Iran “The Blade” Barkley is a former professional boxer who held world titles in the middleweight, super-middleweight, light-heavyweight and super-heavyweight divisions. As a young man he ran with the street gangs in the South Bronx until his sister Yvonne, herself a professional boxer, stepped in. She took him to that boxing mecca, Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.
Iran Barkley is one of a small group of elite boxers able to win a series of world championships titles. At a time when boxing was considered the premier sport in the United States he was at the top of the game. Among the most memorable fights of the 20th century were Barkley’s epic confrontations with Thomas Hearns and a highly controversial split decision loss to Roberto Duran in Ring Magazine’s 1989 Fight of the Year.
Barkley’s personal story didn’t end there. His fighting career over, he fell on hard times. Homeless, he sold all his world title belts. With four daughters to support, Iran again turned to boxing to find direction in his life. Today he is living in the Bronx, a grandfather taking care of his growing family while actively training youth and being a ringside regular at profession and amateur bouts. His new goal, start a gym to train elite athletes along side inner city youth.
Barkley’s positive attitude and can-do approach are great motivators for all people. His journey from certain trouble or worse to the top of his profession is inspirational. He has the strength to pull himself together yet again, becoming the patriarch of a growing family and a risk taking entrepreneur. He is a role model who can motivate serious athletes to succeed and teach young people priceless life lessons. Don’t bet against this Hall of Fame Boxer becoming a Hall of Fame Trainer.