The Belfast flyweight was stopped to the body at the end of the fourth round of his title challenge at Windsor Park versus champion Cristofer Rosales.
While he was giving up size, strength, age, and pro experience to the tough Nicaraguan, Barnes did give a good account of himself while the fight lasted.
The speed, skill, and tenacity of the double Olympic bronze medallist saw him enjoy success in some close-quarters exchanges before a perfect shot to the solar plexus put him down for the count – and then some.
The defeat inevitably led to post-fight post-mortems and many suggested that it was too soon for 31-year-old Barnes.
While he admits that he is “still a bit gutted,” Barnes believes that he was more than holding his own before the finish
He described how “it was a fight that was only really starting, both of us were only really warming into the fight and he caught me with a lovely bodyshot.”
“For me, I thought, in the fight, that it was slow paced. I was still trying to work him out and I think he was trying to work me out too because of my speed. I didn’t think the pace was that high.”
“Technically I was better. He was tough. People say I can’t punch but I can punch and he just looked at me.”
The short uppercut inside that finished the fight would most likely have knocked the stuffing out of most and Barnes views it as just one of those things.
“It is what it is,” he lamented. “He could have caught me in the tenth or the eleventh, I was never getting up, I was sore for about an hour afterwards.”
“It was a perfect shot, I was throwing at the same time and it’s just one of those things, I got caught, it is what it is.
“Okay, I lost in four rounds but it was a freak shot that could have happened to anyone.”
“Rosales could’ve caught me with that shot in the twelfth round and it would’ve been the same thing but I do feel I’m at that level.”
Levels is one of the most-used terms in boxing and world level is a realm which Barnes wants to remain in.
The Cliftonville little man has vowed to continue his chase for a world title and does not intend to rebuild at British or Commonwealth title – which is bad news for stablemate Sunny Edwards who has recently restarted calling for a fight with the Irish star.
The WBC belt may become vacant in the near future, with Rosales expressing his desire to move up and face Thai pound-for-pound star Srisaket Sor Rungvasai. The WBO title is held by Sho Kimura who is a big underdog for his title defence versus fellow Japanese fighter Kosei Tanaka next month. The WBA strap is in the possession of Ukrainian Artem Dalakian while the IBF was recently won by South African and Barnes call-out victim Moruti Mthalane.
Barnes is keen to get in the mix and reasoned that “people say I should have gone the conventional route but I think I’m past that already.”
“I don’t aspire to be a Commonwealth champion, I don’t aspire to be a European champion, all I care about is world titles, I don’t care about nothing else.”
“The most thing that I’m gutted about is that it was for the WBC belt, the best belt in boxing, it’s hard to get that fight again so I will push on and try to get a different belt.”
“I hope to have another two fights this year. A few weeks off then straight back into it again.”
“I’m definitely world level. I want another world title shot in the near future. If I could fight for a world title next, I’m all or nothing so I’d say ‘let’s go for it’.”
“If I get beat again, so what? At least I tried.”