IRAN BARKLEY

Inducted on November 9, 2000

Iran Barkley is a five time world champion who made his name with a third round knockout win over Thomas Hearns in Las Vegas in 1988. Before he fought Hearns, the champion’s trainer Emanuel Steward knew Barkley had the attitude to be dangerous. “He’s not that skillful, but he just don’t give a damn.” Sure enough, battered and on the brink of defeat, Barkley found the right hand to drop Hearns on his back. Seconds after regaining his feet, Hearns was rescued by the referee. Four years later, Barkley became the only man to defeat Hearns twice, when he out pointed him over 12 rounds to win the WBA Lightheavyweight title. This victory also made Barkley a member of an elite group of fighters who have won world titles in three separate weights. Nicknamed “The Blade,” he was taught to box in the Bronx by his sister Yvonne. Barkley was one definitely to avoid, he showed that by destroying Darrin Van Horn in two rounds to win the IBF 168-pound belt, and followed that by beating Hearns the second time.

Trainers: Al Bolden, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad
Manager: John Reetz
Cutman: Eddie Aliano
Iran Barkley Photo Gallery

Fact File:
1960 Born in the Bronx, NY
1988 Stopped Hearns to win WBC Middleweight title
1992 Won IBF Super Middleweight title against Darrin Van Horn
1997 Beat Hearns again to win WBA Lightheavyweight title

Amateur Accomplishments

  • 1981 Middleweight Silver Medalist at the New York Golden Gloves, losing to Dennis Milton.
  • 1981 Middleweight Gold Medalist at the Empire State Games.
  • 1982 Middleweight Silver Medalist at the United States Amateur Championships, losing to Michael Grogan.
  • 1982 Middleweight Bronze Medalist at the Copenhagen Box Cup.
  • 1982 Middleweight Bronze Medalist at the World Amateur Championships in Munich.

Professional Career

  • Has a record of 3-6 (2 KOs) in World Title fights.
  • Has a record of 4-8 (3 KOs) against former world titleists.
  • In his first world title fight, Barkley fought Sumbu Kalambay for the vacant WBA Middleweight Championship on October 23, 1987, and lost by a fifteen-round unanimous decision.
  • On June 6, 1988, Barkley fought Thomas Hearns for the WBC Middleweight Championship. Barkley, a 4-1 underdog, lost the first two rounds and was badly cut over both eyes. Hearns looked to be on the verge of stopping the challenger in the third round when Barkley landed a big right hand to the chin. Hearns toppled backward and Barkley followed with another right that sent him to the floor. Hearns struggled to get up, but he managed to beat referee Richard Steele‘s count. Barkley landed several more shots and Hearns went through the ropes. Steele stopped it at 2:39 of the third round. The fight was named 1988 Upset of the Year by The Ring Magazine.
  • Barkley defended the WBC Middleweight Championship against Roberto Duran on February 24, 1989. Duran dropped Barkley in the eleventh round and won by a twelve-round split decision. The fight was named 1989 Fight of the Year by The Ring Magazine.
  • Barkley lost to IBF Middleweight Champion Michael Nunn by a twelve-round majority decision on August 14, 1989.
  • On August 18, 1990, Barkley fought WBO Middleweight Champion Nigel Benn and was stopped in one round. It was his third straight loss.
  • Barkley stopped Darrin Van Horn in two rounds to win the IBF Super Middleweight Championship on January 10, 1992.
  • On March 20, 1992, Barkley defeated Thomas Hearns by a twelve-round split decision to win the WBA Light Heavyweight Championship.
  • Barkley received the 1992 Comeback of the Year award from The Ring Magazine.
  • Barkley lost the IBF Super Middleweight Championship to James Toney on February 13, 1992. Toney battered Barkley and the fight was stopped after the ninth round.
  • In training at Gleason’s Gym for another comeback attempt in 2014 at age 54 to raise money for an ill relative. <ref>http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/iran-blade-barkley-eyes-boxing-return-age-54-article-1.1819793</ref>

“Bronx boxing champ’s tumble from $5M glory to homeless woe” by Candice M. Giove, New York Post, November 21, 2010

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