25 February 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Darren Barker has set his sights on a mouth-watering middleweight clash with John Duddy.
Derry native Duddy is reportedly on the verge of securing a shot at the divisions number one, Kelly Pavlik.
However, Barker believes that the Irishman has yet to truly prove himself worthy of a world title tilt, arguing that Duddys box office appeal is greater than his actual boxing ability.
Johns obviously a very popular guy over there but I believe theres more to being a fighter than selling tickets and while there is a talk of a fight with Kelly Pavlik, I dont think John has earned that chance yet, he reasoned.
Im a traditionalist and I believe you should earn those kind of fights in the ring and not in the box office.
Id love to defend my title against Duddy. I think it would be a cracking fight with two unbeaten guys from this side of the Atlantic going at it on that side of the pond.
I know that Mick Hennessy has spoken to his management and while they were keen to fight on the card I dont think theyre all that keen on the idea of fighting me.
Indeed, Hennessy is doing all he can to secure his man a crack at Duddy.
Ive had talks with Duddys management and theyre looking to fight in late April but Im not interested in watching Duddy fighting another faded veteran and I find it hard to believe that his own fans are either, he stated.
I think its time Duddy stepped up to fight a dangerous, unbeaten fighter and prove he belongs at world level.
However, Barker is unsure if Duddy would be willing to risk his unbeaten record against him.
To be honest, Johns opposition to date has been very much hand picked, fighting a collection of guys that were either well past their best or werent much to begin with in the first place,” he claimed.
If he steps up and fights me hed face a very different type of opponent. I believe Im a world-class fighter and I think by the end of the year Ill be knocking on the door of a world title fight myself but I want to make sure Ive earned that right first.