Finbar Patrick 'Barry' McGuigan MBE (born 28 February 1961) is an Irish retired professional boxer and current boxing promoter. Born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, McGuigan was nicknamed The Clones Cyclone and became the WBA and lineal featherweight world champion. He was very popular with Irish and British audiences, representing neutrality and peace in a time when Northern Ireland, where he lived, was divided by The Troubles. In 2005 he was inducted into the international boxing hall of fame.
Barry McGuigan was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland. His father was singer Pat McGuigan (died 1987). Pat McGuigan sang "Danny Boy" before several of his son's matches. This inspired the Hacienda Brothers' song "If Daddy Don't Sing Danny Boy", written by boxer and musician Chris Gaffney.
As an amateur, McGuigan represented Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton in 1978 and represented Ireland at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He became a British citizen so that he could compete for British titles.
During his professional career, McGuigan fought at a number of venues in Ireland and Britain. He attracted an enormous following in the mid-1980s, particularly to the King's Hall in Belfast which he regularly filled to capacity. McGuigan is a Roman Catholic, and at a time when Catholics and Protestants were clashing during The Troubles, he married a Protestant, Sandra, and they remain married after some three decades.
McGuigan stated that the support he received from both Protestants and Catholics in Ireland was because:
"[the] shadows ran deep. And my fights felt a little like sunshine. Both sides would say: 'Leave the fighting to McGuigan.' You see, it was also entertainment – people loved to forget the Troubles a while. The fact that I wouldn't wear green, white and gold or put on a sign that said this is who I represent was powerful. It was a very mature and dangerous thing to do. I wouldn't choose sides. People appreciated that."
As a non-sectarian sporting ambassador for Northern Ireland, he drew on the experience of Joey Dunlop and George Best. He and his wife have both been patrons for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
McGuigan began his juvenile boxing career at the Wattlebridge Amateur Boxing Club, County Fermanagh and later moved to the Smithborough Amateur Boxing Club, County Monaghan. Under the guidance of trainers Danny McEntee and Frank Mulligan he rapidly established himself as an exceptional boxer. He won the All Ireland Amateur Championship in 1976 having defeated Martin Brereton. Notable opponents during his teenage years included Dubliner James Coughlan, whom he defeated at the age of 15, as well as Gordon McNeil (of Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne) and Eric Clarke (of Hackney, London).
McGuigan represented Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton 1978 and represented Ireland at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He decided to turn professional as he could no longer avoid the challenge of Carl Naughton of the Sheldon Heath Boxing Club stating "This Naughton fella is just too feckin' hard for me boys I'd sooner fancy my chances against either Eusebio Pedroza or Terry McCann."
He began his professional boxing career on 10 May 1981, beating Selwyn Bell by knockout in two rounds in Dublin. After another win, he suffered his first setback, losing a hotly disputed decision to Peter Eubanks (brother of Chris Eubank) over eight rounds at Wembley. After his first loss, McGuigan notched up two more wins, including one over Terry Pizzarro, and then he was given a rematch with Eubanks. The second time around, McGuigan prevailed, by a knockout in the eighth round.
In 1982, McGuigan won eight fights, seven by knockout. One of these, however, almost destroyed his career and his life. Opposed by Young Ali, on 14 June 1982, McGuigan won by a knockout in six rounds; Ali fell into a coma from which he never recovered. According to the book The Ring: Boxing The 20th Century, this affected McGuigan so much he was not sure he wanted to carry on as a boxer. He also defeated Paul Huggins and Angelo Licata during this period. In 1983, he won four fights, winning the British Title against Vernon Penprase, and including his first trip to fight outside Europe (when he beat Samuel Meck by a knockout in six in Ontario, Canada), before getting his first try at a European title.
On 16 November, Italy's Valerio Nati defended his European Featherweight belt versus McGuigan in Belfast, and McGuigan won the crown with a knockout in the sixth round. He then became the number one Featherweight challenger in the World Boxing Association. In 1984, he won six bouts, all by knockout. Among the fighters he beat were former world title challengers Jose Caba and Felipe Orozco. He also beat contenders Paul DeVorce and Charm Chiteule and retained his British and European titles against Clyde Ruan and the latter belt against Esteban Eguia to keep his chance at a World Championship attempt alive.
In 1985, McGuigan met former world featherweight champion Juan Laporte and won by a decision after ten rounds. Following one more win (a defence of his European Title against Farid Gallouze), he finally got his world title try when the long reigning WBA featherweight champion, Eusebio Pedroza of Panama, went to London to put his title on the line at Loftus Road football stadium. McGuigan became the champion by dropping Pedroza in round seven and winning a unanimous fifteen-round decision in a fight refereed by hall of fame referee Stanley Christodoulou. McGuigan and his wife were feted in a public reception through the streets of Belfast that attracted several hundred thousand spectators. Later that year, he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, becoming the first person not born in the United Kingdom to win the award.
McGuigan made his first defence against American Bernard Taylor, who was stopped in the ninth round, and then against Danilo Cabrera, who got knocked out in fourteen rounds. This proved to be a controversial stoppage: the fight was stopped after the challenger bent over to pick up his mouthpiece after losing it, a practice that is allowed in many countries but not in Ireland. Cabrera was not aware of this, and the fight was stopped. Although Cabrera's corner protested the outcome, McGuigan remained the winner by a knockout. For his next defence, he went to Las Vegas in June 1986, where he faced the relatively unknown Stevie Cruz from Texas in what proved a gruelling fifteen-round title bout under a blazing sun. McGuigan held a lead halfway through, but suffered dehydration because of the extreme heat and wilted near the end, being dropped in rounds ten and fifteen. He eventually lost a close decision and his world belt, which he was never to reclaim. After the fight, McGuigan required hospitalisation because of his dehydrated state.
After that fight he retired, partly due to the death of his father in 1987. He used to say his father was his greatest inspiration and, after his death, apparently felt no reason to continue boxing. However, he returned to the ring between 1988 and 1989, beating former world title challengers Nicky Perez and Francisco Tomas da Cruz, as well as contender Julio César Miranda, before losing to former EBU featherweight champ and future WBC and WBA super featherweight challenger Jim McDonnell by a technical knockout when a McDonnell left hook opened gash over McGuigan's right eye in 2nd round that caused the referee to stop the fight in the 4th. He retired permanently from boxing. His record was 32 wins and 3 losses, with 28 wins by knockout. In January 2005, McGuigan was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
|Professional record summary|
|35 fights||32 wins||3 losses|
|Loss||32–3||Jim McDonnell||TKO||4 (10)||21 May 1989||G-Mex Leisure Centre, Manchester||Stopped on cuts.|
|Win||32–2||Julio César Miranda||TKO||8 (10)||1 Dec 1988||Pickett's Lock Stadium, Edmonton, London|
|Win||31–2||Francisco Tomas Da Cruz||TKO||4 (10)||25 Jun 1988||Kenilworth Road, Luton, Bedfordshire|
|Win||30–2||Nicky Perez||KO||4 (10)||4 Apr 1988||Alexandra Pavilion, London|
|Loss||29–2||Steve Cruz||UD||15||23 Jun 1986||Caesar's Palace, Outdoor Arena, Las Vegas||Lost WBA & Lineal Featherweight titles.|
|Win||29–1||Danilo Cabrera||TKO||14 (15)||15 Feb 1986||The Royal Dublin Society, Dublin, Ireland||Defended WBA & Lineal Featherweight titles.|
|Win||28–1||Bernard Taylor||TKO||8 (15)||28 Sep 1985||King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland||Defended WBA & Lineal Featherweight titles.|
|Win||27–1||Eusebio Pedroza||UD||15||8 Jun 1985||Loftus Road Stadium, Shepherd's Bush, London||Won WBA & Lineal Featherweight titles.|
|Win||26–1||Farid Gallouze||TKO||2 (12)||26 Mar 1985||The Arena, Wembley, London||Defended EBU (European) Featherweight title.|
|Win||25–1||Juan Laporte||PTS||10||23 Feb 1985||King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||24–1||Clyde Ruan||KO||4 (12)||19 Dec 1984||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland||Defended EBU (European) and BBBofC British Featherweight titles.|
|Win||23–1||Felipe Orozco||KO||2 (10)||13 Oct 1984||King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||22–1||Paul DeVorce||TKO||5 (10)||30 Jun 1984||King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||21–1||Esteban Eguia||TKO||3 (12)||5 Jun 1984||Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London||Defended EBU (European) Featherweight title.|
|Win||20–1||Jose Caba||TKO||7 (10)||4 Apr 1984||King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||19–1||Charm Chiteule||TKO||10 (10)||25 Jan 1984||King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||18–1||Valerio Nati||KO||6 (12)||16 Nov 1983||King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland||Won EBU (European) Featherweight title.|
|Win||17–1||Ruben Dario Herasme||KO||2 (10)||5 Oct 1983||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||16–1||Lavon McGowan||KO||1 (10)||9 Jul 1983||DiVinci Manoe, Chicago, Illinois|
|Win||15–1||Samuel Meck||RTD||6 (10)||22 May 1983||Navan Exhibition Centre, Navan, Ireland|
|Win||14–1||Vernon Penprase||TKO||2 (12)||12 Apr 1983||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland||Won BBBofC British Featherweight title.|
|Win||13–1||Paul Huggins||TKO||5 (12)||9 Nov 1982||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||12–1||Jimmy Duncan||RTD||4 (10)||5 Oct 1982||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||11–1||Young Ali||KO||6 (8)||14 June 1982||World Sporting Club, Mayfair, London||Young Ali died after 5 months in a coma, following this fight.|
|Win||10–1||Gary Lucas||KO||1 (8)||22 Apr 1982||Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland|
|Win||9–1||Angelo Licata||TKO||2 (8)||23 Mar 1982||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||8–1||Angel Oliver||TKO||3 (8)||23 Feb 1982||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||7–1||Ian Murray||TKO||3 (8)||8 Feb 1982||World Sporting Club, Mayfair, London|
|Win||6–1||Jose Luis De La Sagra||PTS||8||27 Jan 1982||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||5–1||Peter Eubanks||TKO||8 (8)||8 Dec 1981||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||4–1||Terry Pizzaro||TKO||4 (8)||26 Oct 1981||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Win||3–1||Jean-Marc Renard||PTS||8||22 Sep 1981||Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Loss||2–1||Peter Eubanks||PTS||8||3 Aug 1981||Corn Exchange, Brighton, Sussex|
|Win||2–0||Gary Lucas||TKO||4 (6)||20 Jun 1981||Empire Pool, Wembley, London|
|Win||1–0||Selvin Bell||TKO||2 (6)||10 May 1981||Dalymount Park, Dublin, Ireland||Professional debut.|
McGuigan attempted to establish an association to protect the rights of boxers against what he, and others, considered omnipotent managers and promoters. In this regard, he had had a difficult time during his own career. A very close relationship with his manager deteriorated badly over time and led to a successful libel case against him by his former manager several years later. In the 1980s he was a chat show host on BBC1.
McGuigan currently lives near Whitstable, Kent with his wife and children. He currently works as a boxing pundit for Sky TV. He has tried his hand at acting, appearing in the movie Malicious Intent in 2000. He also served as referee on the UK television game show Grudge Match, hosted by Nick Weir.
He is the Chairman of the Professional Boxing Association, an organisation he has wanted to set up for over a decade, with the intention of teaching boxers the importance of education, and indeed educating them.
McGuigan is currently a boxing manager and promoter.
McGuigan was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005. He also fought in Ring Magazine's 1986 Fight of the Year, and was a title character in the 8-bit computer game, Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing. In 1985 he was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
He was honoured in an Irish ballad song released in 1984, "Clones Cyclone", written by Johnny McCauley and sung by Big Tom. The popular German musician and composer Udo Lindenberg also dedicated his song "Jonny Boxer" to McGuigan in 1986. The Bournemouth-based band The Worry Dolls named a track "Barry McGuigan" on their album, The Man That Time Forgot.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Barry McGuigan|
|WBA Featherweight Champion
June 8, 1985 - June 23, 1986
|The Ring featherweight champion
June 8, 1985 - June 23, 1986
|Lineal Featherweight Champion
June 8, 1985 - June 23, 1986