As fight fans almost certainly read, Bronx warrior Iran Barkley was recently hospitalized with Covid-19, the 60-year-old legend (yes, he deserves the accolade) reported to be in a stable condition.
Barkley fans were nonetheless hugely concerned, worrying for the former three-weight world champ.
Today, this writer was happy to be able to speak briefly with Barkley, who is out of the hospital and back at home resting up. Barkley never spoke much above a whisper, yet Iran assured me he is doing well.
Here is what Barkley had to say this afternoon:
Q: You are back home now, Champ?
“Yeah, I’m back home now and I’m doing fine,” Barkley said.
Q: All your fans, from all over the world, were thinking about you – you know that, right?
“Yeah, I do. I appreciate it. But I’m ok.”
Q: How long were you in the hospital for?
“I was in for seven days. It felt like I had the flu, only a little bit worse. I wasn’t on the ventilator. I know I’ll be ok. I’m not going out right now, I’m just at home now, resting.”
Q: As you know, Roberto Duran also kicked Covid’s ass, last year. Your former rival of course….
“(laughing) Yeah, I know. We’re cool.”
Q: As you know, the anniversary of your great fight with Duran is coming up – 32 years this month. Hasn’t time gone by real fast?
“Yeah, It don’t seem like 32 years. It has gone by too fast.”
Q: Now that you are home, what are your plans for when you are fully back on your feet?
“I’ll get back to the gym, training young fighters.”
Q: Passing on all your knowledge. You can train the next champ from The Bronx. That would be a great achievement.
“Yeah, that’s my plans.”
Barkley didn’t sound his usual self, yet the champ assures us he is doing well. As has already been written, it will take something more than the coronavirus to keep Barkley down.
One of the best and most courageous – not to mention most consistently exciting – fighters of the last 35 years, Barkley gave us so many special fights.
Barkley’s epics with Tommy Hearns, along with his super-special fight with Duran, will never be forgotten. Barkley won three legit belts during an era when it was a whole lot less easy to do it than it is today.