Iran Barkley hospitalized after suffering stroke
Three-division titlewinner Iran Barkley, owner of two victories over Thomas Hearns, was hospitalized on Wednesday with a minor stroke after having a seizure at his Bronx home, his niece, Barbara Wilder, told The New York Daily News.
A winner of middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight titles who is known as “The Blade,” Barkley, 54, is “talking,” eating and “can walk around” in a room at Lincoln Medical Center, in New York City, according to Wilder.
Barkley is alert after having collapsed in his home on Wednesday, according to Wilder. Barkley was “stressed out” from worrying about a brother, Alibay Barkley, as well as a niece Nicola Barkley, each of whom are suffering from lung cancer, according to The New York Daily News.
Discovered in his apartment by a girlfriend, who called for help, Barkley is scheduled for more medical testing on Friday. For precautionary reasons, Barkley is expected to remain hospitalized for several more days before being discharged.
“I think that, first and foremost, Iran Barkley is a great guy. He’s such a good guy and a wonderful guy to be around,” Hearns told RingTV.com on Thursday evening.
“I’ve never had nothing bad to say about him, regardless of what happened in those fight. I will always speak nice about him because he’s a good guy who has always treated me right.”
By the time Hearns faced Barkley in June 1988, “The Hitman’s'” punching power already had become legendary.
“I knew Iran was just a really hard, tough guy,” said Hearns. “I knew he was a really determined buy, whether you’ve got him beat or not.”
Barkley was cut and trailing badly against Hearns when he rallied for a third-round knockout victory. Barkley dropped Hearns in Round 3 to become the WBC’s middleweight titleholder. It was THE RING’s Upset of the Year.
Barkley lost the 160-pound belt in his very next bout by split decision to Roberto Duran in February 1989. Barkley-Duran was THE RING magazine’s Fight of the Year for 1989. Almost three years later, Barkley’s second-round stoppage of Darren Van Horn earned him the IBF’s super middleweight belt.
In his very next bout, Barkley rose into the 175-pound division for a split-decision victory over Hearns, earning the WBA’s light heavyweight belt in March 1992.
“Iran Barkley gave me two awesome fights, because I had him nearly out both times,” said Hearns, who turned 56 on Oct. 18. “But, then, I got careless both times. He ended up stopping me the first time and then beating me the second time.”
Hearns’ message of encouragement for Barkley?
“God’s got you, and I’ll keep praying for you,” said Hearns. “Tell him God’s got him, and I’ll see him when he gets out of the hospital.”
DARLEYS PEREZ 132, JAIDER PARRA 134.2
Lightweight Darleys Perez (30-1, 19 KOs) weighed 132 compared to 134.2 for rival Jaider Parra (23-1-1, 12 KOs) in advance of Friday’s bout at the Coliseo Universidad Del Norte in Barraquilla, Colombia.
Perez’s unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Argenis Lopez in June represented his second consecutive victory since falling by unanimous decision to Yuriorkis Gamboa in June 2013.
Parra, 31, has won three straight, two by knockout, since losing by fifth-round stoppage in May 2013 to THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior lightweight Takashi Uchiyama, the WBA’s 130-pound titleholder. In his last fight in August, Parra unanimously decisioned Marco Lopez.