The Iran Barkley Interview
Part I: Uncensored Interview
Iran ďThe BladeĒ Barkley is a five-time world champion who made his name with a third round knockout win over Thomas Hearns in Las Vegas in 1988. Before he fought Hearns, the championís trainer Emanuel Steward knew Barkley had the attitude to be dangerous. ďHeís not that skillful, but he just donít give a damnĒ. Sure enough, battered and on the brink of defeat, Barkley found the right hand to drop Hearns on his back. Seconds after regaining his feet, Hearns was rescued by the referee. Four years later, Barkley became the only man to defeat Hearns twice, when he out pointed him over 12 rounds to win the WBA Light heavyweight title. This victory also made Barkley a member of an elite group of fighters who have won world titles in three separate weights.
D.S.: How did you get involved with the sport of boxing?
I.B.: I first got involved with my sister. In the Bronx at St. Marys Gym. She was a street fighter. The whole family knew how to fight.
D.S.: I know the South Bronx produced some pro boxers. Who was around with you back in the days?
I.B.: Well you know we had a lot of guys. Gods bless the dead, Davey Moore. This other Spanish fighter I forgot his name. He died in the ring. Alex Ramos was here.
D.S.: What about Mitch ďBloodĒ Green? I heard that you hung around with him. Tell me about what you guys did back in your youth.
I.B.: Back in the days we hung back in the days. We were in Gangs together. The gang stuff lead us into boxing.
D.S.: What was the toughest thing about boxing? Was it the training, the actual fighting or the business? What did you dislike the most?
I.B.: I disliked the business of boxing. Business was like you do what you had to do. You train hard and do what you got to do and everybody is lying and cheating and telling you YO there is not enough money for this there is not any money for that. So you know you learn as you go on.
D.S.: Your promoter for most of your career was Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing. What could you tell me about him?
I.B.: While in my dealings with him, certain things he did and certain things he didnít do. I donít want to make this a racial thing, but I think he is a racist.
I.B.: Yeah I think he is a racist, I mean 10 years ago he had black and white fighters and Hispanic fighters. Now he claims he just cornered the Hispanic market. You know what Iím saying. How can you say you cornered the Hispanic market when you made all your money off black fighters? The only black fighter he had lately was Floyd Mayweather and he donít even have him now
D.S.: So you think he does not like black people and purposely does not promote black fighters.
I.B.: Yeah he donít like black fighters you know all the chances he had to help me, I was one of his prime fighters. You know he brought George Foreman back after 15 years. Why couldnít he bring me back after 15 years? He needed me when I had to do what I had to do when he didnít think it was sensible to have me. It didnít want me no more.
D.S.: Donít you think it was a matter of money? When you were in you prime he felt he could make money with you and when you were not in your prime he felt you could not make money. I think itís a money issue.
I.B.: Thatís bullshit. You know what Iím saying, at the time the only one who was getting payed was Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler and Hagler did not get payed until he fought Leonard. So me and Hagler were the only ones being abused. We were the two hard fighters in his stable. If Hagler did not fight John ďThe BeastĒ Mugabi I would have been the one to fight Mugabi, but Hagler took care of Mugabi and I took care of Tommy Hearns.
D.S.: Would you have liked to fight Marvin Hagler?
I.B.: If I had to fight Hagler I would have fought him. At that time Hagler was a little bit ahead of me.
D.S.: What do you think about the state of boxing today?
I.B.: The state of boxing today is that Iím the reason why these guys are getting payed today. Me and Hagler opened the doors for these guys getting payed the way they are getting payed. These ainít no fights today. Everybodys just getting payed. The fans are not getting what they want to see. These guys are not fighting. They are just getting payed and pampered. They want a lot of money and get a lot of money. There is only a handful that are earning their money but the rest of these guys are just getting payed.
D.S.: Whom would you pay to see, who would you buy a ticket to see?
I.B.: I would pay to see Bernard Hopkins. I would buy a ticket to see Floyd Mayweather and also to see Roy Jones Jr. Those are the guys I would pay to see.
Writers Note: Part II with my conversation with Iran will follow. Iran will talk about the myth of Sex and Boxing