BACK in late October, former three-time champion Iran Barkley was hospitalised for what was reported as a minor stroke. Today, Barkley says he is “felling great” and he also says he did not suffer a stroke, but instead fell victim to exhaustion and stress.
Q: We hear you have been out of hospital for a couple of weeks now, how are you and what exactly happened to you back in late October?
Iran Barkley: “I’m great right now, you can tell all my fans over in England that I’m good. It was nothing really, it wasn’t no stroke like they [the media] said it was. It was just a lot of stress and exhaustion – my brother had just passed, as well as my niece. But right now, yeah, I’m a hundred-percent good.”
Q: How long were you in hospital for and did any fellow fighters come and visit you?
I.B: “I was in the hospital for, er, about ten days. Yeah, I did a couple of interviews while I was there. I did get some fighters come visit me, the ones that care (Iran wanted to remain silent about who they were.)”
Q: Will you focus on being a boxing trainer now?
I.B: “Well, I’ve trained some people in the past, and I’ll see how it goes in the future. There are a few things I want to do. I’m not done with boxing, I could do some exhibitions and stuff like that. I’ll see.”
Q: And are you still working on your autobiography?
I.B: “Yeah, I’m getting closer and closer to putting that out. I have a couple of people working on that. I’m still looking to find the right [publisher] to put that out.”
Q: You had your pro debut back in December of 1982, a second-round stoppage of Larry Jordan at Atlantic City on December the 9th. Do you still remember that fight?
I.B: “Oh yeah, I still remember it real well. That was my days of coming up and working with Bob Arum. He never treated me real well though and he never paid me right. He paid me what he wanted to pay me for some tough, tough fights. I had some bad dealings with him, you know.”
Q: You feel boxing was tougher back in your day? Are you still a fan and which was the most recent fight you watched?
I.B: “I don’t really like watching fighters today, ’cos they ain’t me. I watched Manny Pacquiao’s last fight. I’m not a real big fan of Pacquiao but I will watch him. The thing is, Floyd Mayweather can beat him. He’ll [Mayweather] make big money from that fight because of his name. But there’s no way Pacquaio can beat him. They should have paid me some of that money, the kind they’ll get. (laughs)”
Q: Will that fight ever happen?
I.B: “I dunno. But if it does, Mayweather wins easy. They say times change and the money is different today, but times don’t change, it was just that Arum didn’t wanna pay me what was right – and I had way harder fights. The kind of money they’ll get, that’s what I should have been paid back in the day.”
Q: It’s great that you are fit and well again, Iran. Thomas Hearns sent out a message while you were in hospital, hoping for your speedy recovery. Are you and Tommy still friends?
I.B: “Yeah, that was good to hear at the time. Me and Tommy are still cool.”