Michael Nunn vs. Iran Barkley

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Nunn-Barkley 2172.jpg

1989-08-14 : Michael Nunn 159 lbs beat Iran Barkley 160 lbs by MD in round 12 of 12

  • IBF Middleweight Title (3rd defense by Nunn)

From Sports Illustrated:

IBF middleweight champion Michael Nunn might have vaulted to star status with an impressive win over Iran Barkley on Aug. 14 in Reno. Instead, Nunn forsook his usual ferocious style and danced through an unexciting 12-round decision to improve to 34-0. Promoter Bob Arum later grumbled that he had given Nunn a $1.25 million paycheck for a 99-cent performance.

Nunn performed better than the judges gave him credit for. One called the fight a draw; the other two thought Nunn won by only two and three points. But according to SI's Pat Putnam, who was at the bout, Barkley deserved to win three rounds at most. Judges and fans alike simply wanted to see a more savage Nunn.

Nunn may benefit from his less-than-sparkling showing. The big names—Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns—will now be more inclined to fight him. "We are not going to wait around for the winner of the Leonard-Duran fight to decide Tommy's future," says Hearns's manager, Emanuel Steward. "I told Tommy our best move was to fight Nunn, and he said go get him."

All Nunn needs to do now is leave his dancing shoes at home.

Preceded by:
Nunn vs. Kalambay
IBF Middleweight Title Fight
# 12
Succeeded by:
Nunn vs. Starling