The Belfast fighter was meant to bounce back from WBC world title defeat to Cristofer Rosales with victory in front of a large Irish crowd at Madison Square Garden and live on ESPN+.
However, he was upset by unheralded Oscar Mojica and speaking in the ring after the fight a bloodied Barnes, in one of the most honest and raw interviews ever seen from an Irish sportsperson, suggested retirement was a strong possibility.
The three-time Olympian’s clash with the Dallas native was highly entertaining clash.
Mojica’s superior size turned out to be a sizable advantage and a broken nose suffered by Barnes in the opening 10 seconds didn’t help.
However, a wounded physically and emotionally Barnes wasn’t looking for excuses and claimed, if he wasn’t good enough for Mojica then he wasn’t good enough to win a world title – and, if that’s the case, why carry on?
“To be honest, I will probably retire now,” the two time Olympic bronze medal winner told ESPN in a searingly honest interview.
“Is there any real point in boxing on after a defeat like that? The fans were great, but at the end of the day it’s my health.”
“From the first round, he broke my nose, and hurt my left eye, I couldn’t see.”
“If I am going to box like that then what’s the point in boxing any more?”
“I strongly think it is [the end of my career].”
“I always thought if I lost again I would retire, albeit I jumped up to bantamweight to fight him.”
“Bantamweight, I am too small for bantamweight.”
Considering he lost on a split, Barnes may have tried to argue he was hard done by. However, the ever-honest and straight-talking figure was never going to try take the excuses route.
Indeed, the amateur boxing legend all but chastised the three scoring judges for having it close, claiming his Texan foe won every round.
“To be honest, I don’t know how the judges scored it close because I thought he won every round.”
“I was basically in survival mode after he broke my nose because I could hardly see. He was bigger and stronger than me.”
“The fight wasn’t even close.”
“I took this fight to get back to winning ways after what happened in my last fight, I’ve been out of the ring nearly a year,” he said, as well as admitting that a second round knockdown ruled a slip by the referee was indeed genuine.
“He caught me with a great shot, the body shot. It was a legitimate shot, he hurt me with it.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) March 17, 2019