International Boxing Hall of Fame

Roberto "El Cholo" Duran

"Hands of Stone"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roberto Dur�n
Statistics
Real name

Roberto Duran

Nickname(s)

Manos de Piedra
El Cholo

Rated at

Lightweight

Nationality

Flag of Panama Panamanian

Birth date

June 16, 1951 (1951-06-16) (age 57)

Birth place

Guarar�, Panama

Stance

Orthodox

Boxing record
Total fights

119

Wins

103

Wins by KO

70

Losses

16

Draws

0

No contests

0

Roberto Dur�n (born June 16, 1951) is a retired professional boxer from Panama, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all-time. During his career he would be called in admiration "Manos de Piedra,"[1] which translates to "Hands of Stone".

In 2002, he was chosen by The Ring Magazine to be the 5th greatest fighter of the last 80 years.[2] He held world titles at four different weights - lightweight (1972-79), welterweight (1980), junior middleweight (1983-84) and middleweight (1989). He was the second boxer to have fought in five different decades. Mamby became the first boxer in history to compete in five decades. Two weeks later, Roberto Duran became the second fighter to do it.

He finally retired in January 2002 at age 50 (having previously retired in 1998) following a bad car crash in October 2001, with a professional record of 119 fights, 103 wins with 70 KOs. Up until the second Ray Leonard fight, he was trained by legendary boxing trainer Ray Arcel.

History

Born in Guarar�, Panam� to a Mexican father and a Panamanian mother, he had his first professional fight in 1967.[2] After an initial adjustment he won thirty in a row, culminating in his first title bout in June 1972, where he controversially defeated Ken Buchanan at New York's Madison Square Garden for the WBA world lightweight championship. Duran knocked down Buchanan in the first round and dominated him throughout the fight, until Duran floored him with an unpunished low-blow with the final punch of the match. [3] Duran followed up on his title winning performance with several non-title matches. Later that year, in another non-title bout, he lost a ten round decision to Esteban De Jesus. Duran got back on track with successful title defenses against Jimmy Robertson, Hector Thompson, and former lightweight champion Guts Ishimatsu. In 1974, Dur�n would avenge his loss to De Jesus with a brutal eleventh round knock out. Overall Dur�n made twelve successful defenses of his title (eleven coming by knock out), his last defense coming in 1978 where Dur�n fought a third fight with De Jesus, a unification match where Dur�n once again knocked out De Jesus and captured his WBC lightweight belt. Dur�n would give up the unified lightweight title in February 1979.

Vacating the lightweight title was a build up for an attempt at the welterweight title. Duran earned a pair of wins against former WBC welterweight champion Carlos Palomino and Zeferino Gonzales, setting the stage for a title bout against then undefeated WBC Welterweight Champion Sugar Ray Leonard. The venue chosen would be the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, the same location where Leonard won an Olympic gold medal during the 1976 Summer Olympics. Duran resented the fact that he was getting only one-fifth the money Leonard would make despite the fact that he was entering the bout with a 73-1 record. He would curse and insult Leonard during press conferences in an attempt to intimidate the young champion. On June 20, 1980, Duran captured the WBC welterweight title by defeating Leonard via a 15-round unanimous decision. The fight would become known as "The Brawl in Montreal".[4] In the November re-match, however, Dur�n shockingly quit. Leonard has said that his strategy was to use speed and agility to taunt and frustrate Dur�n, believing it was his best chance of winning the fight.[5] In round 8, Dur�n turned around, walked to his corner and gave up, supposedly saying the now famous words, "no m�s" (no more). However he claims to have actually said, "No quiero pelear con el payaso." (Meaning "I do not want to fight with this clown.") Referee Octavio Meyran, perhaps as incredulous as was the rest of the world at what he was seeing, asked Dur�n if he was sure, and Dur�n then said, "No m�s, no m�s" (no more, no more). In violation of what any professional fighter does on the day of a fight, Dur�n gorged himself after the weigh-in, claimed he quit because he was having stomach cramps.[3] The controversy regarding this bout continues to this day.

He took some time to recover from that fight, gaining even more weight to contend for the WBC world junior middleweight title, but losing in his first attempt at a championship in that division on the January 30 of 1982, against Wilfredo Benitez by a 15 round unanimous decision. Duran was also to lose his come back fight in December 1982 in Detroit. Kirkland Laing, from London, shocked the boxing world, producing the type of display his talents promised yet he so rarely produced, taking the split decision. After being relegated to a 10 round walk out win over Englishman Jimmy Batten at The Battle of The Champions in Miami, Dur�n signed with promoter Bob Arum. This marked the beginning of a comeback in which he beat former world champion and now hall of famer Pipino Cuevas via a fourth round knock-out, which earned him a second crack at the junior middleweight title, this time against WBA champion Davey Moore.

The WBA title bout took place at Madison Square Garden on June 16, 1983, which also happened to be Duran's 32nd birthday. The result turned out to be a one sided affair as Duran dominated Moore throughout the bout. The pro-Duran crowd at ringside cheered as Duran relentlessly punished Moore. By the end of the sixth round, Moore's eye had swollen shut and he was floored near the end of the seventh. Finally the fight was stopped in the eighth round as Moore was taking such a horrific beating and Duran won his third world title. After the victory, Duran was hoisted up in the air as the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to a sobbing Duran.[6]

Dur�n later fought for the World middleweight title, meeting Marvin Hagler in Las Vegas in November 1983, but losing in a competitive fight that went the full fifteen rounds. Despite the loss, Duran was the first fighter to go the full distance with the great middleweight champion in one of his defenses. In June 1984, Duran was stripped of his junior middleweight title when the WBA did not approve of his fight with WBC world champion Thomas "Hitman" Hearns, and took away recognition of Duran as world champion the moment Duran stepped into the ring to box Hearns. Dur�n lost the fight after a vicious second round knock-out by Hearns.

Dur�n did not contend another title fight until 1989, but made the shot count when he won the WBC middleweight title from Iran Barkley in February, a fight in which Duran used Don Longanecker as a training partner.The fight is considered one of Duran's greatest achievements, as the 38 year old former lightweight champion took the middleweight crown, his fourth title. In a tough, back and forth fight, Dur�n knocked Barkley down in the eleventh round and won a close decision. The bout was named the 1989 "Fight of the Year" by Ring Magazine. His reign was short lived once again as Duran moved up to super middleweight for a third clash with Sugar Ray Leonard in December (a fight dubbed Uno M�s--One More--by promoters), but lost in a decision. Duran seemed to be in decline after the fight, he attempted to win further middleweight titles in 1994, 1995 and 1996 (fighting for the minor IBC belt). In 1998, at the age of 47, he challenged 28 year old WBA middleweight champion William Joppy. Joppy, a trim, quick-fisted fighter, battered Duran to defeat in just 3 rounds. It was Duran's most emphatic loss since the Hearns fight, over a decade earlier. Duran then announced his retirement in August 1998, but was back fighting in 1999. In June 2000 he won a minor super middleweight title from Pat Lawlor but quickly lost it to H�ctor Camacho.

After splitting fights with Jorge Castro and losing a rematch to Camacho, Dur�n went to Argentina to promote a Salsa music CD that he had just released. While there, he was involved in a dramatic car crash and required life-saving surgery. After that, he announced his retirement from boxing.

Dur�n's five world title belts, which he won in four different divisions, were stolen from his house in Panama in 1993 during a robbery allegedly staged by his brother-in-law, who gave them to memorabilia seller Luis Gonz�lez B�ez, who will stand trial for trying to sell stolen goods. Gonz�lez B�ez allegedly sold the belts to undercover FBI agents. He alleges that Duran authorized the sale of the five belts to him during a time that Duran was facing financial trouble. On September 23, 2003, a federal judge in Florida ordered the five belts returned to Duran.

His 70 wins by knockout place him in an exclusive group of boxers who have won 50 or more fights by knockout.

On October 14, 2006 Roberto was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Riverside, California, and on June 10, 2007 into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.

Preceded by
Ken Buchanan
WBA Lightweight Champion
26 Jun 1972� Jan 1979
Vacates
Succeeded by
Ernesto Espa�a
Preceded by
Esteban De Jesus
WBC Lightweight Champion
21 Jan 1978� Jan 1979
Vacates
Succeeded by
Jim Watt
Preceded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
WBC Welterweight Champion
20 Jun 1980� 25 Nov 1980
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
Preceded by
Davey Moore
WBA Light Middleweight boxing champion
16 Jun 1983� 1984
Stripped
Succeeded by
Mike McCallum
Preceded by
Iran Barkley
WBC Middleweight Champion
24 Feb 1989�1990
Vacates
Succeeded by
Julian Jackson

Appearances in film

Dur�n's first appearance in a movie was in the 1979 sequel Rocky II as a lightning fast sparring partner for Rocky Balboa. Outside of this, he has also received minor roles in Harlem Nights and Miami Vice.

Roberto Duran's life and boxing career are collected in the documentary "Los pu�os de una naci�n" (The fists of a nation) by Panamanian film maker, Pituka Ortega-Heilbron.

Career record

103 Wins (70 knockouts, 32 decisions, 1 retirement), 16 Losses (4 knockouts, 12 decisions) [4]
Res. Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Loss

Flag of Puerto Rico H�ctor Camacho

Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 2001-07-14

Denver, Colorado

Lost NBA Super-Middleweight title.

Win

Flag of the United States Patrick Goossen

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 2000-08-12

Toppenish, Washington

 
Win

Flag of the United States Pat Lawlor

Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 2000-06-16

Panama City, Panama

Won NBA Super-Middleweight title.

Loss

Flag of Argentina Omar Gonzalez

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1999-03-06

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 
Loss

Flag of the United States William Joppy

TKO 3 (12), 2:54 1998-08-28

Las Vegas, Nevada

Fight was for WBA Middleweight title.
Win

Flag of Colombia Felix Jose Hernandez

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1998-01-31

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of the United Kingdom David Radford

Decision (unan.) 8 (8) 1997-11-15

Temba, South Africa

 
Win

Flag of Argentina Jorge Fernando Castro

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1997-06-14

Panama City, Panama

 
Loss

Flag of Argentina Jorge Fernando Castro

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1997-02-15

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 
Win

Flag of Ireland Mike Culbert

TKO 6 (10) 1996-09-27

Chester, West Virginia

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Ariel Cruz

KO 1 (10) 1996-08-31

Panama City, Panama

 
Loss

Flag of Puerto Rico H�ctor Camacho

Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 1996-06-22

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Fight was for IBC Middleweight title.

Win

Flag of the United States Ray Domenge

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1996-02-20

Miami, Florida

 
Win

Flag of the United States Wilbur Garst

TKO 4 (10) 1995-12-21

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

 
Win

Flag of the United States Roni Martinez

TKO 7 (10), 2:59 1995-06-10

Kansas City, Missouri

 
Loss

Flag of the United States Vinny Pazienza

Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 1995-01-14

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Fight was for IBC Super-
Middleweight title.

Win

Flag of the United States Heath Todd

TKO 7 (10) 1994-10-18

Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

 
Loss

Flag of the United States Vinny Pazienza

Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 1994-06-25

Las Vegas, Nevada

Fight was for IBC Super-
Middleweight title.

Win

Flag of the United States Terry Thomas

TKO 4 (10) 1994-03-29

Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

 
Win

Flag of the United States Carlos Montero

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1994-02-22

Marseille, France

 
Win

Flag of the United States Tony Menefee

TKO 8 (10) 1993-12-14

Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

 
Win

Flag of the United States Sean Fitzgerald

KO 6 (10) 1993-08-17

Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

 
Win

Flag of Canada Jacques LeBlanc

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1993-06-29

Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

 
Win

Flag of the United States Ken Hulsey

KO 2 (10), 2:45 1992-12-17

Cleveland, Ohio

 
Win

Flag of the United States Tony Biglen

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1992-09-30

Buffalo, New York

 
Loss

Flag of the United States Pat Lawlor

TKO 6 (10), 1:50 1991-03-18

Las Vegas, Nevada

 
Loss

Flag of the United States Sugar Ray Leonard

Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 1989-12-07

Las Vegas, Nevada

Fight was for WBC Super-
Middleweight title.

Win

Flag of the United States Iran Barkley

Decision (split) 12 (12) 1989-02-24

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Won WBC Middleweight title.

Win

Flag of the United States Jeff Lanas

Decision (split) 10 (10) 1988-10-01

Chicago, Illinois

 
Win

Flag of the United States Paul Thorn

Retirement 6 (10) 1988-04-14

Atlantic City, New Jersey

 
Win

Flag of the United States Ricky Stackhouse

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1988-02-05

Atlantic City, New Jersey

 
Win

Flag of Paraguay Juan Ferreyra

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1987-09-12

Miami, Florida

 
Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Victor Claudio

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1987-05-16

Miami, Florida

 
Loss

Flag of the United States Robbie Sims

Decision (split) 10 (10) 1986-06-23

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

 
Win

Flag of the Dominican Republic Jorge Suero

KO 2 (10), 1:45 1986-04-18

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Colombia Manuel Zambrano

KO 2 (10), 2:57 1986-01-31

Panama City, Panama

 
Loss

Flag of the United States Thomas Hearns

KO 2 (15) 1984-06-15

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Fight was for WBC Light-
Middleweight title.

Loss

Flag of the United States Marvin Hagler

Decision (unan.) 15 (15) 1983-11-10

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Fight was for WBA, WBC and IBF
Middleweight titles.

Win

Flag of the United States Davey Moore

TKO 8 (15), 2:02 1983-06-16

Madison Square Garden, New York City

Won WBC Light Middleweight title

Win

Flag of Mexico Pipino Cuevas

TKO 4 (12), 2:26 1983-01-29

Los Angeles, California

 

Win

Flag of the United Kingdom Jimmy Batten

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1982-11-12

Miami, Florida

 

Loss

Flag of the United Kingdom Kirkland Laing

Decision (split) 10 (10) 1982-09-04

Detroit, Michigan

 

Loss

Flag of Puerto Rico Wilfred Benitez

Decision (unan.) 15 (15) 1982-01-30

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Fight was for WBC Light
Middleweight title.

Win

Flag of Italy Luigi Minchillo

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1981-09-26

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

 
Win

Flag of the United States Nino Gonzalez

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1981-08-09

Cleveland, Ohio

 
Loss

Flag of the United States Sugar Ray Leonard

TKO 8 (15), 2:44 1980-11-25

New Orleans, Louisiana

The "No M�s Fight"; lost WBC
Welterweight title.

Win

Flag of the United States Sugar Ray Leonard

Decision (unan.) 15 (15) 1980-06-20

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Won WBC Welterweight title.

Win

Flag of Ecuador Wellington Wheatley

TKO 6 (10) 1980-02-24

Tropicana Hotel, Las Vegas

 
Win

Flag of Norway Joseph Nsubuga

TKO 4 (10), 3:00 1980-01-13

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

 
Win

Flag of the United States Zeferino Gonzalez

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1979-09-28

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Carlos Palomino

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1979-06-22

Madison Square Garden, New York City

 
Win

Flag of the United States Jimmy Heair

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1979-04-08

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

 
Win

Flag of the United States Monroe Brooks

KO 8 (12), 1:59 1978-12-08

Madison Square Garden, New York City

 
Win

Flag of Costa Rica Ezequiel Obando

KO 2 (10), 1:09 1978-09-01

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Adolfo Viruet

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1978-04-27

Madison Square Garden, New York City

 
Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Esteban De Jes�s

TKO 12 (15), 2:32 1978-01-21

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Retained WBA Lightweight title;
won
WBC Lightweight title. Dur�n
vacated titles in January 1979 to
concentrate on heavier divisions.

Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Edwin Viruet

Decision (unan.) 15 (15) 1977-09-17

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of the Dominican Republic Bernardo Diaz

KO 1 (10), 1:29 1977-08-06

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of the United States Javier Muniz

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1977-05-16

Landover, Maryland

 
Win

Flag of the Dominican Republic Vilomar Fernandez

KO 13 (15), 2:10 1977-01-29

Miami, Florida

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of Costa Rica Alvaro Rojas

TKO 1 (15), 2:17 1976-10-15

Hollywood, Florida, United States

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of Colombia Emiliano Villa

TKO 7 (10), 2:00 1976-07-31

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Italy Lou Bizzarro

KO 14 (15), 2:15 1976-05-23

Erie, Pennsylvania

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of the United States Saoul Mamby

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1976-05-04

Miami Beach, Florida

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Leoncio Ortiz

KO 15 (15), 2:39 1975-12-20

Hato Rey, Puerto Rico

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Edwin Viruet

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1975-09-30

Uniondale, New York

 
Win

Alirio Acuna

KO 3 (10) 1975-09-13

Chitre, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Nicaragua Pedro Mendoza

KO 1 (10), 2:00 1975-08-02

Managua, Nicaragua

 
Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Jose Peterson

TKO 1 (10) 1975-06-03

Miami, Florida

 
Win

Flag of the United States Ray Lampkin

KO 14 (15), 0:39 1975-03-02

Panama City, Panama

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of Colombia Andres Salgado

KO 1 (10), 1:00 1975-02-15

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Japan Masataka Takayama

KO 1 (15), 1:40 1974-12-21

San Jose, Costa Rica

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of Colombia Adalberto Vanegas

KO 1 (10) 1974-11-16

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Jose Vasquez

KO 2 (10) 1974-10-31

San Jos�, Costa Rica

 
Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Hector Matta

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1974-09-02

Hato Rey, Puerto Rico

 
Win

Flag of the Philippines Flash Gallego

TKO 7 (10), 2:35 1974-07-06

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Esteban De Jes�s

KO 11 (15) 1974-03-16

Panama City, Panama

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of Venezuela Armando Mendoza

TKO 3 (10), 1:50 1974-02-16

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of France Leonard Tavarez

TKO 4 (10) 1974-01-21

Paris, France

 
Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Tony Garcia

KO 3 (10) 1973-12-01

Santiago de Veraguas, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Japan Guts Ishimatsu

TKO 10 (15), 2:10 1973-09-08

Panama City, Panama

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of the United States Doc McClendon

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1973-08-04

Hato Rey, Puerto Rico

 
Win

Flag of Australia Hector Thompson

TKO 8 (15), 2:15 1973-06-02

Panama City, Panama

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of Mexico Gerardo Ferrat

TKO 2 (10), 2:45 1973-04-14

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Javier Ayala

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1973-03-17

Los Angeles, California

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Juan Medina

KO 7 (10), 1:22 1973-02-22

Los Angeles, California

 
Win

Flag of the United States Jimmy Robertson

KO 5 (15) 1973-01-20

Panama City, Panama

Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Loss

Flag of Puerto Rico Esteban De Jes�s

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1972-11-17

Madison Square Garden, New York City

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Lupe Ramirez

KO 1 (10), 3:03 1972-10-28

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of the United States Greg Potter

KO 1 (10), 1:58 1972-09-02

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of the United Kingdom Ken Buchanan

TKO 13 (15) 1972-06-26

Madison Square Garden, New York City

Won WBA Lightweight title.

Win

Flag of Mexico Francisco Munoz

TKO 1 (10), 2:34 1972-03-10

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Cuba Angel Robinson Garcia

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1972-01-15

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Japan Hiroshi Kobayashi

KO 7 (10), 0:30 1971-10-16

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Puerto Rico Benny Huertas

TKO 1 (10), 1:06 1971-09-13

Madison Square Garden, New York City

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Fermin Soto

TKO 3 (10) 1971-07-18

Monterrey, Mexico

 
Win

Flag of the United States Lloyd Marshall

TKO 6 (10), 1:37 1971-05-29

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Venezuela Jose Acosta

KO 1 (10), 1:55 1971-03-21

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Jose Angel Herrera

KO 6 (10) 1971-01-10

Monterrey, Mexico

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Ignacio Castaneda

TKO 3 (10) 1970-10-18

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Costa Rica Marvin Castaneda

KO 1 (10), 1:30 1970-09-05

Chiriqui, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Clemente Mucino

KO 6 (10), 2:18 1970-07-18

Colon, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Ernesto Marcel

TKO 10 (10) 1970-05-16

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Felipe Torres

Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1970-03-28

Mexico City, Mexico

 
Win

Flag of Panama Luis Patino

TKO 8 (10) 1969-11-23

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Serafin Garcia

TKO 5 (8) 1969-09-21

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Adolfo Osses

TKO 7 (8) 1969-06-22

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Jacinto Garcia

TKO 4 (8) 1969-05-18

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Eduardo Frutos

Decision (unan.) 6 (6) 1969-02-01

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Alberto Brand

TKO 4 (6) 1969-01-19

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Carlos Howard

TKO 1 (6) 1968-12-07

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Juan Gondola

KO 2 (6) 1968-11-16

Colon, Panama

 
Win

Ulises De Leon

KO 1 (6), 1:20 1968-09-22

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Leroy Carghill

KO 1 (6) 1968-08-25

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Enrique Jacobo

KO 1 (6) 1968-08-10

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Eduardo Morales

KO 1 (4), 3:00 1968-06-30

Panama City, Panama

 
Win

Flag of the Dominican Republic Manuel Jim�nez

KO 1 (4) 1968-06-15

Colon, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Panama Juan Gondola

KO 1 (4) 1968-05-14

Colon, Panama

 
Win

Flag of Mexico Carlos Mendoza

Decision (unan.) 4 (4) 1968-02-23

Col�n, Panama

 

 

Roberto Duran, �Hands of Stone�

�Born to be Champion.�

By MONTE D. COX

Cox Corner Profiles

      Roberto Duran, who grew up in the tough streets of Panama, was a natural born fighter. The son of a Mexican father and a Panamanian mother, the Latin legend learned to fight at a young age. Duran turned pro at 16 and went on to become perhaps the best professional fighter since the heyday of Ray Robinson. After beating Esteban DeJesus in their rubber match for the unified lightweight title he declared to the press, �I was born to be champion of the world.� Indeed he was nearly unbeatable for 13 years reaching a peak record of 72-1 with 56 knockouts, during which time he reigned undefeated as world lightweight champion for 6 years and also won the world welterweight title. Duran was a 4 divisional champion, lightweight (1972-79), welterweight (1980), junior middleweight (1983) and middleweight (1989-90). At his best as lightweight king he successfully defended the title 12 times, 11 by knockout. In his career he stopped 21 opponents in the first round, 31 within the first 3 rounds. He fought until the age of 50 with a final career record of 103-16 (70 KOs).

      Roberto didn�t receive his education in a public school; he was kicked out in the third grade. Duran�s schooling came from the school of hard knocks. It was on the streets and in the gyms of Panama that Duran�s natural ability was honed into that of a consummate professional fighter. Early in his career Roberto was a ferocious, brawling slugger who over-whelmed his opposition with his strength, determination, body punching and a strong right hand punch. Duran was a very purposeful, aggressive fighter who possessed a competitive fire that few fighters in history could hope to match. He had murder in his eyes, and as a lightweight had the punching power to match his inner rage. Veteran trainers Ray Arcel, who had worked with the likes of Benny Leonard, Tony Zale, and Ezzard Charles along with Freddie Brown, a former cut-man of Rocky Marciano and student of Charley Goldman, were brought in to help develop Roberto into a complete fighter. Duran succeeded in the graduate school of pugilism that Arcel and Brown instructed. By the time he was to face Ken Buchanan for the lightweight title Duran was already growing past the stage of being just a slugging hitter, but was gradually molding into a fine puncher-boxer.

      Duran won the lightweight championship at the age of 21 by beating clever Ken Buchanan in 13 rounds at New York�s Madison Square Garden. It was a good fight and although Buchanan�s boxing ability gave Duran some difficulty Roberto was clearly winning at the time of the stoppage. The fight ended when Duran landed a hard body shot that was borderline low that sank Buchanan to his knees. The fights referee, Johnny LoBianco, realizing that Duran was ahead on points and thinking Buchanan might be trying to exaggerate the effects of the blow, declared Duran the winner by knockout. The New York Daily News reported that �Duran was much the better fighter and was well on his way to taking the title away when the incident happened.�

      Duran�s reign of terror over the lightweight division had begun. Duran proved to be a fighting champion defending the title 12 times and engaging in 20 non-title bouts during his tenor as 135-pound champion. His lone loss was in a non-title fight against boxer-puncher and left hook artist Esteban DeJesus. Duran was dropped in the first round and lost a 10 round decision on points. In a rematch Duran evened things up winning by knockout in the 11th round of a title defense. Duran dominated their title unifying rubber match winning with a convincing 12th round knockout.

      By the time of the third DeJesus fight Duran had developed into something really special, a throwback to the days of the great fighters of the past. He was at the peak of his powers in becoming one of the greatest fighters of all time in combining toughness and polished boxing skill. The one time street fighter was an artist. The Jan. 30, 1978 Sports Illustrated stated, �Moving fluidly and jabbing, slipping punches and countering rather than swarming over DeJesus, he stalked him, relentlessly wearing him down and coolly destroying him with savage punches to the body. For 11 rounds Duran bested the classic boxer at his own game, robbing him of his speed and his will to fight, and only then did he permit himself the luxury of putting DeJesus away.� Duran proved that he had learned pace and how to apply strategy in the ring. The old masters would have approved.

      Angelo Dundee said of Duran (SI Jan 30, �78) �One gets the impression of Duran is that he�s a tough, rough brawler who just wades in and ducks nothing. But all you have to do is look at his face to see that is nonsense. He�s not marked up. He does a lot of cute things in there.�

      Duran has been very under-rated defensively by some analysts. He had good head movement, slipped punches, and got angles on his opponent�s inside. When he slipped those punches he would always be in punching position to land power shots with full balance and leverage. When he was hit he would usually roll with the punch to reduce its effectiveness. He would usually parry an opponent�s jab when he was going to rush inside. Duran was also a master at feinting. He would feint with the lead right and if his opponent�s would lean back, which is a popular tactic amongst modern boxers, they would expose their body and Duran would cleverly switch his attack with a left hook counter to the liver.

      Duran beat former welterweight champion Carlos Palomino, who was a solid 147-pound fighter, on a 10 round decision on June 22, 1979. Palomino commented (SI Jun. 16, 1980), �He�s good inside, very good, strong physically. The one thing that surprised me the most was his quickness. And his defensive ability. He moves his head a lot, feints a lot. He�s not an easy man to hit.�

      Duran�s trainer Ray Arcel noted, �Duran knew how to fight. He knew what to do. If he looked at the corner the only thing I ever had to do was pretend to jab, once he was using his jab I knew he�d have no trouble. Even more important he knew how to think. When you talk about great fighters, always remember there was a guy named Roberto Duran. He was never given the opportunity to really display his wares because at his peak, he was overshadowed by Muhammad Ali.�

      Duran�s biggest victory was his brilliant title winning effort against then unbeaten Sugar Ray Leonard for the world welterweight championship. In a bout that featured ferocious infighting by both men Duran outworked, out-hustled and yes, out-boxed Ray Leonard. The June 30, 1980 Sports Illustrated reported, �It was, from almost the opening salvo, a fight that belonged to Roberto Duran. The Panamanian seized the evening and gave it what shape and momentum it had. He took control, attacking and driving Leonard to the ropes, bulling him back, hitting him with lefts and rights to the body as he maneuvered the champion against the ropes from corner to corner.� Duran was relentless as he pressured, mauled, and pounded his way to a unanimous decision.

      The one aberration on Duran�s record is the infamous �No Mas� fight in his rematch against Ray Leonard. It was highly controversial; many believing Duran threw the fight for an 8 million dollar payday. He resigned unhurt in the eighth round. Leonard was fast on his feet and mocking Duran when Roberto mysteriously quit claiming stomach cramps. Ray Arcel said, �That�s nonsense. I just think Duran couldn�t accept Leonard�s clowning, that Leonard got his goat and he couldn�t handle it. Between rounds I kept telling Duran, �If you crowd him, you can keep him from going through all these motions.� That�s what Duran had done in Montreal, and I kept reminding him, �Remember Montreal, shove him, push him.� If anybody would have told Duran another fighter would make him quit, he�d have got a gun and killed him. I never worked with Duran again. When he finally fought Leonard a third time I thought he�d be more aggressive but he tried to outbox him.�

      Duran was disgraced after the 2nd Leonard fight and he struggled to regain his form losing a decision to the speedy and clever triple crown champion Wilfred Benitez and then was upset by Kirkland Liang. It looked like his career might be finished. Then Duran then did what the great ones do; he started a successful comeback. Duran knocked out former WBA welterweight champion and left hook artist Pipino Cuevas in 4 rounds. He then got a chance at the WBA Jr. Middleweight championship against undefeated Davey Moore. This fight was a classic example of why the old-timers were better than modern era fighters. Moore was bigger, faster, and more athletically talented than Duran. Moore had a long and successful amateur career, was unbeaten as a pro and came in as a 3-1 favorite over the Panamanian challenger. But it all amounted to nothing over the vastly more experienced Duran. Roberto administered such a one sided beating to the champion as to nearly finish Moore�s career. The fight was mercifully stopped in the eighth round and Duran, redeemed, was a champion again.

      Duran last great performance was his bout against WBC Middleweight champion Iran Barkley, a fight that Duran described as �the greatest of my life.� It was a truly outstanding performance by a 37-year- old veteran master against a much bigger, stronger and more powerful champion. Barkley was fresh off his devastating title winning performance against Thomas Hearns; the only man to ever knockout the real Duran back in 1984. Duran used boxing skill, slick defense, and clever inside fighting to offset Barkley�s greater size and power. Gil Clancy commenting at ringside said, �Duran just slipped 6 punches in a row� to which Al Bernstein, replied, �Duran has always been the master of defense that is one of his trademarks.� In the 7th round Barkley nailed Duran with his best double hook to the chin. Duran was hurt but forced a clinch. In the eighth Barkley nailed Duran hard again with a powerful left hook that caused Roberto to spin from the force of the blow, but he fought back. �It was his heart,� Barkley said later, �It just wouldn�t go.� Duran�s punches were doing damage as well; by the 9th round Barkley�s left eye was swelling from Duran�s right hand counters. Duran said, �Barkley was paying for every punch he threw.� The last rounds were all Duran as he boxed beautifully inside. In the 11th Duran landed one of the best combinations of his career, a smashing right counter, followed by a hammering left hook, another right, then he feinted a left hook and hammered a pile driver right that sent Barkley crashing to the canvas. Barkley survived and they fought evenly in the last round. It was a tough, great fight but Duran won a deserved split-decision and the 160-pound title.

      Even at an old age, well into his 40�s, Duran was still smart enough as a boxer to give all but the topnotch fighters a lot of trouble. He lost controversial decisions to Vinny Pazienza in their first fight, flooring him in the process and to Hector Camacho Sr. in their first fight, a decision so bad that Sugar Ray Leonard called it �an early Christmas gift.�

      Herbert Goldman in his 1987 ratings ranked Duran as the # 3 all time lightweight. The 1996 Ring Almanac rated Duran as the number one all time lightweight in its �All Time Divisional Ratings�. Gerald Suster, author of �Lightning Strikes: The lives and times of boxing�s lightweight heroes,� also rated Duran as the greatest lightweight ever. The AP named Duran among the 10 greatest fighters of the 20th Century in 1999. The 2002 Ring Annual (Vol. 2) rates Duran # 5 among the 80 Greatest Fighters of the last 80 years. Cox�s Corner considers Duran the # 3 all time lightweight and among the 10 greatest fighters of all time.

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