by Eric Raskin
It only takes one punch to end a fight. And it only takes one punch that nearly ends a fight to define a man's character.
British middleweight Darren Barker, who came up achingly short against lineal champion Sergio Martinez in his previous trip to Atlantic City, came through by the slimmest of margins in his return to the Jersey shore, winning a split decision over Daniel Geale by a single point. And halfway to the finish line, in a stirring sixth round, he was less than one second from defeat. Geale capped a mid-ring exchange with a single, crushing left hook to the liver, and Barker collapsed the canvas, his legs kicking in agony. It looked like he wasn't going to get up. But he willed himself to a standing position just barely on the bright side of referee Eddie Cotton's 10-count.
"He caught me right on the solar plexus, took my breath away from me," said Barker (26-1, 16 KOs). "When I was down on the ground, it was all going through my head—my wife, my family, my daughter. And it all made me get up."