History

On This Day: Eternally underrated Sumbu Kalambay hands Iran Barkley a boxing lesson

Iran Barkley
Sumbu Kalamabay takes the WBA middleweight title that had been stripped from Marvin Hagler

SUMBU KALAMBAY w pts 15 IRAN BARKLEY
October 23, 1987; Palazzo Dello Sport, Livorno, Italy
SUMBU KALAMBAY is often overlooked when historians name the best middleweights of the post-Marvin Hagler era. But when one considers that Kalambay defeated Herol Graham (twice), Mike McCallum, Steve Collins and Iran Barkley it’s clear that he shouldn’t be. The silky Italian’s idol was Muhammad Ali and against the free-swinging, rough and tough (and let’s not forget, very good) Barkley, Kalambay showed off his extensive repertoire in the final WBA middleweight title fight to be scheduled for 15 rounds. More educational than exciting, Kalambay displays exactly why he was very hard to beat to lift the vacant belt.

DID YOU KNOW? The WBA title had been stripped from Hagler after he signed a contract to fight Sugar Ray Leonard instead of mandatory contender, Herol Graham. Kalambay upset Graham in an EBU title fight – which was a crazy fight for “Bomber” to take, with hindsight – to get the shot at the vacant crown.

WATCH OUT FOR: Kalambay’s use of the left jab is hard to fault. By the end of the bout, Barkley is bruised, bloodied and well beaten.

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