This month marked 15 years since Roberto Duran’s last ever win within a professional boxing ring, when he outpointed a certain Patrick Goossen to defend his NBA super middleweight title. We thought it would be a good time to remember the great man’s incredible fight career.
‘Hands of Stone’
Roberto Duran was born to fight, just like his hands, it was written in stone from the day he was conceived with – pure fight blood flowing through his veins.
The man from El Chorrillo, Panama, is arguably one of the top (if not the top) lightweights of all time, which puts him as an all time great by itself going on the history of the weight class.
Yet for me, it was his ability to take on the naturally bigger men time and time again that really put him near the top of any list of all time great fighters.
The old saying, “It’s not the size of the Dog…….” was made for Duran, really.
I was a little too young to watch Duran vs Moore or Hagler live, but have on many occasions viewed both fights on film, and both were fine demonstrations of skill, craft, footwork and power and ultra ‘machismo’.
A boxing career as stellar as they come
But as a boxing fan, I was completely sold on Duran’s greatness in his absolute destruction of the beast that was Iran Barkley.
He outfought Barkley in every field including strength, and that was against a man who had just dispatched Tommy Hearns with only a few punches after soaking up all the “Hitman” had to offer, which was plenty.
And a man who looked way too big and bad for the “old man” at the time, a beating for Duran looked imminent.
When Duran knocked Barkley down I was like a child watching Rocky again, finding it hard to contain my excitement at what I had witnessed and it was then that the penny dropped for me, at just how great Roberto Duran was.
I also class two other fighters as great because of their meetings with him, the first is Ray Leonard.
How Ray went toe to toe with Duran at such a young age proved undoubtably that greatness was awaiting and, how Tommy Hearns in my opinion was the only man to spook Duran proved to me again the greatness of Hearns.
No one ever got Duran’s respect except Hearns in my opinion.
Duran also proved his greatness by how he made Hagler fight very cautiously, as if he was fearful of the smaller man almost.
No one made Hagler fight that way – the “Hands of Stone” did though.
Never forgot where he came from
The greatest thing of all about Duran for me, is he never forgot his roots or never got too big for his boots, returning home to share his fortune time and time and time again, literally giving away his last dollar to those who in his opinion, where more in need of it than him.
They came with their sob stories but needn’t have bothered, the money was theirs because of where they were from.
At times I’m sure Duran knew some people used him with no intention of ever showing the same kindness back, but he treated them all like brothers and sisters and gave his all both outside and in the ring for him.
Roberto Duran, what a fighter, what a boxing legend but most of all – what a man.
(Video credit: Gissaquid YouTube)
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