History

On This Day: Bombastic Nigel Benn beats Iran Barkley in a foul-filled one-round barnburner

Nigel Benn
Iran Barkley would go on to win titles at super-middle and light-heavy but it wasn’t his night against Nigel Benn

NIGEL BENN w rsf 1 IRAN BARKLEY
August 18, 1990; Bally’s, Las Vegas, NV
IRAN BARKLEY was two years removed from his shocking three-round victory over Thomas Hearns, his most recent win, when he fought Nigel Benn in 1990. Barkley had lost to Roberto Duran and Michael Nunn – both over 12 close rounds – and was denied permission by the British Boxing Board of Control to challenge the WBO middleweight champion in the UK due to a detached retina.

The Nevada commission gave Barkley the green light before the American lost his father to cancer one week before the fight. The American’s fortunes didn’t get any better here. Stunned, floored and clouted while on the canvas, Barkley managed to get up and visibly hurt his opponent. But Benn repeated the knockdown, and the foul, before decking Barkley for the third and final time.

DID YOU KNOW? It was announced before the fight that victory over Barkley would set up lucrative showdowns for Benn against Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. What came next was the ninth-round defeat to Chris Eubank.

WATCH OUT FOR: In the space of three minutes, Benn shows off his bombastic power, his love of a slugfest, his carefree approach to the rules, his propensity to make life difficult for himself and his underrated counter-punching ability.

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