sims threw in the towel to end the Briton's first defence.
Hearn admits a London rematch clause in the fight contract looks unlikely to happen for Barker, who left the Porsche Arena on a stretcher.
He said: "His career is in the balance. He feels like it's the same injury that he had before.
"There's still a big fight to be had in London, but if Darren can't fight in the next six or seven months, I'm pretty sure he will not fight again.
"I don't think he will have the desire in a year out of the sport to be able to come again.
"My gut feeling is that could be it for him. He's not going to go into a rematch half-heartedly, he would rather just quit."
Barker, who earned a career high £1m purse after winning the title from Aussie Daniel Geale in August, has had operations on both hips before.
He will have a scan today to discover the extent of the injury before making an announcement.
Barker said: "I don't want to put the blame on the hip, he beat me fair and square.
"When I hit the deck it felt like the hip popped out."Tags: Darren Barker , Eddie Hearn