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Manos de Piedra”: The Legendary Career of Roberto Duran, 4-Division Boxing Champ

Early Life and Amateur Career

Roberto Durán was born in 1951 in Guararé, Panama, into extreme poverty. Durán boxed to escape slum life and build a better future. He quickly displayed a natural talent and fierce aggressive style in the ring.

Duran had a remarkably successful amateur career, compiling an impressive record of 103 wins and only 16 losses. He won many amateur titles in Panama and Central America. In 1968 at age 16, Durán won gold at the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Guatemala. His amateur success gained him the nickname “Manos de Piedra” (Hands of Stone) for his punching power.

In 1969, Durán traveled to the United States and Mexico to face tougher competition. He beat U.S. national champion Ray Lovato and won the North American amateur title.

Durán shined at 18 in 1970, representing Panama at the World Amateur Boxing Championships in Colombia. He won the world title, defeating European champion Alexander Ossipov in the finals. After this victory, Durán decided to turn professional at the young age of 19.

Pro Career and Titles Won

In 1972, Durán became the WBA lightweight champion by defeating Ken Buchanan with a TKO in the 13th round.

Duran’s rematch with Leonard was at the Superdome in New Orleans on November 25, 1980.

There has been much debate about why Duran quit the fight.

Some say Leonard’s style frustrated him, feeling he couldn’t win, while others mention possible stomach cramps.

Duran himself gave conflicting reasons over the years. He initially claimed stomach cramps but later said he quit due to frustration and being outboxed by Leonard.

The “No Mas” fight was a notorious moment in boxing history. Quitting a championship fight was unprecedented, contrasting sharply with Duran’s earlier triumph over Leonard.

The loss of his welterweight title also initiated a temporary decline in Duran’s storied career.

Comeback and More Titles

After the infamous “No Mas” fight, Duran took over two years off before returning to the ring in 1982. Despite the long layoff, Duran showed he was still an elite fighter, winning 12 fights in a row against mostly top-level opponents.

In 1983, Duran got his chance to regain a world title when he took on WBA junior middleweight champion Davey Moore. Showing his trademark aggression and combination punching, Duran stopped Moore in the 8th round to once again become a world champion.

Over the next two decades, the incredible Duran would go on to win world titles in four different weight classes. He won the WBC middleweight title in 1989 and followed that up with the WBC super welterweight belt in 1992. At age 42, Duran capped off his amazing comeback by defeating WBA middleweight champion Jorge Castro. His victory made Duran the oldest fighter to ever win a world title, showing his incredible longevity.

Duran finally retired in 2001 at age 50, after winning 10 more fights in his forties against mostly younger competition. His ability to comeback and win more world titles after the humiliating “No Mas” loss proved Duran’s toughness and place as an all-time great.

Fighting Style and Persona

Duran was known as an aggressive, relentless pressure fighter who overwhelmed opponents with his intensity and high volume punching. He earned nicknames like “Manos de Piedra” (Hands of Stone) and “El Cholo” due to his formidable punching power and aggressive mentality in the ring.

Duran’s style was marked by stalking his opponents, ripping shots to the body, and pressuring them into mistakes. He was able to maintain an incredible pace, throwing over 100 punches per round in many fights. His bobbing and weaving head movement allowed him to slip punches while working his way inside an opponent’s defense.

The Panamanian fighter was also known for his intimidating presence and mean streak in the ring. He would taunt opponents and had an intense, steely look in his eyes. Duran exerted psychological pressure in addition to his physical onslaught, trying to break his opponent’s will to fight. His intense focus and killer instinct were major assets during his prime years.

Notable Opponents

Duran fought many of the best fighters of his era, engaging in memorable rivalries and bouts. His most famous opponents include:

Sugar Ray Leonard

Duran and Leonard had one of boxing’s greatest rivalries. They first fought in 1980, with Duran handing Leonard his first professional loss to capture the WBC Welterweight title. Their rematch later that year featured the infamous “No Mas” fight where Duran quit in the 8th round, allowing Leonard to regain his title. They fought once more in 1989, with Leonard winning by unanimous decision. Their trilogy defined both men’s careers.

Marvin Hagler

Duran challenged the dominant middleweight champion Hagler in 1983. Though well past his prime, Duran showed his toughness by lasting 15 grueling rounds against Hagler, losing by only a slim margin on the scorecards. It added to Duran’s reputation as a boxer who never avoided the toughest fights.

Iran Barkley

In 1989, Duran defeated the much younger Barkley via split decision to capture the WBC Middleweight title and complete his road to redemption after the “No Mas” fight. It was seen as a huge upset at the time and one of Duran’s greatest achievements. Their rematch in 1990 saw Barkley get revenge and reclaim the title from Duran.

Legacy and Honors

Roberto Durán is considered one of the greatest lightweights in boxing history. He dominated the lightweight division in the 1970s, holding the undisputed championship for 6 years from 1972 to 1978. Durán was a complete fighter, possessing speed, power, ring intelligence and an iron chin. His aggressive and exciting style made him a fan favorite around the world.

Duran was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility. He was praised for his achievements, longevity in the sport and legendary status. Many boxing experts and historians rank Durán as the greatest lightweight ever and one of the top 5 pound-for-pound fighters in history.

Other honors for Durán include being named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine in 1972 and 1989. He was also honored as the boxer of the decade for the 1970s by The Ring. Durán’s electrifying performances and larger-than-life persona cemented his legacy as one of boxing’s all-time greats.

Later Life

After retiring from professional boxing in 2001 at age 50, Roberto Durán remained involved in the sport as a trainer and promoter. He trained and managed many younger boxers at his gym in Panama City, helping pass on his knowledge and experience.

Duran also participated in exhibition bouts for charity and entertainment purposes. In 2003 at age 52, he beat former champ Jorge Castro by TKO in an exhibition. In 2006 he boxed former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield in a “legends” charity match. At age 55, Duran fought mixed martial artist Ray Mercer in an exhibition boxing match.

While these bouts were not official pro fights, they demonstrated Duran’s passion for the sport and ability to still draw crowds late in life. He proved that his fighting spirit remained strong decades after his storied prime. Duran continued displaying the warrior mentality that made him a legend, even as he aged well past a typical boxer’s retirement. His love for boxing led him to stay involved in training future generations.

Pop Culture References

Roberto Durán has made appearances in popular culture beyond just the boxing world. His most famous cameo was in the 1979 film Rocky II, where he played himself in a scene with Sylvester Stallone’s title character. Durán’s fierce boxing style and “Hands of Stone” nickname made him an ideal fit for a cameo in the Rocky boxing movie franchise.

Beyond films, Durán’s name has been dropped in lyrics by various musical artists over the years. These include rappers like Jay-Z, who mentioned Durán in his songs as an iconic boxer whose name carries weight when referenced. Durán’s reputation as one of the greats of his era has made him a popular figure to mention in rap lyrics looking to drop names that convey toughness and competitive greatness. His crossover appeal from sports to music and film solidifies Durán’s legacy as a boxing legend who transcended his sport. Visit our Website Time Speed Magazine.

Overview and Significance

Roberto Durán is widely considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, with a professional career spanning an incredible five decades. Known for his aggressive fighting style, intimidating persona, and never-say-die attitude, Durán captivated boxing fans across the world.

Duran’s professional career began in 1968 at just 16 years old and continued all the way until 2001, when he finally retired at age 50 after compiling an outstanding professional record of 103 wins and 16 losses. He won world titles across four different weight classes, including reigns as the undisputed and lineal lightweight champion as well as welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight titles.

Beyond the sheer longevity of his career, Durán built his legend through epic clashes with fellow Hall of Famers like Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, and Tommy Hearns. His fierce rivalry with Sugar Ray Leonard produced some of boxing’s most memorable moments, including the infamous “No Más” fight where Durán quit, only to come back stronger and defeat Leonard in their next matchup.

While his in-ring persona portrayed a merciless brawler, Durán endeared himself to fans worldwide with his warrior spirit and charismatic personality outside the ring. His rags-to-riches story growing up in poverty in Panama captured the hearts of the Panamanian people in particular, who revered him as a national hero.

Few boxers have crafted such an enduring legacy spanning multiple eras of boxing history. Durán’s impact on the sport looms large, both through his incredible body of work in the ring as well as the mystique and legend surrounding his storied career.

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