BRAVE DAZ DEAD SET ON WORLD TITLE
Barker vows to complete Lazarus-style comeback
DARREN BARKER was beaten and left for dead 15 months ago – now he is three days away from being crowned the world’s top middleweight.
The unbeaten Barnet fighter is a massive 9/1 underdog to beat WBC diamond middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City on Saturday.
Boxing again is an achievement when Barker recollects a night out in June 2010 when he was savagely set upon by a gang of three thugs while trying to break up a fight in Watford town centre.
He was beaten with a broken bottle, kicked in the head and knocked unconscious, but the yobs walked free with slaps on the wrist.
Barker said: “It just shows that in this day and age there is no point in being a hero.
“I just saw something going on and felt sorry for the poor lad.
“I felt I should do something and ended up coming unstuck.”
Despite the horror assault and a major hip operation, Barker got his career back on track with ambitious promoter Eddie Hearn.
In his only fight under Hearn in April, he regained the European crown with a wide points decision over Italian Domenico Spada at London’s Olympia.
Barker, 29, has spent the last month training in Canada and faces Martinez head-to-head today at a glitzy New York press conference.
He accepts that only his family and closest friends give him a chance against the Argentinian superstar who has beaten men like Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams.
Daz added: “I am not taking this fight just to make up the numbers or for a good pay day. I genuinely believe I can win.
“I have dedicated my life to this sport since I was 12.
“In my teens I was in the gym giving blood, sweat and tears – learning my trade. I don’t even see myself as a massive underdog – as mad as that seems – because I know what I am capable of and nobody has seen the best of me yet.
“It will take someone as great as Sergio to get that out of me. Pound-for-pound lists are mythical but you have got Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr and him.
“If I am going to fight for a world title, I want to fight the best, and Martinez is number one in the middleweight division.”