His time was one of great conflict in Northern Ireland yet he managed to draw support from both sides of the divide. And he wasn't even from their part of this island.
To overseas fans, the 'Clones Cyclone' sobriquet offered little enlightenment as to McGuigan's background, yet he was always conscious of his Catholic roots in Co Monaghan. "[The] shadows ran deep," he once said.
"And my fights felt a little like sunshine. Both sides would say 'leave the fighting to McGuigan'. You see, it was also entertainment - people loved to forget the Troubles a while. The fact that I wouldn't wear green, white and gold or put on a sign that said this is who I represent, was powerful. It was a very mature and dangerous thing to do. I wouldn't choose sides. People appreciated that."
His record (32 wins, 28 by knockout, and three losses) saw him enter the International Boxing Hall of Fame in January 2005.