Date: 13th February 1993
Venue: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Title: IBF World Super-middleweight Title
Promoted by: Top Rank
( 30 - 7 - 0 )
Weight: 168 lbs
( 33 - 0 - 2 )
Weight: 167 lbs
In January 1992 Iran 'The Blade' Barkley became a two-weight world champion when he took the IBF World Super-middleweight Title from Darrin Van Horn. In his next outing, he won the WBA World Light-heavyweight Title from old foe Thomas 'The Hitman' Hearns, and after a non-title bout against Robert Folley (W Ko 4) nine months later, Barkley made the first defence of his IBF 168lb Crown against the formidable James 'Lights Out' Toney.
The pair met at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas in a much-anticipated match but, it was Toney who rose to the occasion, putting on one of the finest performances of his career.
Barkley fought his usual come forward, pressure fight but, Toney was able to more than match him at in-fighting by using his excellent defence to roll, slip, and block many of Barkley's attacks before replying with fast combinations that landed with unerring accuracy.
After nine rounds of pure action, Barkley's head cornerman Eddie Mustafa Muhammad decided that with both eyes swollen almost shut, and with no chance of winning the fight, his man shouldn't carry on taking the punishment being dealt out by Toney.
ESPN Commentator Barry Thompkins stated that he believed "The fight that James Toney fought against Iran Barkley was as close, I believe, to perfection as you can be in a boxing match."