As was the case with his former ring rival Roberto Duran, Iran Barkley is battling the coronavirus. Various reports say “The Blade” is currently in hospital, yet the 60-year-old said to Michael Woods of Bad Left Hook that he is doing pretty good and he expects to be released from the hospital soon.
Duran as we know made a full recovery and it is to be hoped the former three-weight world champion does the same. Barkley, like Duran, is a born fighter and he doesn’t know the meaning of ‘give up.’ Barkley says he cannot wait to get out of the hospital and “get back to business.”
As of just a couple of years ago, Barkley was still thinking and talking about fighting again. The warrior spirit still very much there, Barkley had endured financial problems over the years and this was perhaps the real reason he was looking at putting the gloves on once again. But Barkley has nothing to prove and it’s almost certain he will not box again.
Barkley did it all during his thrilling up and down ring career. Fans loved Barkley’s kill or be killed style. His epic wars with the likes of Thomas Hearns, Michael Olijade, Robbie Simms, and of course Duran earned the tough guy from The Bronx a special place in the hearts of fight fans the world over.
Champion at 160, 168 and 175 pounds, Barkley is the only man to have beaten the legendary “Hitman” twice – by sensational upset KO in 1988 and via hard and bloody 12 round decision in the 1992 return meeting. Both men gave their all in the March ’92 slugfest and in actuality, both champions should have called it a career after that savage fight.
But Barkley was finally in the big money, and his next big fight following the Hearns repeat win was a career-high $1 million of a fight with James Toney. Barkley had almost nothing left by the time of the February 1993 showdown, and Toney was far too sharp for him. Even in this fight, though, Barkley would not quit; his trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad having to wave the white flag on behalf of his fighter.
Barkley is not going to let a little thing like Covid get the better of him. “The Blade” has way too much heart and sheer fighting soul for that.
Get well soon, Champ.