This Day in Atlantic City Boxing History – Roberto Duran vs. Iran Barkley

Written by Rob Scott

Steel vs. Stone for the WBC Middleweight Championship

Atlantic City – On this night, Top Rank Inc., along with Trump Plaza brought  the fight fans “Steel vs. Stone” – Iran Barkley vs. Roberto Duran for the WBC Middleweight Championship  to Atlantic City’s Convention  Center.

Duran vs. Barkley

Barkley, making the first defense of his title that he won eight months earlier with a spectacular third round stoppage of The “Hit Man” Thomas Hearns, was set as a 2 1/2 to 1 favorite to beat the Panamanian legend.

Up Against It

The main reason for odds was not only their nine year age differential and Duran’s reputation for not taking care of himself between fights, but also because of the sensational second round knockout Duran suffered at the hands Hearns some years before.

Duran vs. Barkley Stats

The younger, stronger and seemingly better conditioned Barkley took it to the aging ring vet early, but as the fight went on it was Barkley who was forced to fight with the handicap of a very swollen eye and Duran’s resilience.

Duran took the best that Barkley came with, even making him miss quite a few shots. Over time, the haul Barkley had to endure became a long one, with he himself wearing down.

One Blow Changes Everything

While the fight was still in many ways up in the air, in the eleventh round Duran made a separation, landing a combination that dropped the defending champion for a six count.

That knockdown had Barkley still trying to gather his senses at the bell, with him having problems finding his corner.

The fight eventually went the distance with Duran being awarded a split decision victory on scores of 118-112, 116-112 and 113-116.

The victory made Duran a four division world champion and while his greatness was already solidified, this victory added icing.

Duran Victory

All-in-all, It was a great night for the legendary “Hands Of Stone” –  but an even better night for Atlantic City boxing history.

Olympians Make Their Pro Debuts
Also on this night, four 1988 Seoul Olympic Medalists made their professional debuts.

Gold Medalist (Heavyweight) and future ACBHOF inductee, “Merciless” Ray Mercer scored a 3rd round TKO over Jesse McGhee, (5-2, 3KOs).

Silver Medalist (Light Flyweight), Michael Carbajal defeated future IBF Light Flyweight Champion, Will Grigsby ( with a 4th round unanimous decision.

Bantamweight Olympic Gold Medal winner, Kennedy McKinney, defeated David Alers (3-4-1, 1KO), by 2nd round TKO.

Light heavyweight Gold Medal winner, Andrew Maynard, defeated Zack Worthy, who was also making his pro debut.

Disclaimer: All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is not liable for any errors or omissions in this information. Any opinions or inquiries that you may have you can forward them to Rob Scott at

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