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Roberto Duran ..:: Ring Legend ::..

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Uploaded on Nov 28, 2009

http://theboxinghistorian.com/RingLeg...

World Lightweight Champion, 1972-1979
WBC Welterweight Champion, 1980
WBA Junior Middleweight Champion, 1983-1984
WBC Middleweight Champion, 1989-1990

Professional Record 104-16 (69)
Roberto Duran personified sheer ferocity and an iron will to win. Duran had been fighting the whole of his young life. Born in the slums of Guarare, Panama, on 16th June 1951 from a Spanish, Indian bloodline the youngster had to literally fight for his survival enduring poverty few have ever witnessed, on the east side of the Panama canal. His father absconded leaving his mother to raise nine children alone. Duran had one single thing he could use to seek his fortune, fighting something he knew all to well. Duran had a few amateur bouts and decided the professional rank was where the money was forcing him to turn professional in 1967 aged just sixteen. Duran fought with such ferocity he finished of seven of his first ten opponents in the opening round, earning himself the name manos de piedra (Hands of Stone).

In 1970, Duran would go to the United States in his quest to gain a shot for the lightweight title. Two years later Duran would fight for the title in Madison Square Garden against Ken Buchanan, The Scot was no match for the hungry Duran who won when the referee stopped the contest in a bout that showed Durans darker side. The Panamanian would go on to defend his title on 12 occasions (setting a record for the division); on his twelfth defiance he earned undisputed recognition by knocking out previously unbeaten WBC champion Esteban De Jesus. Tight at the weight Durans body forced him to the welterweight division where in his finest hour he dethroned Sugar Ray Leonard in a terrific 15-rounder in June of 1980.

The Panamanian was the first Latino to become a major star in the United States, tenacity and a macho personality that was fast capturing audiences. In their return bout, Duran was outclassed by the talented Leonard and would quit in the eighth round stunning his many fans while undermining his macho image. However, in June 1983 he stopped Davey Moore in the eighth round to win the WBA light-middleweight title. He forfeited the title to Challenge Marvin Hagler in November 1983, for his undisputed middleweight title, he lost on points but put up a brave fight which restored his reputation.

Returning to the light-middleweight division Duran challenged Thomas Hearns for his WBC crown but the spindly Hearns was awesome and accomplished the unthinkable; when he flattened Duran inside two rounds. Duran left the sport for a while but in 1989, the 37 year old made an astonishing commback when he challenged for the WBC middleweight title, winning a split decision against the fearsome Iran Barkley. This victory would bring a third fight with Ray Leonard for the super middleweight title, they would meet ten months later in Las Vegas, the fight never lived up to the hype and Leonard won on points. Duran continued to fight and with a massive following gave value for money, he was now in his 40s and continued to beat most opponents but would loose in the fights of any importance. Then in 1998 a staggering 26 years after his first title shot, Duran again challenged for a title, but was stopped in three rounds against William Joppy.

Duran showed longevity fighting into his fiftys, previous opponents had long since retired, some had even died, and here was Hands of Stone still in the ring doing the only thing he knew how. Duran loved the sport, and is probably most peoples favorite fighter as he captivated audinces for over two decades. Duran was severely injured in a car crash in 2001, and the following year announced his retirement from the sport.

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