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Sugar Ray Leonard fights Roberto Duran for the third and final time

Sugar Ray Leonard fights Roberto Duran for the third and final time


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On December 7, 1989, the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard triumphs over a lackluster Roberto Duran in a unanimous 12-round decision at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Leonard became a sensation in the boxing world during the 1980s, providing a superstar presence that boxing lacked after Muhammad Ali retired in 1981. After a successful amateur career, Leonard earned real notice when he won a gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Three years later, he won the World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight title over Wilfred Benitez.

In 1980, seeking to defend his title, Leonard met the Panamanian Roberto Duran, a former lightweight champion, in a much-anticipated bout held in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. The more experienced Duran captured the title in a unanimous 15-round decision. On November 25, 1980, Duran and Leonard met in a rematch in New Orleans. After seven rounds, during which he outperformed Duran and continually taunted him, Leonard held a narrow lead on the judges’ scorecards. Duran quit in the eighth round of the bout, shocking his fans and leaving Leonard as welterweight champion once again. Leonard later suffered a detached retina and was inactive in the ring for nearly three years before returning to score an enormous upset over "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler for the middleweight title in 1987. In November 1988, he was knocked down but fought back to defeat Donny Lalonde for the WBC light heavyweight and super middleweight titles.

The match at the new Mirage Hotel on December 7, 1989, marked Leonard’s second defense of his super middleweight crown. Though 16,000 fans showed up to watch the much-hype third meeting between Leonard and Duran, they were greatly disappointed, as the 33-year-old Leonard won a tactically superior but unexciting bout over a lethargic 38-year-old Duran. In fact, fans booed both fighters throughout the match, and Duran’s lackluster performance did nothing to quell the controversy still swirling around his decision to quit in New Orleans almost a decade earlier.


ONE FOR THE AGES

Only moments had passed since the end of the Roberto Duran Turkey Shoot. Sugar Ray Leonard, still the WBC super middleweight champion, was back in his dressing quarters in the newly opened Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. Blood leaked from a wide gash on his left eyelid. Both lips were bloody from two cuts inside his mouth. More blood seeped from a cut on his right eyebrow. Except for the happiness spilling from his bright brown eyes, he had the look of a guy who had just been mugged in a saloon parking lot.

Leonard&aposs lawyer-friend-manager, Mike Trainer, wore a worried look. "Ray, you just pitched a shutout. You used all the gifts God gave you," Trainer told him. "People said you&aposve been getting hit too much. Tonight you finessed it. You were beautiful. But now you are going to a press conference, and people will demand to know why you didn&apost fight a war. They won&apost want to hear about a shutout."

Leonard&aposs lips parted in a bloody smile. "I didn&apost fight for them or anyone else," he said. "They all said I didn&apost have it anymore. I fought this one for me. I fought this one for my children and my grandchildren." That was what last Thursday night&aposs fight was all about. More than 16,000 people jammed the outdoor arena at the Mirage millions watched on pay-per-view or closed-circuit television. And millions more will see it replayed on HBO. Leonard was paid at least $15 million for the bout Duran, the WBC middleweight champion, made close to $8 million. But to Leonard, none of that mattered. Critics had said that, at 33, he was old, that his legs were gone. For him, this was a spit-in-their-eye fight.

From the first day in camp Leonard trained as if this match were his last. The public was barred from his workouts. His entourage was cut from 21 to six. For his previous fight, a draw with Thomas Hearns on June 12, Leonard had retained two trainers, Dave Jacobs and Pepe Correa. This time he had only Correa, and he instructed Correa not to spare the whip. "For the first time in a long time I allowed someone to push me," said Leonard.

Correa pushed, hard. On the third day of training, Leonard was hitting the heavy bag for a round. But with a minute still left, he stopped and walked away. "Get back here," Correa growled. Turning, Leonard glared at Correa. Then he said, "Thank you," and returned to the heavy bag.

Leonard would set off on a two-mile run Correa would order him to run an extra two. Young, tough sparring partners were brought in. Gradually, the 33-year-old reflexes and legs became as they were when Leonard was 25.

Always before, Leonard had fought to please others𠅊s an Olympic champion in 1976 and as a professional, winning 35 of 37 fights and five world championships. He was like a man who had climbed Mount Everest more for the entertainment of a world audience than for his own satisfaction. Now he could see another peak, 1,000 feet higher, that he wanted to climb for himself. And for his two sons and their future sons. "When they look at the tapes of my last fight, I don&apost want them looking at that damn draw with Hearns," Leonard said.

Duran, though shopworn at 38, was the perfect foe. For the first time since 1984, Leonard would be fighting someone his own size. For most of the decade he has been a blown-up welterweight fighting bigger people, including a light heavyweight champion, Donny Lalonde, whom he knocked out in November 1988. When Duran and Leonard fought in June 1980, Leonard, a greyhound, had lost to Duran, a pit bull, because he&aposd tried to fight like a pit bull.

Leonard thought he had erased that strategic error in November 1980, when he and Duran fought again. Leonard danced away from Duran&aposs fists, but Duran stole the moment from him: Frustrated and furious, in a strange act of defiance, Duran quit in the eighth round. That was the no màs fight. Boxing fans ignored Leonard&aposs victory they spoke only of Duran&aposs defeat. "I made him quit," Leonard protested angrily in the ensuing years, but no one listened.

And so, Duran and Leonard met for the third time on a cold, breezy night in Las Vegas. The public&aposs opinion of Leonard was reflected in the odds: At 9 to 5, he was only a narrow favorite. It only made Leonard&aposs eyes colder.

Leonard&aposs fight plan could have been devised by Sun Tzu, who wrote the bible of military strategy, The Art of War, in 500 B.C. His tactics were textbook perfect, the sort, as Leonard said after his lopsided victory, "that you try to teach young fighters." The 12-round bout had all the beauty of a bullfight, but without the expected horror of the kill.

Still, the fans didn&apost like it Leonard gave them artistic perfection when they wanted heated battle, and they booed lustily. Most fight fans would not spend a dime to watch Van Gogh paint Sunflowers, but they would fill Yankee Stadium to see him cut off his ear.

Only in the 11th round, after thoroughly dominating the bewildered Duran, did Leonard give the fans what they asked for: blood. His own. In the last 30 seconds of the round, he met Duran toe-to-toe. Both men fired right hands Duran&aposs chopped the gash over Leonard&aposs left eye. Moving quickly away, Leonard thought, To hell with that. His mouth already was bleeding from a butt in the fourth round. Very late in the final round, a Duran hook sliced the flesh on Leonard&aposs right eyebrow.

That finished a high-percentage night for Duran, who landed only 84 of 588 punches, but opened cuts with two of those. In contrast, Leonard landed 227 of 438 punches. His unceasing lateral movement kept Duran in a constant state of befuddlement. His attacks came behind a merciless jab his combinations were swift and had a mean purity. For one last time Sugar Ray Leonard gave the world Sugar Ray Leonard. The judges&apos cards read 119-109, 120-110, 116-111, all for Leonard.

When it was over, Leonard grinned at Trainer and patted his thighs. "I&aposve got five or six more rounds in these, Mike," he said. He finished a magnificent career brilliantly, even if few onlookers appreciated his final bit of artistry. If Leonard is tempted to come back again, he should know that next time he may have to cut off an ear.

Even though Leonard (far left) ended the bout bloodied, he dominated Duran from start to finish.


THE KINGS Episode Three: The Will to Win

That’s one of the first lines you hear in voiceover from episode three of the Showtime documentary The Kings, which showcases the remarkable (and simultaneous) careers of Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran. And how could it be anything else? Who else would choose to make a living at hitting and getting hit other than men and women who have no other choice?

As Teddy Atlas opines in the opening of episode three, you can come from nothing and become rich, you can be champion of the world. All you have to do is hit someone else more and harder than they hit you. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it is simple…if you can do it.

All four of these men grew up poor, even Ray Leonard, who would dig up half-eaten burgers out of trash cans near the Lincoln monument in DC.

Leonard didn’t focus on it much as his star shone brighter, but yes, he didn’t live near the lap of luxury as a youth.

After the Hearns fight, Leonard took time off to heal. In the interim, Ronald Reagan used this poor boy, this former dumpster-diver, as a pawn to showcase a young black man who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, even if he had to do so through sanctioned violence. All the while, Reagan cut programs for the poor, and Leonard was only too eager to be seen as the symbol of the sort of cowboy optimism that Reagan, a cowboy actor who ascended to the highest seat of power in America, epitomized.

The government embraced an “you’re on your own” ethos and in no other sport are you more “on your own” than boxing. No wonder Reagan wanted to use Sugar Ray Leonard, who was clean cut, but also the sort of “rugged individualist” that Reagan harkened back to when white men moved west and forced the red man off their land. “Manifest Destiny” it’s called—taking that which you claim to be yours from whomever you wish through the concept of “might makes right.”

But the version Reagan was selling was the rich getting richer and the poor getting punch drunk. In the ring, it was somewhat similar, except those combatants, almost to a man, started out on equal footing—the footing of the worn out shoes of the poor. For all its violence, boxing was far more fair than politics, certainly more fair than the politics of Ronald Reagan.

Reagan had talent–he could smear an entire race ranting against “welfare queens” and then switch on the charm, and meet n greet a massive African-American success story in Marvin Hagler.

Even so, a hometown hero could take it on the chin—literally and figuratively. Take Tommy Hearns…After his loss to Leonard, Hearns was no longer Detroit’s favorite son. “You lost me a lot of money,” people who have never risked their lives in the ring would tell him. As you listen to a present day Hearns speak in voiceover in speech so slurred that it makes you grateful that you have the subtitles on, it’s hard not to consider what he, the fighter in the ring, has lost over the years.

Hearns grew up during the race riots in Detroit. The backdrop of his life was burning buildings and brutal policing. For him, boxing was not “a way” out, but the only way. His natural gifts and fierce drive allowed him an escape from poverty. But after the loss to Leonard, Hearns needed to restore and redeem himself. Hearns went on a fierce tear after the loss to Leonard. As they were knocking down buildings in Detroit, “Hearns was knocking down opponents.” The visual juxtaposition of Hearns taking down fighters while structures made of concrete and steel are being felled (to the sounds of Detroit’s own Iggy Pop and the Stooges) in his hometown is remarkably cinematic.

Thomas “Hitman” Hearns ascended to the title again, this time in the next weight class up, junior middleweight, and began to call after Leonard again.

While Leonard and Hearns danced around each other, Marvin Hagler was trying to gain the sort of appeal that came so naturally to “Sugar Ray” Leonard, “Hitman” Hearns, and even Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran.

Hagler had to create his own nickname, calling himself “Marvelous Marvin,” a moniker that never seemed to fit his lunch-pail aesthetic. In fact, Hagler had to legally change his name to force the adjective to be used by sportscasters and sportswriters alike.

While Hagler was a powerful and extraordinarily skilled fighter, it was his indomitable will that made him great. He was as blue collar as a guy wearing a hard hat while walking across a steel beam of a construction site high rise. Hagler was more eloquent than he was given credit for, but his words did not sing—the rhythm of rhyme and verse eluded him. Despite his many physical gifts the bulk of his career went woefully unappreciated.

As a product of Newark, New Jersey, Hagler grew up in an area not so unlike that which Hearns came up through. But just like Hearns and Detroit, Hagler and Newark didn’t garner the same front page headlines, for better or worse, than the Hitman and the Motor City did.

Hagler lived in New Jersey, and then trekked north, to Massachusetts, where he set up base in a town called Brockton. Ring a bell?

Newark burned just like Detroit, but Hagler burned hotter than Hearns. Hagler had to claw for recognition in a way that none of the other three kings, despite their own legitimate challenges, did.

Hagler was the rarest of creatures, the truly great athlete that was somehow went under (if not un) appreciated.

Hagler resented Leonard greatly. And while much of that resentment was unfair (after all, Leonard was a truly great fighter from a difficult background), it was palpable. It’s not so much that Leonard was better than Hagler at boxing (that debate may rage on forever), it’s that he was better at “the game” of boxing.

And as Hearns and Hagler salivated at the opportunity to fight Leonard, a detached retina, likely suffered in the Hearns fight, sent Leonard into a period of stasis. The down time didn’t suit Ray. He began to indulge in drugs, alcohol, and women who were not his wife. In short, without boxing, Ray Leonard was adrift and abusive. While Ronald Reagan may have called to wish Leonard well after his eye surgery, Ray’s image hid the reality of his home life that was anything but the “family values” that Ronnie espoused.

Then in 1982, Leonard created a bizarre spectacle in his hometown of Baltimore, complete with celebrity appearances by the likes of Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali, in which it was expected he would announce a fight with Hagler, who was in attendance at the event. Instead, Leonard humiliated Hagler by teasing the fight and then announcing his retirement.

To watch The Kings is to have your memory jarred at just how deeply weird Leonard’s behavior could be. At no time were his actions stranger than on that night with all the boxing cognoscenti in attendance. It was beyond insulting to Hagler.

But it was perhaps Roberto Duran who suffered the greatest. Spurned by his countrymen, and toiling through a series of mediocre performances in the ring, Duran appeared to be done.

Of the four kings, Duran was the most political. His closeness to Panamanian dictator Omar Torrijos was a great source of pride to him. When Torrijos’ plane went down in 1981, most of Latin America, including Duran, suspected that the crash which took Torrijos’ life was no accident, with many blaming the CIA.

After a period of depression, Duran looked to restore his position in boxing with a title match against champion Davey Moore, who ascended to a title in near record time, winning the light middleweight crown in just his ninth professional fight. The 32- year-old, supposedly shot, Roberto Duran obliterated Moore and reclaimed a measure of greatness.

Off of his redemptive triumph, Duran became the first of the four kings to face Marvin Hagler on November 10 of 1983 in Las Vegas.

Leonard and Hearns wanted none of Hagler, and while Duran fell short in his bid to topple Hagler, he asked everything of Hagler in losing a close 15 round decision. Duran made Hagler look human. Leonard called the fight from ringside and believed if he boxed Hagler, he could beat him.

After two years on the shelf, Leonard returned to boxing against the unheralded Kevin Howard. In a shocking turn of events, Howard dropped Leonard with a straight right hand, with Hagler laughing at ringside. Leonard picked himself up and won the fight, and then announced his retirement, second time, at the post-fight press conference.

After his close loss to Hagler, Duran signed on to fight Thomas Hearns, but his lack of personal discipline and love of the “good life” impacted his training. While he was “drinking and fucking,” Hearns was training. An out of shape Duran was brutally dropped in the second round by a vicious right hand from Hearns that I’m sure gives Duran nightmares to this day.

Coming off of his dominant victory over Duran, Hearns came after the man that struggled so greatly with the fighter he had easily decimated, Marvin Hagler. Finally, the two men would step outside of Leonard’s shadow and become the true main event.

In the aftermath of Reagan’s re-election in the 1984 race, the two fighters would contend for the largest purse in boxing history. In the go-go “me first” ‘80s, there was a certain synergy to the confluence of those two events. What followed was the most extraordinary three round fight in boxing history.

In a country consumed by wealth and surface appearances, these two men represented the other, the downtrodden, the people on the margins. These two men represented burnt out buildings and abandoned cars. They were of potholed streets and graffiti-filled sidewalks, and they would go to war. Many who have seen round one will tell you it was the greatest round in boxing history.

As Steve Farhood can be heard saying in voiceover, “It was pure Hell”—an exercise in relentless brutality where defense was a complete afterthought. These men came out swinging and didn’t stop until the bell sounded.

Hagler was bloodied, but unbowed. While his skin may have betrayed him as red fluid leaked from his face, his chin, his will, and his fists, would not be deterred. No man ever took Hearns’ vicious right hand without backing up. But Hagler knew only one direction—forward. It was as if he were made of iron. Farhood described the round as “one long scream,” and that’s not about right, it’s exactly right.

Hearns told his corner that his right hand was broke. And if ever there was a surface that could break the powerful right hand of Thomas Hearns, it was the head of Marvin Hagler. Despite the broken hand, Hearns made a bloody mess of Hagler’s face. The entirety of Hagler’s head was turning into a red mask, and still, this man was unswayed.

Then, in the third round, with blood streaming from Hagler’s head like a geyser, referee Richard Steele paused the fight to have the doctor assess Hagler’s injury.

Steele asked Hagler, “Marvin, can you see?”

To which Hagler replied, “I’m hitting him, ain’t I?”

Knowing that the cut had put the fight in jeopardy, Hagler did what a warrior does, he unloaded. In a three-punch statement of pure brutality, Hagler not only ended the fight, he ended the Thomas Hearns that everyone knew. It would be Hagler’s greatest moment in the ring and the end to Hearns’ greatness.

Episode three of The Kings ends in exhilarating fashion as Hagler finally earns the recognition he so richly deserved with Ray Leonard at ringside, looking on with envy. That used to be me, his look seems to say. And that expression clearly foreshadows what is to come in episode four.

No fair getting ahead of oneself. However, we know what’s next. One of the most confounding fights in boxing history: Leonard vs.Hagler. But before that, one must savor episode three of The Kings, which is so full of energy in its direction by Mat Whitecross that you almost feel like you are sent back in an HG Wells-made machine to a time that a fight really mattered. Because what these four men were battling for wasn’t so much championship belts, but the championship of each other.

I’ll be back to review the final installment of this stirring series tomorrow. Do give me a moment to soak in this scintillating episode three. I suggest you do the same.


STONEHANDS RULES AGAIN

The fight that he had called the greatest of his life was a day behind him, and as Roberto Duran sat at the bar of a New York restaurant last Saturday, the transformation process had already begun. A scotch and ginger ale sat before him on the bar. He watched the tape of the bout on TV and drained the glass. "Pow! Pow! Pow!" he said excitedly. Then he nodded at the woman behind the bar and pointed to his empty glass. "Una màs, "he said, "una màs."

Duran, who has often gained 40 pounds between bouts, was getting ready for a future no one believed he had, until he won a ferocious 12-round bout with Iran Barkley for the WBC middleweight title. Until the stunning split decision was announced in the Atlantic City Convention Center last Friday night, the only thing that seemed to lie before the 37-year-old Duran was his paunch. Now there is a very good chance that before the year is out he will get a rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard.

That fight would provide Duran with the big payday he has been looking for since he came back from an 18-month retirement. It has long been rumored that his former manager, Carlos Eleta, left Duran relatively penniless when the two split seven years ago. "He has my money," Duran said in the bar, "but he doesn&apost have what I have today. He can&apost rob me of this feeling."

Perhaps the most astonishing thing was not that he defeated Barkley, but that the win came almost 22 years after his pro career began. In a career that has spanned three decades, Duran has won the lightweight title (1972), the welterweight championship (1980) in his first fight against Leonard, and the WBA junior middleweight belt (1983). As a pro, he has lasted longer on the world stage than Muhammad Ali, and Duran—who is 85-7 with 61 knockouts—gives no appearance of being finished. "If Ray has nine lives," says Leonard&aposs adviser, Mike Trainer, "Roberto has 12."

As a 135-pounder in the early &apos70s, Duran may have been the best lightweight of all time, with those legendary hands of stone. But since then he has often weighed as much as 200 pounds, and he seemed to have lost both the hands and the heart that had made him a great fighter. In 1980 he turned away from Leonard in the eighth round of their second fight, told the referee, "No màs, no màs," and started his long decline.

Before that day Duran had been an almost godlike figure in his native Panama, but he quickly became something of a national disgrace. His career appeared nearly over when Wilfred Benitez defeated him in 1982, and a 15-round loss to Marvin Hagler a year later seemed surely to be the end. By 1984 Duran had become an embarrassment to himself, pummeled to the canvas by Thomas Hearns in two rounds.

After losing a decision to Hagler&aposs half-brother Robbie Sims 2½ years ago, Duran put together a string of five consecutive victories against the likes of Ricky Stackhouse and Paul Thorn. His last fight was in October, after which he swelled to 190 pounds. But given his first chance at a title in nearly five years, Duran started training seriously for Barkley four months ago in Miami.

Duran made the 160-pound weight limit two weeks before the fight and was a lean 156¼ pounds at the weigh-in. Barkley stepped on the scale at the Trump Plaza Theater𠅊nd nearly fainted dead away when it registered 164 pounds. "I thought it was all over," said Barkley, who had weighed 160 pounds earlier that morning. If the heavier reading had been correct, Barkley would have had to forfeit his title right there. He stepped off the scale, then stepped back on it𠅊nd now it read 159 pounds. Evidently a jokester in Duran&aposs entourage had put his foot on the scale.

Nasty, wintry weather paralyzed the boardwalk on Friday, but Duran was red hot. "The first round was very important because I had to come back at him when he hit me," Duran said later. With Barkley boring in on Duran&aposs midsection, a target the champion may have expected to find softer than it was, Duran stayed in front of him, deftly slipping most blows.

Barkley found Duran&aposs head in the seventh round and stunned him with a whistling hook. As the bell sounded, the two stood and glared at each other for a moment. In the eighth, Barkley appeared to score again with a left hook, which caused Duran to dance a pirouette to keep his feet. "It threw me off balance because he hit me in the neck," Duran said. "But he never hurt me."

Barkley was holding his left hand low, and Duran kept throwing right hands at his head. By the ninth round Barkley&aposs left eye was closing. Seeing that, Duran summoned up a final charge. When Barkley waded into him in the 11th, Duran hit him with three howitzer combinations. "Barkley was paying for everything he threw," Duran said. "He had to take a punch to throw one, so I put more power into my punches." The third combination sent Barkley to the deck. He survived the round, but after the bell rang, he wandered around the ring for a moment, looking for his corner. He was lost, and though he struggled through one more round, so was his title.


The Fight

Round One

Duan: You get the sense right from the off that this is going to be a tough night’s work for Duran unless he can lure Leonard into a fight. Ray is moving well early and Roberto is slow in closing him down. The younger man picks off some nice jabs as Duran plods after his nose already reddening from the shots.

GG: Leonard looks all business. The ring looks huge. Leonard only has to take a step or two and Duran is already out of distance. Leonard peppered Duran with two shots that didn’t quite pop, but he was out of there quick. Leonard doesn’t do much, but Duran does less.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Two

Duan: An indication of the different levels of preparedness between rounds. Ray’s team have him wrapped in blankets to keep him from cooling off during the breaks, while Duran’s corner are holding an ice pack to the back of the still cold fighter. He’s fighting like a cold fighter too when they take center ring. His movement is frigid, his shots look slow and forced. He does start to throw some half decent body shots in this round, but Leonard is mostly able to just takes a half step back or a little slip to the side and tag him with the jab and even bring through a few sharp right-hand counters too. Ray starts to mix in some of the taunting and trickery that caused Duran to unravel nine years earlier. He’s starting to feel it already.

GG: Duran sneaks one big right hand in. Ray fakes a bolo punch. He’s pretty confident in there that Duran can’t really reach him. Ray goes back to the corner under a blanket. Leonard’s landing at a high percentage.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Three

Duan: Great Leonard round. He’s going to work with both the jab and the right to the body of Duran and he’s starting to bully and beat up on him like he did in New Orleans. Roberto is landing at an extraordinarily low rate which bodes poorly for a boxer who needed to establish a foothold early. He over lunges late in the round and is teed off on by a Leonard left hook against the ropes which rocks his head back.

GG: This is an even better round for Leonard as he’s found his comfort zone and is landing pretty much whatever he wants. He’s still staying on the outside and using his long reach.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Four

Duan: Duran looked like he was going back to the wrong corner at the end of the 3rd round and Ray followed him across the ring and shoved him from behind. Again doing everything he can to get in his head. Ray’s corner warn him it’s not time for the macho stuff yet and implore him to keep boxing until he’s softened Duran up some more. Duran’s team want him to be more aggressive. I don’t think it’s through any lack of trying that he’s not been so far. He just looks bamboozled. He can’t get anything going. Ray is not willing to trade with him the way he did with Lalonde and Hearns and Roborto doesn’t have the legs to chase him down.

Leonard did less damaging work in this round, perhaps taking a breather, but he still banked the points. Duran’s most effective offense so far has been a butt that opened up a cut Leonard’s mouth in this session.

GG: Leonard is going to the body often. Merchant says that Leonard is giving Duran a boxing clinic. At the end of the round, Leonard hops back to his corner and Duran looks at him with a look of disgust.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Five

Duan: The crowd rallies for Duran in this round and it seems to spur him on some. We see a bit more spirit to his attacks. There’s still not a lot of effective work from him but he tries to bullrush, grab in close and fling away to the body. Mostly though, Ray is able to just circle away, create distance and boss it on the outside.

GG: Leonard must’ve gotten hit solid as he has blood in his mouth. Faint chant for Duran. Duran gets inside and Leonard immediately ties him up.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Six

Duan: Duran looked like he might be starting to find a foothold early in the sixth. He was forcing the action and the space between he and Leonard was beginning to closing. In the last minute though, Ray turned up the heat and completely took the play away from him. I’m not sure if perhaps he felt Roberto weakening, but Ray elected to stand and trade for the first time in the fight and got much the better of it. He threw the kitchen sink at Duran as the round drew to a close, shaking him a few times.

GG: Leonard is absolutely having his way with Duran in the 6th. Duran was wobbled a few times and Leonard was teeing off with him. Leonard held the top of his head and threw a bolo-type uppercut. Duran was a shell of himself that round.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Seven

Duan: Leonard is back on the move again this session. He still looks really sharp, timing Duran and landing clean, crisp counters. When they get in close now, he’s happy to take the fight to Duran there too, slinging away with hooks to the body and head on the inside.

GG: I wondered if Leonard was going to try to close the show, but he really didn’t. He stayed on track and kept piling on the points.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Eight

Duan: Duran looks like a man totally lacking in belief between rounds. His corner tells him Ray is getting tired. Larry Merchant infers that Duran is too old and too wise to buy what they’re saying. Larry’s probably right.

These rounds have to be miserable for the great Panamanian. Leonard landed with some one-twos that even up at super middle you would expect to put most guys over. Duran never wilted though. If he wanted a way out, he could have taken it.

GG: Leonard blasted him with a big right hand. Duran’s corner said he was getting tired and I don’t see it. He threw some inside combinations that were more show than go that got the crowd excited.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Nine

Duan: This is interesting. Leonard is conscious of the fans displeasure with what’s going on in the ring. He says “to hell with the crowd” to his corner, which Pepe Correa repeats back to him. It’s almost like he’s embracing it in this round too as he’s back in his safety first shell, making Roberto miss and enjoying doing so to the ire of those watching. He sparks into life in the last 30 seconds to show the judges he’s still dominating and in total control.

GG: Poor Duran is so frustrated. He knows that he can’t catch Leonard and all he can do is keep punching, but in punching, he’s missing so much. And his reflexes aren’t where they need to be to counter Leonard, who is landing at will.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Ten

Duan: This is another grueling round for Duran with Leonard back to taking command of center ring, planting his feet and letting go with big looping hooks which thud off his face and head. Merchant notes how Leonard isn’t taunting Duran anymore perhaps out of respect for the heart and guts he’s shown to keep taking these shots round after round. I have a Sugar Ray shutout through 10.

GG: Leonard tees off on Duran’s body with two big rights. Just wound up from way outside and Duran couldn’t do anything about it. Leonard closed the round strong.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Eleven

Duan: Ray is so confident going into the 11th. Everything he’s done so far has worked. He’s relaxed and having fun with him in there. This is full circle from the scared kid we saw in Montreal. He’s besting Duran in every aspect now. Maybe that confidence turned into overconfidence though as he gets smashed with a huge right hook by Duran in one last show of defiance. It opens up a gruesome tear above the eye which had it happened any earlier in the fight would have almost certainly been a problem for the doctors to look at.

GG: Leonard blasts Duran with a right hand, but then at the same time, Duran blasted him with a right hand and Leonard’s eye starts leaking. The corner can’t even get it to stop bleeding. Duran’s best shot came with just 3 minutes left in the fight.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Leonard
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Round Twelve

Duan: Ray was taking no chances in the final round with his eye as bad as it was. He spent the entire round circling away, flicking out punches more as a deterrent than a weapon. Duran chased him as he did all night, but did so with very little success as has also been the case all night. I gave him the round his only one of the fight, but it was otherwise a Leonard sweep. Roberto raised his hands at the final bell showing the same stubbornness that defined his career

GG: As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t give Duran the 12th. This was much like the early rounds, except Leonard just wasn’t that active. You would’ve thought that after he opened up the cut, Duran would be like a man possessed to try and knock him out, but he didn’t even really try.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Duran
GG’s score: 10-9 Leonard

Decision

Duan’s card: 119-109 Leonard
GG’s card>: 120-108 Leonard

Jerry Roth: 119-109 Leonard
Joe Cortez: 116-111 Leonard
Bob Logist: 120-110 Leonard

Duan: Ray fought the perfect fight to beat Duran at this stage of his career and at times he looked very good doing it. It would be the last win of his career and it was the last time we got to at least see some glimpses of the great Ray Leonard.

Did the fight need to happen? For Ray maybe it did. Everything about his performance said to me it was a fight he was driven by and one he was taking every bit as seriously as his biggest bouts. I think in his mind he needed to turn the score against Duran in his favour and do so in a way where the story would be about him winning and not Roberto losing.

For Duran? Maybe he needed it too. It was a way for him to lay the ghosts of No Mas to rest. I believe that’s what kept him in there to the final bell. He wanted to show that Leonard wouldn’t break him this time.

There has to be an ending to every era and that’s what this was. There weren’t going to be any more battles between the Fabulous Four after this because there couldn’t be. Any thoughts of a Leonard/Haggler rematch or a Leonard/Hearns 3 were gone because everybody knew it was over and the demand wouldn’t have been there anymore. In that sense, maybe it was needed for that closure.


Roberto Duran tells the real story behind the ‘No mas’ bout

Why did he quit? And did he actually say "No mas" - no more - after throwing in the towel?

Those questions have haunted Roberto Duran, his fans and boxing observers since he infamously, and seemingly inexplicably, quit his Nov. 25, 1980, rematch vs. Sugar Ray Leonard in New Orleans with 16 seconds left in the eighth round.

The Panamanian pugilist dominated as a lightweight in the 1970s, then moved up to the welterweight division to challenge Leonard, the then-undefeated 147-pound WBC champion, on June 20, 1980.

In what was billed "The Brawl in Montreal," Duran captured the welterweight crown by unanimous decision.

A fall rematch that was insisted upon by Duran's manager, Panamanian businessman Carlos Eleta, was doomed from the start, Duran tells Viva.

"That was the mistake he made," Duran, 65, says of Eleta, who died in 2013 at age 94. "I beat Leonard, and then I got really fat. I had to lose too much weight, I got cramps… I didn't have strength for anything.

"Eleta was supposed to give me way, way, way more time to prepare myself the right way," he adds. "I was too fat."

Duran, on whom the upcoming film "Hands of Stone" is based, goes on to explain what went through his mind before he quit the fight - a bout in which he wasn't hurt and had only been losing 67-66 on one judge's scorecard and 68-66 on the other two judges' cards.

"Well, (Leonard) beat me," he says. "Fighting (that night), I think I said in my mind, 'Well, I lose, and when the rematch comes, I'll prepare better and beat him again.'

"But it never came," says Duran, who would wait nine years to face Leonard again, losing in a 12-round unanimous decision.

According to Duran, born in Panama to a Panamanian mother and Mexican-American father, the words "No mas" were never spoken by him to anyone following the bout.

"When I lost the fight in the ring, I said, 'No sigo, no sigo, no sigo,'" says Duran, whose statement translates to repeatedly saying, "I'm not going any further," which he claims he mumbled to himself.

"And it looks like (broadcaster) Howard Cosell, who was below the ring, was the one who started saying that I was saying, 'No mas.'

"He's the one who came up with 'No mas,'" the ex-champ continued, adding that he feels that Cosell was pulling for Leonard.

Duran, whose rivalry with Leonard evolved into a friendship, was initially motivated to buy his mother, now 83, a house with his earnings from boxing after a childhood marked by abject poverty and paternal abandonment.

"I never thought that I was going to get anywhere," says the four-division champ, who won his last major title in 1989, when he upset Iran Barkley with a split decision for the WBC middleweight title.


The Men and the Myths: Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and 'No Mas,' 35 Years Later

Just five months after one of the greatest fights in modern boxing history, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran met in a rematch that somehow managed to transcend the original. N o classic in the ring, it was well on its way to being a notable fiasco. Had the bout gone to a decision as seemed its destiny, it would be remembered merely as a disappointment, proof that lightning rarely manages to strike twice.

Around 60,000 tickets remained unsold as the two entered the ring, and in the second round, the jury-rigged ring buckled. Leonard, after a courageous showing in the first bout, was content to dance. Duran, fat and tired after months of celebrating, was either too disinterested or too exhausted to chase him all that hard.

But all was forgotten when, in the eighth round, Duran simply waved Leonard away, telling the referee he didn't want to box anymore. Did he really say " No Mas ," a phrase that has entered the popular consciousness? And why did the most fearsome man in boxing walk away from the biggest fight of his Hall of Fame career?

Thirty-five years later, the best we can do is speculate. In boxing, history is part truth and part mythology. When discussing "No Mas," it's not always easy to separate the two. Even the existence of a "No Mas" moment is hotly disputed.

"From his mouth, he never actually said 'no mas.' The actual words no mas," Duran's son, Robin, said at the New York screening of a documentary about the fight. "It's very hard for a fighter to speak with a mouthpiece on. He just waved his hand."

Although little is steeped in certainty, we know this much—it's a story that begins not in the then-Louisiana Superdome on the night of November 25, 1980, but months earlier in Montreal, where the two men began their famous feud.

Dos Manos de Peidro

Juanita Leonard finally couldn't stand to look anymore. Tears ran down her face as the implacable and cruel Duran did exactly what he said he would do in a series of ugly pre-fight confrontations. In the eighth round, she fainted. Her husband, however, was forced to endure seven more grueling rounds.

Leonard chose to stay flat-footed with Duran and slug it out. His belief in his punching power ultimately proved to be his downfall. In an all-out war, Leonard lost the decision, even as he gained the respect and admiration of boxing fans for the manner in which he fought.

Ray had given it his all. For the first time in his professional life, that hadn't been enough.

"He threw his best," a shaken Leonard said at the post-fight press conference. "I threw my best. The best man came out on top."

Some fighters are classy in victory. Duran was not one of those fighters. Immediately after the bout, he pointed to his crotch and called Leonard a "p---y" in Spanish. Incensed, Ray's brother, Roger, came charging across the ring and got dropped by a right hand. Such was the bedlam in the ring, few even noticed.

"I knew I was going to beat him," Duran told the press. "I'm more of a man than he is."

While Leonard considered retirement in the immediate aftermath of his first career loss, it didn't take long for him to recommit himself to the sport. As William Nack wrote in Sports Illustrated, a vacation with his wife to escape boxing soon turned into a working trip of sorts:

They had been in Hawaii only a day when Leonard began to feel encouraged to fight again. First of all, the swelling of his face and ear had gone down quickly, and his body no longer was aching and sore. And everywhere he went—into stores and restaurants along Waikiki Beach—strangers waved and called to him, "You'll get him next time, champ." On the second day he was there, Leonard got up early, put on his sweats and started out the door to do roadwork.

The loser sulked and reconsidered his life. The victor, meanwhile, reveled. Nearly 700,000 fans greeted him at the airport in Panama after the fight. Already a folk hero, he became something more. A walking party, he took a huge entourage back with him to New York and proceeded to redefine the word indulgence.

Duran, who once punched out a horse on a bet to pay for a bar tab, was suddenly flush. Decked out in Armani, he hit the town instead, spending $100,000 in just a few months by picking up every bar and restaurant tab for an expanding entourage.

While the champion ate and drank through the night, Leonard's team started putting the rematch together. Janks Morton, Leonard's bodyguard, had seen Duran in New York and told him that the champion was partying every night and approaching 200 pounds. Leonard, never one to let an advantage slide, pushed for an immediate rematch and hit the gym.

"It was calculated on my part," Leonard told author George Kimball in Four Kings. "I knew Duran was overweight and partying big time. I've done some partying myself, but I know when to cut it out. I said to Mike 'Let's do it now, as soon as possible.' In retrospect, it was pretty clever of me."

While Duran's camp has been criticized for agreeing to the rematch despite knowing he was in poor condition, it's not quite that simple. Duran was so out of control, there was a real fear that even a tuneup fight could cost him dearly.

"I made that rematch in three months because he started drinking," Duran's manager and patron Carlos Eleta told Duran's biographer, Christian Giudice. "I worried if he fought again, he would lose to a second-rate fighter."

Either Duran would find the will to train again or he would lose. Better, his inner circle thought, to lose to Leonard for a record payday than to lose to a lesser fighter for a fraction of the financial gain.

Don King had the rights to the fight and committed an astronomical $15 million to get both fighters' signatures on the bottom line. Somehow he managed to get the Superdome and Houston's Astrodome into a bidding war that Louisiana "won." According to Kimball, for $17.5 million, they got 90 percent of the promotion.

Not only was King off the hook for the huge fighter salaries, but he kept the foreign television rights for himself. Had every ticket been sold, including the front row seats at $1,000 a piece, the Hyatt Corporation could have turned a small profit. But on the night of the fight, 60,000 empty seats stared back at them no matter how many times they blinked their eyes in disbelief.

Local fans who weren't on the road for Thanksgiving, it seems, were happy to stay home on a Tuesday night and watch the fight with the rest of the world 30 days later on ABC, which paid a record $2.5 million to air the bout. That was bad news for executive Neil Gunn, who had spearheaded the deal.

"Neil Gunn was an awfully nice fellow, and we did our best to help him out," Leonard's manager, Mike Trainer, told Kimball. "But they had vastly overpaid for that fight. They took a beating."

In Leonard's camp, intensity was the watch word. His original trainer, Dave Jacobs, was out. He'd wanted a tuneup before the Duran rematch and split when the fighter insisted on an immediate rematch.

By the Numbers: Leonard and Duran
FighterLeonardDuran
Height5✐"5ɷ"
Reach74"66"
Record36-3-1 (25 KO)103-16 (70 KO)
boxrec.com

His chief sparring partner was Dale Staley, a fighter who not only worshipped Duran but may have been even meaner. In a 1979 fight, he was disqualified for biting an opponent. While that was beyond the pale for the training room, he was encouraged to employ every dirty trick in an outlaw boxer's repertoire.

"He fought like Roberto Duran," Leonard told NPR. "He used his head and dirty tactics and what-have-you. And it made me more aware, from a defensive standpoint, so when I faced Duran, I was prepared."

Duran's downfall began the moment moment the Panamanian national anthem played. "Like the noise made by two gypsy wagons rolling over on their own violins," the estimable Bert Sugar wrote in The Ring, a contrast to the magical musical moment to follow.

Ray Charles, Leonard's namesake, then entered the ring for a rousing rendition of "America the Beautiful."

"If that didn't touch, didn't move, didn't cause a chill along your spine," television announcer Howard Cosell said, "I don't suppose anything could."

It was a gorgeous moment, made even more special for Leonard when the blind singer hugged him after it was done and passed on a message.

As the bell sounded for their rematch, Leonard immediately began to display the lateral movement lacking in their first fight. Duran, as hard a puncher and excellent a boxer as he was, seemed flummoxed. Rather than properly cut the ring off, Duran began to follow Leonard, eating jabs and check left hooks as he bounded in.

"Duran's pace was not the same," Showtime boxing analyst Steve Farhood said in 30 for 30: No Mas. "Because he wasn't facing that pace, Leonard was able to box. There was no running. It wasn't a track meet. Ray Leonard was giving him a boxing lesson."

The fight, later a disaster for Duran, was almost a disaster for everyone in the second round. The premium tickets for the fight were set up on what would have normally been the football field. To help improve sightlines, promoters actually bolted the ring on top of another set of ring posts, raising the whole contraption 10 feet into the air.

Already strained to its limits by the enormous entourage that followed the champion into the ring, the middle of the ring collapsed as the fighters alternately danced and shuffled around. As Kimball reported, though most failed to notice, the ring was sagging in the middle:

Between rounds (promoters) hastily summoned a platoon of the football players recruited as security guards. The college boys managed to reposition the center column, and then were ordered to remain there, with the weight of the promotion literally on their shoulders for the remainder of the fight.

Crisis averted, it was a close fight in the early rounds. Duran was throwing more punches and landing fewer. As time passed, however, Duran was simply unable to keep Leonard pinned to the ropes. His body attack disappeared, and Duran began to head hunt with single shots, all full power and speed.

He looked lost, mouth open, his famed sneer replaced by a sad gasping for air. All the while, Leonard bounced around the ring, countering effectively and rolling off Duran's punches.

In the seventh round, Leonard's clowning, until that moment present but not predominant, took center stage. He stuck his chin out and dared Duran to hit him. The champion couldn't. Leonard was mimicking Neo in The Matrix before such a thing existed.

No longer fearful of Duran's power, Leonard began to mock the legendary Panamanian. First, a shrug of the shoulders. Then an Ali Shuffle. Before long, Leonard faked a bolo punch and popped a seemingly awestruck Duran dead in the face with the jab.

While the punch did its work, making Duran's eyes water, according to Leonard, Nack believes it was the psychic damage that did the most harm:

Leonard may have hurt Duran with blows to the body and brought water to his eyes with stinging jabs to the nose, but Leonard knew where to sink the blade to make the deepest wound. That slip-jab off the mock bolo in the seventh round may have been the most painful blow of Duran's life, because it drew hooting laughter from the crowd and made Duran a public spectacle—a laughingstock.

Despite the objections of the boxing purists, Leonard's taunting of Duran did its wicked work it was undoubtedly the most sustained humiliation Duran ever suffered. Leonard had his number, and Duran knew it. Perhaps, as Arcel suggests, "something snapped." And so, facing seven more rounds, Duran turned and raised his arms in the eighth, as if emerging from a trench.

For the first time in his career, Duran looked less the killer and more the unwitting prey. Howard Cosell's shouts above the din of the crowd suggested Duran was still an enormous threat to Leonard. Instead, the taunting seemed to have an emasculating effect on the great Duran. As he sat on his stool, tended to by his team, the look in his eyes ceased to be that of confidence. It was fear.

"I did everything I said I was going to do, and he couldn't accept it," Leonard said after the fight. "He was frustrated, confused. I did everything I could to make him go off, like a clock wound up too tight. He got wound up so tight, he blew a spring."

In the eighth round, Leonard remained firmly in control. As seconds wound down, the bell just 30 ticks from ending the round, Duran turned to his left and raised his right hand. Octavio Meyran, the third man in the ring, signaled repeatedly for the fight to continue. He, like Cosell, the ticket-buying audience and the millions watching on closed-circuit TV, refused to believe what he was seeing.

Leonard, with Duran's back turned, pounced. But Duran was through and Meyran called the fight off at the 2:44 mark. Roberto Duran, the most dangerous fighter pound-for-pound in the world, was committing boxing's biggest sin.

"He quit," Leonard's brother Roger shouted as his brother looked around befuddled. "He quit on you, Ray."

The Aftermath

The crowd, like the millions who would later watch on television, was confused. Confused and eventually furious.

"Quitter, quitter," they chanted, according to the New York Daily News' Phil Pepe. "Fix, fix, fix."

Confusion reigned ringside as well, with Duran's corner as perplexed as anyone.

"He just quit," Duran's veteran trainer, Freddie Brown, told Nack. "I been with the guy nine years and I can't answer it. The guy's supposed to be an animal, right? And he quit. You'd think that an animal would fight right up to the end."

In The Ring, the dean of boxing writers was aghast. Machismo, Bert Sugar believed, died that night in New Orleans:

It was thought there were but four immutable laws which governed the universe: That the Earth always goes around the sun That lawyers always get paid first That every action has an equal and opposite reaction And that Roberto Duran would have to be carried out on his shield, blood streaming out of his ears, before he would ever quit. Now you can scratch one of the above.

While two words, "No Mas," would eventually come to define the fight, only one seemed to matter in the aftermath —why? The story shifted with time. World Boxing Council President Jose Sulaiman claimed an injured right shoulder was the culprit. In Duran's locker room, attention turned to stomach cramps, blamed on the enormous meal he'd eaten after the weigh-ins that same day.

As Thomas Boswell reported in the Washington Post, Duran began gorging himself almost immediately after leaving the stage:

As soon as the breakfast steak hit his plate this morning, Duran, the fork encircled by his fist and held backhand like a death instrument, impaled the meat as though it might try to wriggle away. Once center-shot and speared, the steak was never allowed to leave the fork as Duran simply picked up the slab and gnawed around the fork, tearing the meat off with a twist of his head. Anybody can have good manners only Duran, in his leather jacket, wool stocking cap, diamond earring, collar-length black mane, piratical beard and white neckerchief, can make eating seem so carnal that it ought to be X-rated. This is boxing's ignoble savage.

But no matter which story was for sale, few were buying, even within Duran's camp.

"He said, 'To hell with this fellow. He's making fun of me and I'm not going to fight anymore.' Stomach Cramps? Maybe that's true, maybe it's not," Eleta told reporters. "But Duran didn't quit because of stomach cramps. He quit because he was embarrassed. I know this. Roberto was crying after the fight when I took him to the hospital for a checkup. In the car, he said to me, 'I'm ashamed of myself. I never should have done that. That's not me. I am not proud of myself.'"

Later that night, before a perfunctory trip to the hospital, Duran was seen partying in his hotel room. Down the hall, his 81-year old trainer, Ray Arcel, wept.

"The whole situation was more than I could take," he told biographer Donald Dewey in Ray Arcel: A Boxing Biography. "It took a long time for me to get over it, if I ever did."

Famed columnist Mike Lupica, writing in the New York Daily News, was hyperbolic to the point of cruelty, but reflected the general consensus. Duran didn't just lose a fight, he wrote. He betrayed the very essence of his sport:

Roberto Duran was indeed a quitter in the Superdome Tuesday night. Duran, who was supposed to be the greatest street fighter of them all, with a fighting heart the size of Panama, turned one of the most anticipated boxing rematches in years into something foul-smelling and dirty.

Former light heavyweight champion Jose Torres, writing in The Ring months later, explained that Duran's decision stung worse because of how he'd been built up in the media:

Duran played this part quite well. He spoke about killing opponents. He grunted like an animal and his eyes would become cold as ice. There was foam in the corners of his mouth as he snarled at his rivals.

. Given the social background of Duran — growing up very poor in the ghettos of Panama and shining shoes to survive — old philosophies were revived and new ones were developed about "Hispanic machismo."

At a press conference afterward, as Duran attempted to explain himself, a lone voice can be heard clearly from the peanut gallery yelling "You're a disgrace." Things were worse in Panama, where the former champion was forced to remain a virtual prisoner in his own home.

"I am retired from boxing right now," Duran said at the time. "I don't want to fight anymore."

That promise, however real it may have felt at the time, of course couldn't hold. Duran would return to the ring 45 more times in his career, earning redemption of sorts in a middleweight title fight against Iran Barkley and even facing Leonard in a best-forgotten 1989 rubber match.

It wouldn't matter. To boxing fans, No Mas overshadowed all that preceded it and all that was to come. For Leonard, it was the ultimate revenge.

"I made him quit," Leonard said. "To make a man quit, to make a Roberto Duran quit, was better than knocking him out."


Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao (2015)

You probably remember the build-up to this fight more than the fight itself. What was marketed as the “Fight of the Century” between champion Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao did, in fact, become the highest-grossing fight of the century (and history), generating an insane $400 million and 4.6 million pay-per-view buys. Hopes were high. Delivery was low. This fight is a lesson in the power of hype and how a lot of modern boxing relies on build-up.


Hands of Stone (2016)

Yes. In the movie, Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramírez) states, "I work all my life. I didn't have any food when I was a kid. I'm hungry. I don't want to be hungry anymore." The Hands of Stone true story reveals that the real Roberto Duran grew up in poverty in the slums of El Chorrillo in Panama City, Panama. He was born in a concrete apartment block known as La Casa de Piedra (the House of Stone). -Christian Giudice book

Did Roberto Duran really work in the streets as a boy to make money to help his mother?

How old was Roberto Duran when he started boxing?

Roberto Duran began sparring with experienced boxers when he was just eight years old at the Gimnasio Nacional (later renamed the Neco de La Guardia gymnasium). In 1968 at age 16, Duran made his professional boxing debut. -Biography.com

Did Roberto Duran really have a chip on his shoulder toward America?

Yes. In the film, when Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramírez) meets Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro) he expresses that he doesn't like anyone from America. Growing up in Panama, the real Roberto Duran harbored hostility towards America, the country that controlled the Canal Zone when the building of the Panama Canal was finished in 1914 (a project America had taken over in 1904). America's rights to the Zone region, which included both sides of the Canal, caused tensions. The Americans created a country club like atmosphere in the Zone and governed the area by U.S. law. It also didn't help that Roberto's father, Margarito Duran Sanchez, who had abandoned him when he was just a year and five months old, was an American. Margarito was a U.S. Army cook of Mexican decent from Arizona who had been stationed in the Canal Zone. He left abruptly when his tour of duty ended. -Christian Giudice book

How old were Roberto Duran and his wife when they got married?

Some reports claim that Roberto Duran married his wife Felicidad Iglesias near the start of his professional boxing career when he was 17 and she was only 14 (The Portland Press Herald). However, it is not uncommon in the impoverished areas of Panama for two people to call each other husband and wife long before ever having an official ceremony. Christian Giudice's book Hands of Stone, on which the movie was based, puts the wedding sometime shortly after Duran's 1980 victory against Leonard, when Felicidad's parents finally approved of him. Duran and Felicidad are the parents of eight children. In researching the Hands of Stone true story, we learned that Roberto Duran had another child, a daughter named Dalia. Her mother was Silvia, a girlfriend who he was involved with while dating Felicidad.

Did Ray Arcel leave boxing because of pressure from the mob?

Yes. Like in the movie, Arcel was pressured out of the business by the Mob, who didn't like his idea of securing television deals to take boxing national. In 1953, a then 54-year-old Arcel was standing outside a Boston hotel when a man emerged from a crowd and hit him in the back of the head with a piece of pipe wrapped in a paper bag. Arcel nearly died and was laid up in the hospital for 19 days. The assault was a major influence on his decision to retire from the sport in 1956 and work in the purchasing department of an alloy company. He wouldn't return to boxing for roughly 16 years. In 1972, Roberto Duran's manager, Carlos Eleta, asked a 72-year-old Arcel to train one of his fighters, Alfonso "Peppermint" Frazer, who was set to fight for the championship of the world. After Frazer won, Eleta asked Arcel to watch Duran fight. View a Ray Arcel interview during which he reflects on his career and the fighters he worked with. -Christian Giudice book

Did trainer Ray Arcel really comb Roberto Duran's hair in between rounds?

Did Roberto Duran really name his son Robin after Robin Hood?

Yes. As soon as Roberto Duran became successful as a boxer, he gave a large portion of his earnings back to his community in Panama and was even known to hand out money in the streets. "He told me once, 'I like to be like Robin Hood. If I have money, I will give the poor people all the money.' And he did," said his first manager Carlos Eleta. He even named his son Robin after the English folklore hero who robs from the rich and gives to the poor. -Beyond the Glory

Did Roberto Duran really insult Sugar Ray Leonard's wife?

Yes. The encounter was real. Leonard at first offered Duran a smile when he saw his next opponent coming towards him and his wife, but Duran had other things in mind. "He taunted me," Leonard later told the Los Angeles Times. "He cursed my mother, my children, my wife. He said unbelievable things and I let them get to me." According to Leonard's trainer Angelo Dundee, Duran told Leonard's wife Juanita that he was going to kill her husband. "That got to Ray," says Dundee. "He couldn't believe that Duran could be so crude in front of his wife. He was a family man and a father." To Duran, the U.S. Olympic champion Leonard represented silver spoon American privilege, a fighter whose toughness was nothing more than a facade created by the media. -Christian Giudice book

Had Sugar Ray Leonard really been undefeated when he first faced Roberto Duran?

How much did Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard each earn for "The Brawl in Montreal"?

In fact-checking the Hands of Stone movie, we learned that Roberto Duran received $1.65 million for the June 20, 1980 fight and Sugar Ray Leonard took home nearly $8.5 million, making him the highest-paid boxer in history at the time. Feeling that his take was unfair, Duran made sure to be compensated better for their second fight, especially after emerging victorious in the first. For the November 25, 1980 rematch, Duran received $8 million and Leonard got $7 million. -Christian Giudice book

Had Roberto Duran been undefeated prior to losing against Sugar Ray Leonard in their rematch?

No. After 31 straight victories, Roberto Duran lost his first fight in a non-title light welterweight bout against Esteban De Jesús in 1972. Following the loss, he amassed 41 consecutive wins and defeated De Jesús in 1978 to claim the WBC lightweight title. In 1979, Duran relinquished his belts to move up to the welterweight class, and on June 20, 1980, he sought to capture the WBC welterweight title from a then undefeated Sugar Ray Leonard. Duran won the fight by unanimous decision after 15 rounds. His record then stood at 72-1 with 55 knockouts. -Biography.com

Did greed really drive Roberto's manager to arrange for him to fight Sugar Ray again just five months later?

Greed did play a part but was not the whole reason that Roberto's manager Carlos Eleta rushed the rematch. As depicted in the movie, Eleta arranged a second fight with Sugar Ray Leonard to take place on November 25, 1980, just five months after Roberto Duran had beat him. The fight was being promoted by Don King and would land Eleta with an $8 million score. Eleta claimed that he hurried the fight because Duran began drinking and putting on weight. He felt that Duran would soon not even beat a second-rate fighter. -Christian Giudice book

Was Roberto prepared to take on Sugar Ray again so soon?

No. After defeating Sugar Ray Leonard and becoming the welterweight champion of the world, Roberto Duran spent months partying and celebrating his victory. Like in the movie, he had gained roughly 40 pounds (though Duran has claimed it was more), which he then needed to lose in order to fight. He stepped into the boxing ring in New Orleans Superdome ill-prepared for the rematch, both physically and mentally. As champion, he had lost his burning desire to win. -Christian Giudice book

Why did Roberto Duran abruptly stop his second fight against Sugar Ray Leonard?

Roberto Duran quit the fight in the eighth round, telling his trainer and corner men, "I will not fight with this clown anymore." As seen in the Sugar Ray Leonard Roberto Duran fight video, Leonard taunted Duran and at times made him look foolish. Duran would later tell the press that stomach pain forced him to stop, but he was irritated by Leonard's lack of respect. -The Portland Press Herald

Did Roberto Duran ever utter the words, "No mas"?

No. The Hands of Stone true story confirms that Roberto Duran never actually said, "No mas." Duran himself says that he never used those words. According to manager Carlos Eleta, Duran said, "I will not fight with this clown anymore." Howard Cosell, who was broadcasting the fight, picked up only the words "no mas" (no more), which have become cemented in sports history. "No mas" also made for better headlines. -Christian Giudice book

Did Roberto Duran attempt a comeback after quitting the "No Mas" fight against Sugar Ray Leonard?

Yes, but consecutive losses fueled speculation that his career as a boxer had reached its end. Promoter Don King dropped him. His manager Carlos Eleta and the rest of his corner cut ties with him as well. He had become a punchline in the world of boxing. However, the fire that once burned in him slowly began to ignite again, and at age 33 he found himself going up against Davey Moore, the then undefeated junior middleweight champion. No one believed Duran could win, but he did with a knockout, securing his third world championship. He boxed for nearly two more decades, moving up another weight class (middleweight) and winning a fourth world championship on February 24, 1989 against Iran Barkley. Duran suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung in a 2001 car accident, prompting him to officially retire from boxing in 2002 when he was 50. -Beyond the Glory

Where did the movie's title "Hands of Stone" come from?

Did Roberto Duran ever fight Sugar Ray Leonard again after quitting the "No Mas" fight?

Yes. Nearly a decade after the "No Mas" fight, Roberto Duran got his rematch against Sugar Ray Leonard in December of 1989. Both fighters were past their prime and Leonard won the third fight substantially by unanimous decision.

Was Roberto Duran Ray Arcel's favorite among the champions he trained?

No. According to Ray's wife, Stephanie Arcel, of the 22 champions her husband trained, his favorite was Benny Leonard, a lightweight boxer who became champion during World War I. "He was a master fighter," Stephanie said of Benny, "and Ray liked brains over brawn." -The New York Times

What is Roberto Duran doing today?

Roberto Duran lives in his home country of Panama where he owns a restaurant. -The Portland Press Herald

Watch the first Roberto Duran vs. Sugar Ray Leonard fight in its entirety, then watch Duran and Leonard being interviewed about the fight. Strengthen your knowledge of the Hands of Stone true story by watching a Ray Arcel interview and a video that highlights the infamous rematch between Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard, which Duran quit in the eighth round.


Boxing history tells a nuanced tale when it comes to quitting fights

Daniel Dubois gives up on one knee in his fight against Joe Joyce. We later learned he suffered a broken orbital bone around his eye and damaged nerves that may have blinded him. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Daniel Dubois gives up on one knee in his fight against Joe Joyce. We later learned he suffered a broken orbital bone around his eye and damaged nerves that may have blinded him. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Last modified on Wed 2 Dec 2020 20.18 GMT

W hen Daniel Dubois quit in the 10th round against Joe Joyce, the young heavyweight with the kind face and a good heart was hurled into a pit of shame alongside some of the hardest men in the history of boxing, Roberto Duran and Mike Tyson among them.

The public court of social media – the modern equivalent of Robespierre’s revolutionary tribunal – pronounced that Dubois had committed the fight game’s unforgivable sin. The panel, surprisingly to some, included members of his own tribe: Dillian Whyte, David Haye, Johnny Nelson, Carl Frampton and others familiar with the reality of the ring. He had broken The Code.

Perhaps it made them feel better about themselves to point out his failing. Maybe they were carried away with the collective shock of seeing a sculpted, 17st-plus heavyweight giving up on one knee, rather than flat on his back. Clearly he had quit – but he knew more than they did.

For the accused, abandonment by his peers will leave a psychological bruise at least as deep as the physical pain of a broken orbital bone around his eye, with damaged nerves compounding the injury. It might have left him blind the Sun found a doctor to say his eyeball might have dropped into his sinus.

Dubois could hardly know this in the moment – or be aware of the onslaught that was to follow – but certainly self-preservation led him to the reasonable conclusion that it was not worth the risk to let Joyce keep banging his heavy jab into the purpled swelling that had restricted his vision since at least the third round. In a crowded arena, he might have come to a different conclusion.

For those watching remotely, judgment was instant, and with little room for compassion, because of The Code. Appearances had to be upheld. History had to be observed.

Daniel Dubois suffered a broken orbital bone around his eye in his fight against Joe Joyce. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Yet, if the critics had proper regard for the past, they might not have rushed so quickly to judgment, because history tells a tale more nuanced than that revealed by the noise of the mob. Dubois probably was unaware of it but three minutes walk from Church House, where he lost on Saturday night, Jack Broughton is buried in Westminster Abbey. On his gravestone is inscribed: “Champion Prizefighter of England, Died Jan 8th 1789, Aged 86 years.”

How Broughton lived to such an age is a mystery lost in time, because in 1750 he engaged in a fight of such ferocity with Jack Slack at his amphitheatre near Oxford Street that it echoes down the centuries. It took the smaller, younger Slack 14 minutes to beat his eyes to a grotesque pulp, at which point Broughton’s patron, the Duke of Cumberland, called out: “What are you about Broughton? You can’t fight. You are beat.” Broughton replied: “I can’t see my man, your Highness. I am blind but not beat only let me be placed before my antagonist and he shall not gain the day yet!”

Cumberland, the son of George II and a soldier who gained infamy as the Butcher of Culloden, had lost heavily gambling on his man. He walked away in disgust. Broughton never fought again but was rehabilitated in public opinion for his courage in defeat. He’d shown “bottom”, a phrase that endures to this day.


Watch the video: Sugar Ray Leonard Makes Roberto Duran Quit Round 8 (July 2022).


Comments:

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