On June 23, 1986, Barry McGuigan and Steve Cruz fought for the WBA Featherweight Title in Las Vegas, Nevada. The undercard of the bout featured Tommy Hearns vs. Mark Medal and Roberto Duran vs. Robbie Sims. The bout between McGuigan and Cruz was awarded ‘Fight of the Year’.
Barry McGuigan, ‘The Clones Cyclone’, was one of the most famous boxers on the planet at the time. The Irish fighter grew up in a border town during The Troubles and became a symbol of peace around the world. On June 8, 1985, he won the WBA and The Ring Featherweight Titles after defeating Eusebio Pedroza in London, England.
McGuigan successfully defended his title in both Belfast and London before taking on Steve Cruz. It was his first title defense in the United States – the venue in Las Vegas was considered the pinnacle of boxing. When the men stepped into the ring together, the temperature was 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 degrees Celsius.
Though he fought to the final bell, the heat took a toll on McGuigan. Cruz, of Texas, put the Irishman down twice in the final round – which was awarded 1986’s ‘Round of the Year’ – and claimed his featherweight title.
Barry McGuigan vs. Steve Cruz: ‘The Triple Hitter’ Recap
Barry McGuigan and Steve Cruz’s fight was the main event on a card marketed as ‘The Triple Hitter’. It featured McGuigan as well as two of ‘The Four Kings’ – Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran.
Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran battled it out in the same venue two years prior, where Hearns knocked out Duran in the second round. In 1986, Duran was facing off against Robbie Sims, Marvin Hagler’s half-brother. Sims gave the great ‘Hands of Stone’ his third loss in three years, claiming a split-decision on the cards.
Though Sims did not achieve the same level of success as Hagler, he was a staple of the era and stepped into the ring with fighters such as Nigel Benn, Sumbu Kalambay, Vinny Pazienza, Iran Barkley, and Doug DeWitt. He beat Barkley, DeWitt, and Duran.
Tommy Hearns faced off against Mark Medal on the bill. Medal was a former IBF Super Welterweight Champion. He retired the following year after just one more fight, with a record of 24-3-1. Hearns put Medal down in the first and finished him via TKO in the eighth.