Darren Barker has discussed his first foray into world-class when the former world champion took on a certain Sergio Martinez in the United States.
Unproven at that time, the Londoner headed across the Atlantic as a massive underdog, going down in eleven rounds of a gallant effort.
‘Dazzling’ Darren just wishes he’d had more confidence in himself in Atlantic City after admitting the sheer size of the task may have played a big part in the October 2011 reverse.
“I’ve never felt more nervous or under pressure in the States. I think a big part of that was the experience of fighting all over the world as an amateur,” Barker told Chris Algieri on The Rounds.
“I flew into New York with Eddie Hearn. We were in and out for the Martinez press conference. But I remember the American’s almost laughing at me for showing any confidence.
“That’s even though I was undefeated and European champion, I just hadn’t fought anybody. I was confident in my ability, but it was the unknown.
“I had sparred hundreds of rounds with Carl (Froch), an elite level fighter. But it’s still sparring.
“I knew I was capable of being in there with elite fighters. But I didn’t quite understand where I was at the time.
“I don’t have any regrets looking back at my career. But I have a slight one looking back at that fight because I think if I had believed in myself a little more, been more aggressive and forced the action more, then potentially I could have caused a huge upset.
“I’m not saying that it would have happened. I just wished I gave it a bit more.”
Concluding with a story on how a green pair of trousers made it into the equation, Barker said: “The whole build-up was just the reason I chose boxing.
“I was on top of a huge skyscraper in New York for the presser and thinking, ‘this is it, I’ve made it’.
“I was walking up 5th Avenue with Eddie. We walked past a shop with bright green trousers in the window.
“Eddie said, ‘You should buy them. Wear them at the press conference for a laugh!’ I said, ‘No chance, I wouldn’t be seen dead in them!’
“We got to the press conference and Sergio Martinez was wearing that exact pair of trousers!”
Listen to The Rounds with Chris Algieri on the Matchroom Boxing YouTube Channel