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Barry McGuigan

Titles: WBA featherweight champion 1985-1986

Record: 32-3 

Born: February 28, in Clones, Ireland 

Years active: 1981-1989

Nickname:  The Clones Cyclone

Barry McGuigan was more than just a boxer for the people of Ireland, he was a 
uniting force in a time of heavy tensions and fighting between Ireland's 
Catholics and protestants. Their slogan was "Let Barry do the fighting." Barry 
was one of the few boxers who was known to non-sports as well as hard core 
boxing fans the world over. McGuigan a Catholic showed the people of Ireland 
that they could live as one, since he was married to a protestant woman. Quite 
simply Barry represented both Northern and Southern Ireland, and it was said he 
could have been voted president of Ireland if only he had thrown his hat in 
that ring. McGuigan was solely responsible for the return of Ireland's King's 
Hall in Belfast which had been closed for 20 years. But Barry also boxed well 
to earn a place here and in 1985 was thought of as one of the best pound for 
pound boxers in the world. His was not a long or distinguished reign to be 
sure, but it did leave a lasting impression. His fights were exciting brawls in 
which McGuigan would force his style and will on his foes. Maybe I list him 
because it seemed he could have done so much more? Like others in boxing 
contractual problems seemed to zap McGuigan of his love for the sport. McGuigan 
was a pressure fighter who seemed as if he had crown up in Mexico instead of 
Ireland where the stand up boxing style was preferred. Barry would drive 
forward mixing head and body blows while forcing opponents into a corner with 
great footwork that seemed to cut of the ring almost instinctively. Once he had 
his opponents on the ropes he would rip off hard accurate shots to the body and 
head. McGuigan (one of 8 children) was mentored by his father who first allowed 
him to box at age 13 where he quickly showed the talent and work ethic to set 
him apart from the other boys. It was said Barry got his strength by carrying 
50 pound bags of potatoes with either hand in the family owned Grocery store. A 
great amateur career was highlighted by a Gold medal at the commonwealth games 
in 1978 among his many Irish amateur boxing awards. Barry had a disappointing 
ending to his amateur career when he was surprisingly beaten at the Moscow 
Olympics by Zambian Winfred Kabunda. But everyone saw that his pressuring style 
and bodywork was made more for the pro game. Turning pro in 1981 at the age of 
20 he faced a boxer with 58 pro bouts (losing 32) but still put him out in 2 
rounds. Barry was not immediately successful however and suffered a defeat in 
his third fight to Peter Eewbanks by a half a point (even after he dropped his 
opponent) on the referee's scorecard. Barry credited the loss for motivating 
him more and no longer relying on his natural talents alone. It must be the 
truth since he rattled off 11 straight wins on his way to a British 
featherweight title and he would not loose for another 5 years. In a horrible 
event before his British title win, McGuigan knocked out opponent Young Ali a 
solid Nigerian who lay in a coma for 5 months before dying. Barry after a bout 
with depression and much soul searching decided to go on boxing. In 1983 
McGuigan won the British title in easy and impressive fashion knocking out 
Vernon Penprase in two rounds for the vacant title in Belfast. In the same year 
McGuigan made his first venture to the United States beating Lavon McGowan in 
Chicago in a impressive first round knockout. Within two months of beating 
Penprase for the British title Barry would be in the ring fighting for European 
honors. Against Italian Valerio Nati he showed dominating power and speed to 
overwhelm him and win the vacant European featherweight title. In the fight 
Nati suffered 3 cracked ribs. McGuigan retained the title three times knocking 
all challengers out before the 6th round. McGuigan was a very hot property, 
people were clamoring for him to fight for a world title against either Azumah 
Nelson or Eusebio Pedroza. McGuigan ended up getting his shot against the 
reigning 7 year champ Pedroza who was making the 20th defense of  his title! 
But before the title shot Barry fought for 2 years against better than average 
boxers. He knocked all 9 of his opponents out in this run except for the classy 
Juan LaPorte. Dominican Jose Caba was the best win of 1984 for Barry. It was a 
move up in competition level but Barry showed after a slow start that he was 
just physically too dominant for most featherweights. 1985 was the watershed 
year for Barry. It started with a tough bout few thought he should take against 
former champion Juan Laporte, but McGuigan wanted to prove he belonged in the 
worlds elite. It was not easy to be sure and McGuigan was in deep trouble in 
the fifth round having to hold on to get out of the round. The rounds were 
close but McGuigan had the higher work rate and won 6 rounds on the referees 
scorecards. The only negative from the fight was that it broke Barry's 18 fight 
knock out streak. When he finally fought Pedroza it was not in his native 
Ireland as he had hoped, but he did manage to bring Pedroza to London which was 
also steadfast behind the popular McGuigan. The fight with Pedroza was much 
anticipated by the 25,000 at the venue and made McGuigan famous around the 
world. Perhaps that is why he did not pull out of the fight when he injured his 
left arm the week before the fight. Still McGuigan opened strong but the fight 
was close until Barry had Pedroza in deep trouble in the 7th round. From there 
Barry took the champion out of his fight plan by backing him up with solid body 
blows. Pedroza was rocked again by a hook in the 13th but his experience helped 
him escape. McGuigan in the last two rounds rode his pressure fighting style to 
a lopsided decision win on all three scorecards. The rounds were never one 
sided with good two way action but Barry proved to fit and strong for the 
veteran. After the fight Barry dedicated the victory to Young Ali, whose death 
Barry said he tought about every day. Barry returned to 100,000 thousand people 
lining the roads to welcome him home. McGuigan desperately wanted to reward his 
title in Ireland and in his first defense he did so against tough and unbeaten 
American Bernard Taylor in Belfast's King's Hall. Unlike his title win Barry 
started this fight slow and Taylor's handpeed had him winning the first 4 
rounds with ease. But the persistent body work would slowly pay off as McGuigan 
took charge from the 6th round on and ended the fight in the 8th. A second 
defense of the title was also tougher than thought as Danilo Cabrera took 
McGuigan in the 14th before wilting under the pressure. McGuigan signed to 
fight Fernando Sosa for his American debut in Las Vegas. The opponent fell out 
and little known Stevie Cruz was announced as his replacement. The preparation 
was said to be sloppy for the fight as managerial and ear problems kept McGuire 
out of camp for stretches. Another problem for the European McGuigan was the 
fight time temperature as he was not acclimated and suffered dehydration during 
the bout held in 110 degree (46 C) heat. Knowing he would need a quick finish 
McGuigan (a 5-1 favorite) came out fast looking for the early knockout which 
did not happen. As the fight dragged on it was plain to see that Cruz was 
getting stronger and the better of the action. The fight was still even and up 
for grabs entering the 10th round. From there Cruz took over (dropping Barry in 
the 10th) and McGuigan not used to fighting while backing up was in trouble. In 
the last round which decided the fight McGuigan could be heard to tell his 
cornermen "Say a prayer for me" as he walked back into the action. Barry was 
cut on both eyes, dropped 2 times in the 15th but still refused to be counted 
out. In the final tally Barry lost his title by only a 1 point margin on two of 
the scorecards. After losing the title things got worse for Barry as law suits 
began to hit him about his contract with manager Barney Eastwood. McGuigan 
would be out of the ring for 2 years fighting the various court cases instead 
of boxers. McGuigan was so upset with his former manager that he was 
instrumental in unionizing boxers in England. Finally Barry made his comeback 
at super featherweight in 1988 and scored 3 successive knockouts. While he did 
win, he was not nearly the same boxer that won the title from Pedroza. Maybe 
the death of his father (around this time) also played a role in his 
emotionless wins? After losing to Jim McDonnell on a cut eye the ever smart 
McGuigan who constantly studied films of himself and others saw what others did 
and retired. Much like tennis star of the time John McEnroe, Barry could not 
overcome 2 years of inactivity. At age 28 Barry retired. McGuigan (after trying 
his hand at race driving) now does color commentary for boxing events on 
British TV and Personal appearances. McGuigan also does a lot of charity work 
in England and Ireland.   

Barry McGuigan

Career Record: 32 W, 3 L (28 K.O's)


May 10	Selwyn Bell		Dublin			KO 2
Jun 20	Gary Lucas		Wembley, England	KO 4
Aug 3	Peter Eubanks		Brighton, England	L 8
Sep 22	Jean-Marc Renard	Belfast			W 8
Oct 27	Terry Pizzarro		Belfast			KO 4
Dec 8	Peter Eubanks		Belfast			KO 8


Jan 27	Luis De La Sagra	Belfast			W 8
Feb 8	Ian Murray		Mayfair, England	KO 3
Feb 23	Angel Olivar		Belfast			KO 3
Mar 23	Angelo Licata		Belfast			KO 2
Apr 22	Gary Lucas		Enniskillen, N. Ireland KO 1
Jun 14	Young Ali		Mayfair, England	KO 6
Oct 5	Jimmy Duncan		Belfast			KO 4
Nov 9	Paul Huggins		Belfast			KO 5


Apr 12	Vernon Penprase		Belfast			KO 2
May 22	Samuel Meck		Navan, Ontario		KO 6
Jul 9	Lavon McGowan		Chicago			KO 1
Oct 5	Ruben Herasme		Belfast			KO 2
Nov 16	Valerio Nati		Belfast			KO 6

Jan 25	Charm Chiteule		Belfast			KO 10
Apr 4	Jose Caba		Belfast			KO 7
Jun 5	Esteban Eguia		Kensington, England	KO 3
Jun 30	Paul DeVorce		Belfast			KO 5
Oct 13	Felipe Orozco		Belfast			KO 2
Dec 19	Clyde Ruan		Belfast			KO 4


Feb 23	Juan Laporte		Belfast			W 10
Mar 26	Farid Gallouze		Wembley, England	KO 2
Jun 8	Eusebio Pedroza         London			W 15
	(Wins WBA and World Featherweight Titles)
Sep 28	Bernard Taylor		Belfast			KO 9
	(Retains World Featherweight Title)


Feb 15	Danilo Cabrera		Dublin			KO 14
	(Retains World Featherweight Title)
Jun 23	Steve Cruz 		Las Vegas		L 15
	(Loses World Featherweight Title)


Apr 20	Nick Perez		Muswell Hill, England	KO 4
Jun 25	Francisco Tomas Da Cruz	Luton, England		KO 4
Dec 1	Julio Miranda		Edmonton		KO 8


May 31	Jim McDonnell		Manchester, England     KO by 4