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"The Clones Cyclone" represented Northern Ireland at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and the 1980 Summer Olympics before turning professional in 1981.
In 1982 McGuigan knocked out Young Ali over six rounds, and after the fight his opponent would fall into a coma he would never recover from. This event deeply impacted Barry's psyche and many believe it haunted him for years after.
McGuigan won the British title from 1983 from Vernon Penprase, and beat Valerio Nati later that year to capture the European crown.
Barry received his first world title shot in 1985 when Eusebio Pedroza traveled to face him in London, England. Pedroza was beaten over 15 rounds by unanimous decision and McGuigan was crowned WBA World Featherweight Champion.
Barry defended the world title successfully against Bernard Taylor and Danilo Cabrera, before losing the belt to Stevie Cruz in Las Vegas. McGuigan was hospitalized due to dehydration following the fight.
Following losing his title, McGuigan retired and revealed he had lost some motivation following the death of his father. He made a brief comeback but finally hung up his gloves with a career record of 32-3 (28 KO's).
Barry McGuigan was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005.