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#1
Old 11-22-2010, 08:18 AM
led
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Default Bronx boxing champ's tumble from $5M glory to homeless woe

Quote:
The champ answers his flip phone and can't figure out where he is. All he knows is it's a motel room.
"Don't hang up, don't hang up," he tells the caller. They're supposed to meet.
He bolts from the room's stale air and across the hallway, anxiously asking other guests, "Where's this hotel at?"
Now frantic, he plods down a set of stairs, finds the reception clerk and gets the address. It's the Howard Johnson Express Inn on Boston Road in The Bronx.
He has nowhere else to go.
Iran "The Blade" Barkley -- once a legendary ring warrior with a half-dozen championship belts -- is homeless.
It's a stunning fall from his pinnacle of glory, a night in 1988 when the sweat-lacquered Barkley pummeled another fearsome puncher, Tommy Hearns, winning one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
He stood at the edge of the ropes that night in Las Vegas, broadly grinning after brawling his way to the WBC middleweight championship in three fierce rounds.
He went on to fight another epic battle, against Roberto Duran, in 1989 but lost in 12. Three years later he beat Hearns again, winning the WBA light heavyweight championship. Altogether he went 43-19-1 and won six titles, including the heavyweight belt when he beat Gerrie Coetzee in 1997.
With success came for tune. Barkley's $5 million in career earnings afforded all the finer things in life: a custom Mer cedes, shiny jewelry and fur coats. He rented a pad in Hackensack and put money down on a house for himself and his family in Nyack.
"I had $40,000 cash in the closet," he recalled.
"I used to keep money in the house. That's the way I am. I hate to go to banks and get money."
Barkley, 50, steps into the dim hotel lobby wearing his hopelessness. He's dressed in faded, baggy jeans and a fraying sweater. A wool hat covers his head. Gray stubble covers his unshaven face.
Over breakfast of eggs and grits, he caustically relates that a niece tossed him out of their three-bedroom apartment in the Patterson Houses project on Third Avenue and 142nd Street in The Bronx, where his mother, Georgia, raised him.
"If someone got in trouble or they didn't have a place to stay, they always came there," he said. "My mother's door was always open."
Unable to contribute to the household for months, Barkley came home last week to find his niece had changed the locks.
With nowhere to turn, he slept on the No. 6 train that night as it rattled between Pelham Bay Park and the City Hall station. He rose when a man recognized him. Barkley reached into his pocket and pulled out a boxing card featuring a younger, muscular version of himself.
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/b...fz6lbxUKTXNavM
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#2
Old 11-22-2010, 08:20 AM
led
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Quote:
"He signed an autograph and laid back down," said his longtime friend Mike Bernard. "That's the kind of guy he is."
Boxing is all the Morris HS dropout knows. He first slipped on a pair of gloves at age 14 at St. Mary's Gym on St. Anne's Avenue and fell in love with the melodic thud of the speed bag.
During the 1980s and '90s, the fighter frittered away millions. He bought a Lexus 300 and the latest-model Infiniti. But it wasn't all about himself. He gave to family and friends and threw block parties with pony rides for kids in the South Bronx.
Back in hotel room 301, with its sagging ceiling, peeling wallpaper and a view of the rumbling elevated train, Barkley takes stock of what's left: five pennies sit on the nightstand near the unmade bed. Two old suitcases rest on the floor next to a pair of black dress shoes and a pair of sneakers.
His other belongings remain inside an apartment he can no longer call home.
He's sold two of his championship belts, and his precious middleweight belt is lost, possibly stolen.
RIGHT now, the only souvenir of his box ing is a swollen bulge of flesh above his left eye.
Barkley's last fight -- a sixth-round TKO loss to Keith McKnight at the Lady Luck Casino in Lula, Miss. -- was 11 years ago. But like so many other fighters, he'd like to get back in the ring.
He works out at famed Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn or at the Aaron Davis Gym in The Bronx. The Post was with him at the latter last week.
After changing into a shirt that reads "pugilist," he borrows yellow wraps for his hands.
Barkley begins a lonely dance around the ring, ducking and punching an invisible opponent.
After going for six rounds, he looks sullen.
"The workout was good. I'm just thinking about everything else, all this depressing stuff," he says, now bundled up outside.
"I'm thinking about how to bail myself out of this mess."
He revisits his career's unraveling with resentment, saying people like promoter Bob Arum low-balled him.
"I didn't see $5 million all at once, like [Sugar] Ray Leonard -- all these guys who got to see $20 and $30 million and $10 million in one lump."
Barkley believes he also missed out on a massive purse because Leonard, considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, ducked him.
And losing by a judges' split decision to Duran, the Panamanian great, was the result of "the politics of this game," he simmers.
"I couldn't win that fight because Ray wasn't going to fight me," he says. "They needed my belt."
After the loss, his next fight's purse was $6,000, he says. Duran's was $10 million.
He's filled his time out of the ring at the gym or at schools inspiring young boxers, his friends said.
He picks up cash at autograph shows. For now, he subsists on a circle of pals who offer him meals or pay for a few nights in a motel.
"We're just praying that someone comes out of the woodwork to help him," said friend Mike Trapani, also a former fighter.
Barkley climbs the carpeted staircase at the Howard Johnson Express Inn and walks to the end of the hall. He enters the tiny room to take a shower before a friend picks him up for dinner.
His somber mood is tinged with hope.
"Yeah, I'm homeless," the champ said, "but I mean it ain't gonna keep me down.
------------------------
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#3
Old 11-22-2010, 08:24 AM
led
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happy boxingscene bday son! - HUGH JASS On 10300 solid KO's.. - !! AI-Holmes!! No Message - MELLY-MEL... ATG poster! - sweetpea87 10,500 here's a cookie...even doe i never got a gift from you when i hit 13k in one year - jose830 
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barkley seems so bitter in his past.
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#4
Old 11-22-2010, 09:21 AM
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Where did all of his money go?
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#5
Old 11-22-2010, 11:57 AM
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Sad story to a very good fighter whom I for one liked and don't see how anyone couldn't.
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#6
Old 11-22-2010, 12:48 PM
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Its a sad tale

Makes the argument for a retirement fund to be mandatory for world champion boxers seem all the more relevant
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#7
Old 11-22-2010, 06:38 PM
led
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happy boxingscene bday son! - HUGH JASS On 10300 solid KO's.. - !! AI-Holmes!! No Message - MELLY-MEL... ATG poster! - sweetpea87 10,500 here's a cookie...even doe i never got a gift from you when i hit 13k in one year - jose830 
they don't offer any bongs in the e-store, so wine it is - Rockin' The Officially Unoffical Rumblin' Rockin' Medal of Honor - 2013 - Rockin' Mr. Congeniality :lol1: - jose830 love you too! - HUGH JASS To The C-Foundation! - Master Cvnt 
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where did all his money go? for sure, it was spent in a not so smart manner. i agree, that boxers should have mandatory retirement fund, not just in US, but internationally, for reason that not all boxers are smart when it comes to financial doings because most boxers are not that well-educated coz they make a career out of this sport due to poverty, IMO.
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:13 PM
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I hope barkley gets his life togeather he was a very excting fighhter, i would like to see iran in the ibhf he was a 3 weight world champion and had 2 wins over tommy hearns he is more than worthy of being in the hall of fame
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:46 PM
Scott9945
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The saddest thing about this is that it is a lot more common than it is rare. Many ex champions and top contenders are in similiar circumstances.
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