Barry McGuigan: Life Story

By Robert Ecksel on May 26, 2011

We need more boxing books. For a sport that once drew writers of all persuasions to its beautiful brutality, too few new works of distinction appear with regularity.

Hopefully hall-of-famer Barry McGuigan’s autobiography, Cyclone: My Story, brings the story of his ascent to life in a convincing manner.

Cyclone: My Story documents the highs and lows of a career which took McGuigan from the small village of Clones to worldwide fame and respect.

McGuigan’s won the WBA featherweight title London in 1986 by decisioning defending champion Eusebio Pedroza of Panama. Thousands took to the streets of divided Belfast to celebrate the champion who eventually became known as the Clones Cyclone.

“I was an Irish man but fought for British titles,” said McGuigan, “and I broke all the rules. It was an awfully bold thing to do back then but I was sickened by all the sectarianism. I just thought we’re going to do it non-sectarian. We brought people together and it was amazing.”

McGuigan first discovered boxing when he and some friends spotted an old pair of gloves in a derelict building.

“There was a pair of these old 1950s boxing gloves, six-ounce gloves, just one each, and we all started to cleave the heads off each other. Needless to say, I was able to cleave the head off most of the guys who were much bigger than me. So I thought to myself: ‘I could be good at this!’ I got my dad to bring me to a local club.”

McGuigan retired in 1989 with a 32-3 (28 KOs) record and works as a television commentator, promoter, and trainer.

He’ll now have to add author to his résumé.

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