Barker's In-Ring Slip of No Concern, He's in The Zone

By Mitch Abramson
In the final round of his sparring on Monday, Darren Barker slipped on the ring mat and fell flat on the canvas. He got up flexing his right ankle and then resumed sparring, seemingly fine. His handlers outside the ring let out a deep sigh of relief. Barker, making his first appearance stateside in 23 fights, faces Sergio Martinez on Saturday in Atlantic City for Martinez’s WBC Diamond middleweight title. It's by far the biggest fight of Barker’s career.

Though his stay in the spotlight may be brief, he’s made a good impression in his time here. The slip on the canvas was the only awkward move he made during a media session on Monday at the Mendez Boxing Gym in Manhattan. If bold statements and a friendly personality are indicators, then Barker should do more than hold his own against Martinez.

The British fighter has talked a good game in the run-up to his bout, finding a friendly ally in the boxing media and charming whoever has stuck a tape recorder in his space. In a free-flowing session with the media on Monday, he touched on a smattering of topics, from the deeply personal, like his brother's death in a car accident, to his belief that Martinez’s power is overrated, to why he will seize the opportunity on Saturday.

Like another British import, Carl Froch of Nottingham, Barker (23-0) is an engaging personality. Even if Martinez exposes Barker to be a regional club fighter who can’t hang with the sport’s elite, at least he made the most of the opportunity in his time promoting the fight. Now, we’ll see on Saturday if he can really fight. Following six fluid rounds of sparring, and with his right ankle apparently fine, Barker explained where he gets his confidence from and why he won't be overwhelmed with the spotlight on Saturday on HBO.

“Boxing being that- it’s probably the only thing that I’m really good at doing,” Barker said with a smile. “Why should I worry or be nervous or not be confident about what I can do? When I step through those ropes on Saturday, that’s when I’m in my element. That’s what I do. That’s what I’ve dedicated my life as a boy, becoming man, and that’s one time when I can relax and I’m in the zone and I do what I do.”

Mitch Abramson covers the boxing for the New York Daily News and

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Sage84 on 09-29-2011

Yeah, I hope Barker does himself justice. I would love to see him go in there and fight his heart out and give Martinez fight! I like Barker, always have, I just don't think he'll win. If he does though…

Comment by nycsmooth on 09-28-2011

I hope Barker aquits himself well, and gentlemanly...

Comment by UglyPug on 09-28-2011

lets have a go barker! lets have 'em!!! PROVE ME WRONG!!! PLEEAASEE prove me wrong!

Comment by MartinC on 09-28-2011

I will be cheering for Barker but I doubt he will win.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (4)
Top Headlines Kovalev-Marcus Browne Deal Done for HBO Bout; Date Not Set Arum: Felix Verdejo Very Disappointing; It's a Lack of Discipline Felix Valera, Luis Lebron Grab Knockout Wins in Santo Domingo Sam Soliman, Wes Capper Fight To a Twelve Round Draw Ryuya Yamanaka Retains WBO Strap, Canizales Wins WBA Belt Photos: Gvozdyk Earns WBC Shot, Michael Conlan Excites Crowd Joe Joyce-Dereck Chisora Likely To Be Confirmed For Bellew-Haye Photos: Jose Ramirez Breaks Down Amir Imam For WBC Belt Roach: Linares Has Fight Left in Him; Might Be Too Old for Loma Photos: Antonio Lozada Drills, Stops Felix Verdejo in Shocker Photos: Joe Joyce With Crushing One-Punch KO of Donnie Palmer CompuBox: Jose Ramirez's Pressure, Power Shots Was Difference Robert Helenius Wins Split Decision Over Yury Bykhautsou Gvozdyk: I Want The Stevenson vs. Jack Winner in My Next Fight! Giovanni Cabrera Mioletti Shocks Ray Lampkin With KO in Two Lozada: I Knew I Would KO Felix Verdejo, I Went For it in Tenth Cristian Mijares Gets Stoppage Win Over Fernando Saucedo Jaime Munguia Knocks Out Johnny Navarrete in The Third Roach: Ramirez Won Every Round, 2 Judges Should Be Investigated! Don King: Imam Didn't Throw Enough, Ramirez Was Relentless Michael Conlan Demolishes David Berna in Two Rounds Jose Ramirez Lands Gold, Decisions Amir Imam For WBC Title Jose Ramirez vs. Amir Imam - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Gvozdyk Wins Tough Decision Over Amar, in Line For WBC Shot Ramirez: I'm Ready To Fight Best, No Matter What Critics Think Yeison Cohen Passes Away After KO Loss Earlier This Month Antonio Lozada Drops, Stops Felix Verdejo in Tenth Round Joe Joyce Destroys Donnie Palmer With Big Knockout in One Christopher Diaz Wins by TKO, Rodriguez Suffers Hand Injury Jose Pedraza Sheds Rust, Pounds Out Decision Over Rodriguez Whittom Dies After Being in 10 Month Coma Following KO Loss McKinley: Ramirez Doesn't Have Power, Imam By Far Best Opponent Danny O'Connor, Steve Claggett To Collide at House of Blues Roach: Imam Isn't Anything Special; Ramirez Should Stop Him Virgil Hunter Hospitalized Due To Health Scare, Recovering Jose Ramirez: I Learned So Much Working With Pacquiao, Cotto Sam Maxwell Moves To 6-0, Returns In Belfast Next Month Jose Ramirez vs. Amir Imam: Stats & Stakes Prograis Leaning Toward Ramirez Over Imam in '50-50 Fight' Don King: Imam Will Knock Out Ramirez; Give Us Pacquiao Next

Latest Active Forum Threads