The scene: Las Vegas Hilton, Nevada, USA. June 6, 1988.
Iran “The Blade” Barkley, 24-4 (15), a one-time hoodlum from the Bronx, had outswung the Liverpool-born Canadian Michael Olajide to earn a title crack at Hearns. Detroit’s celebrated “Hit Man,” 45-2 (38), had been busy busting heads and collecting title belts since his fall to Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
Barkley arrived at the fight in mourning after a freak accident claimed the life of close friend and fellow boxer Davey Moore. Persuaded to seize his chance by Moore’s wife, the baleful underdog began exchanging heavy artillery with Hearns from the opening bell.
As we join the action, Barkley, a notorious bleeder, is cut over his left eye and bleeding from his mouth and has started to go for broke. Showtime’s Steve Albert and Gil Clancy describe the action from ringside alongside ESPN's Al Bernstein.
Albert: And round 3, scheduled for 12. And Barkley comes out… smoking.