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Roberto Duran


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Roberto Durán Samaniego (born June 16, 1951) is a retired professional boxer from Panama of Mexican and Panamanian descent, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. A versatile brawler in the ring, he was nicknamed "Manos de Piedra" (or "Hands of Stone") during his career.

In 2002, he was chosen by The Ring to be the 5th greatest fighter of the last 80 years. , Bert Sugar rates him as the 8th greatest fighter of all-time and many consider him the greatest lightweight of all time. 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.

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.


Durán was born in june 16, 1951 Panama, in the slums of El Chorrillo in a place called "La Casa de Piedra" (The House of Stone). A child born from a Mexican father and a Panamanian mother. He made his professional debut in 1968 at the age of 16.

First championship

After an initial adjustment he won thirty in a row, and scored knockout victories over future featherweight champion Ernesto Marcel and former super featherweight champion Hiroshi Kobayashi, 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. Durán was ahead on all three cards at the end of the 13th round, at which time the fighters spent an additional 20 seconds punching each other. Buchanan was knocked down writhing in pain from a groin injury, that Buchanan's trainer, Gil Clancy, said was caused by a knee to the groin. Referee Johnny LoBianco awarded the fight to Durán, insisting that the blow that took down Buchanan was "in the abdomen, not any lower" and that he felt that Buchanan would be unable to continue fighting. Columnist Red Smith of The New York Times wrote that LoBianco had to award the victory to Durán, even if the punch was a low blow, as "anything short of pulling a knife is regarded indulgently" in American boxing.

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 Jesús. Duran got back on track with successful title defenses against Jimmy Robertson, Hector Thompson, and future lightweight champion Guts Ishimatsu. In 1974, Durán would avenge his loss to De Jesus with a brutal eleventh round knock out. In 1976, he defeated future light welterweight champion Saoul Mamby. Overall Durán made twelve successful defenses of his title (eleven coming by knock out) and amassed a record of 62-1, his last defense coming in 1978 where Durán fought a third fight with De Jesus, a unification match where Durán once again knocked out De Jesus and captured his WBC lightweight belt. Durán would give up the unified lightweight title in February 1979.

Victory over Sugar Ray Leonard

Vacating the lightweight title was a build up for an attempt at the welterweight title. Durán 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 an incredible 71-1 record. He would curse and insult Leonard during press conferences in an attempt to intimidate the young champion. On June 20, 1980, Durán captured the WBC welterweight title by defeating Leonard via a 15-round unanimous decision. The fight would become known as "The Brawl in Montreal".

Loss in rematch

In the November rematch, Durán shockingly quit. Leonard has said that his strategy was to use speed and agility to taunt and frustrate Durán, believing it was his best chance of winning the fight. In the seventh round, Leonard started to taunt Durán. His most memorable punch came late in the round. Winding up with his right hand, as if to throw a bolo punch, Leonard hit Durán flush in the face with a left. In the eighth round, Durán, slightly behind on all three scorecards, turned around, walked to his corner and gave up, supposedly saying the now famous words, "no más" (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.") Another version of events has him saying, in Spanish, "I can't continue". Referee Octavio Meyran, perhaps as incredulous as was the rest of the world at what he was seeing, asked Durán if he was sure, and Durán then said, "No más, no más" (no more, no more). In violation of what any professional fighter does on the day of a fight, Durán gorged himself after the weigh-in and claimed he quit because he was having stomach cramps. However, Durán's manager, Carlos Eleta, said, "Durán didn't quit because of stomach cramps. He quit because he was embarrassed. I know this."

Move up to middleweight

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 Wilfred Benítez by a 15 round unanimous decision. Durán was also to lose his comeback 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, Durán 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 Durán's 32nd birthday. The result turned out to be a one sided affair as Duran dominated Moore throughout the bout. The pro-Durán crowd at ringside cheered as Durán 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 Durán won his third world title. After the victory, Durán was hoisted up in the air as the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to a sobbing Durán.

Durán 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, Durán 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 Durán as world champion the moment Durán stepped into the ring to box Hearns. Durán lost the fight after a vicious second round knock-out by Hearns.

Durán 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. 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, Durán knocked Barkley down in the eleventh round and won a close decision. The bout was named the 1989 "Fight of the Year" by The Ring. His reign was short lived once again as Duran moved up to super middleweight (although both fighters weighed in at the middleweight limit) for a third clash with Sugar Ray Leonard in December (a fight dubbed Uno Más--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 1996, he challenged Héctor Camacho for the vacant IBC Middleweight title but lost via unanimous decision. In 1997, Durán was defeated by former champion Jorge Castro. Durán fought Castro in a rematch bout and won via unanimous decision.

In 1998, at the age of 47, he challenged 28 year old WBA middleweight champion William Joppy. Joppy, a trim, quick-fisted fighter, battered Durán to defeat in just 3 rounds. It was Duran's most emphatic loss since the Hearns fight, over a decade earlier. Durán then announced his retirement in August 1998, but was back fighting in 1999. In June 2000, he avenged a previous loss to Pat Lawlor and claimed the NBA Super Middleweight title, but he lost the title to Héctor Camacho in a rematch bout.


In 2001, Durán traveled to Argentina to promote a salsa music CD that he had just released. While there, he was involved in a car crash and required life-saving surgery. After that incident, he announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 50.

Durán'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 González Báez, who will stand trial for trying to sell stolen goods. González Báez allegedly sold the belts to undercover FBI agents. He alleges that Durán authorized the sale of the five belts to him during a time that Durán was facing financial trouble. On September 23, 2003, a federal judge in Florida ordered the five belts returned to Durán.

His 70 wins by knockout place him in an exclusive group of boxers who have won 50 or more fights by knockout. He was ranked number 28 on The Ring's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

On October 14, 2006, Durán 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.

Appearances in film

Durán'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 Durán's life and boxing career are collected in the documentary "Los puños de una nación" (The fists of a nation) by Panamanian film maker, Pituka Ortega-Heilbron. In the fourth episode of the second season of the hit US Crime Drama CSI New York, Duran is mentioned by the the ME after talking about a dead body who was found to have metal screws put in his hands to boost his punching power.

Career record

103 Wins (70 knockouts, 32 decisions, 1 retirement), 16 Losses (4 knockouts, 12 decisions)

Loss Héctor Camacho Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 2001-07-14 Denver, Colorado Lost NBA Super-Middleweight title.

Win Patrick Goossen Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 2000-08-12 Toppenish, Washington

Win Pat Lawlor Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 2000-06-16 Panama City, Panama Won NBA Super-Middleweight title.

Loss Omar Gonzalez Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1999-03-06 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Loss William Joppy TKO 3 (12), 2:54 1998-08-28 Las Vegas, Nevada Fight was for WBA Middleweight title.

Win Felix Jose Hernandez Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1998-01-31 Panama City, Panama

Win David Radford Decision (unan.) 8 (8) 1997-11-15 Temba, South Africa

Win Jorge Fernando Castro Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1997-06-14 Panama City, Panama

Loss Jorge Fernando Castro Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1997-02-15 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Win Mike Culbert TKO 6 (10) 1996-09-27 Chester, West Virginia

Win Ariel Cruz KO 1 (10) 1996-08-31 Panama City, Panama

Loss Héctor Camacho Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 1996-06-22 Atlantic City, New Jersey Fight was for IBC Middleweight title.

Win Ray Domenge Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1996-02-20 Miami, Florida

Win Wilbur Garst TKO 4 (10) 1995-12-21 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Win Roni Martinez TKO 7 (10), 2:59 1995-06-10 Kansas City, Missouri

Loss Vinny Pazienza Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 1995-01-14 Atlantic City, New Jersey Fight was for IBC Super-Middleweight title.

Win Heath Todd TKO 7 (10) 1994-10-18 Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

Loss Vinny Pazienza Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 1994-06-25 Las Vegas, Nevada Fight was for IBC Super-Middleweight title.

Win Terry Thomas TKO 4 (10) 1994-03-29 Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

Win Carlos Montero Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1994-02-22 Marseille, France

Win Tony Menefee TKO 8 (10) 1993-12-14 Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

Win Sean Fitzgerald KO 6 (10) 1993-08-17 Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

Win Jacques LeBlanc Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1993-06-29 Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

Win Ken Hulsey KO 2 (10), 2:45 1992-12-17 Cleveland, Ohio

Win Tony Biglen Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1992-09-30 Buffalo, New York

Loss Pat Lawlor TKO 6 (10), 1:50 1991-03-18 Las Vegas, Nevada

Loss Sugar Ray Leonard Decision (unan.) 12 (12) 1989-12-07 Las Vegas, Nevada Fight was for WBC Super-Middleweight title.

Win Iran Barkley Decision (split) 12 (12) 1989-02-24 Atlantic City, New Jersey Won WBC Middleweight title.

Win Jeff Lanas Decision (split) 10 (10) 1988-10-01 Chicago, Illinois

Win Paul Thorn Retirement 6 (10) 1988-04-14 Atlantic City, New Jersey

Win Ricky Stackhouse Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1988-02-05 Atlantic City, New Jersey

Win Juan Ferreyra Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1987-09-12 Miami, Florida

Win Victor Claudio Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1987-05-16 Miami, Florida

Loss Robbie Sims Decision (split) 10 (10) 1986-06-23 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Win Jorge Suero KO 2 (10), 1:45 1986-04-18 Panama City, Panama

Win Manuel Zambrano KO 2 (10), 2:57 1986-01-31 Panama City, Panama

Loss Thomas Hearns KO 2 (15) 1984-06-15 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Fight was for WBC Light-Middleweight title.

Loss Marvin Hagler Decision (unan.) 15 (15) 1983-11-10 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Fight was for WBA, WBC and IBF Middleweight titles.

Win Davey Moore TKO 8 (15), 2:02 1983-06-16 Madison Square Garden, New York City Won WBC Light Middleweight title

Win Pipino Cuevas TKO 4 (12), 2:26 1983-01-29 Los Angeles, California

Win Jimmy Batten Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1982-11-12 Miami, Florida

Loss Kirkland Laing Decision (split) 10 (10) 1982-09-04 Detroit, Michigan

Loss Wilfred Benítez Decision (unan.) 15 (15) 1982-01-30 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Fight was for WBC Light Middleweight title.

Win Luigi Minchillo Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1981-09-26 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Win Nino Gonzalez Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1981-08-09 Cleveland, Ohio

Loss Sugar Ray Leonard TKO 8 (15), 2:44 1980-11-25 New Orleans, Louisiana The "No Más Fight"; lost WBC Welterweight title.

Win Sugar Ray Leonard Decision (unan.) 15 (15) 1980-06-20 Montreal, Quebec, Canada Won WBC Welterweight title.

Win Wellington Wheatley TKO 6 (10) 1980-02-24 Tropicana Hotel, Las Vegas

Win Joseph Nsubuga TKO 4 (10), 3:00 1980-01-13 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Win Zeferino Gonzalez Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1979-09-28 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Win Carlos Palomino Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1979-06-22 Madison Square Garden, New York City

Win Jimmy Heair Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1979-04-08 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Win Monroe Brooks KO 8 (12), 1:59 1978-12-08 Madison Square Garden, New York City

Win Ezequiel Obando KO 2 (10), 1:09 1978-09-01 Panama City, Panama

Win Adolfo Viruet Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1978-04-27 Madison Square Garden, New York City

Win Esteban De Jesús TKO 12 (15), 2:32 1978-01-21 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Retained WBA Lightweight title; won WBC Lightweight title. Durán vacated titles in January 1979 to concentrate on heavier divisions.

Win Edwin Viruet Decision (unan.) 15 (15) 1977-09-17 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Bernardo Diaz KO 1 (10), 1:29 1977-08-06 Panama City, Panama

Win Javier Muniz Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1977-05-16 Landover, Maryland

Win Vilomar Fernandez KO 13 (15), 2:10 1977-01-29 Miami, Florida Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Alvaro Rojas TKO 1 (15), 2:17 1976-10-15 Hollywood, Florida, United States Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Emiliano Villa TKO 7 (10), 2:00 1976-07-31 Panama City, Panama

Win Lou Bizzarro KO 14 (15), 2:15 1976-05-23 Erie, Pennsylvania Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Saoul Mamby Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1976-05-04 Miami Beach, Florida

Win Leoncio Ortiz KO 15 (15), 2:39 1975-12-20 Hato Rey, Puerto Rico Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Edwin Viruet Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1975-09-30 Uniondale, New York

Win Alirio Acuna KO 3 (10) 1975-09-13 Chitre, Panama

Win Pedro Mendoza KO 1 (10), 2:00 1975-08-02 Managua, Nicaragua

Win Jose Peterson TKO 1 (10) 1975-06-03 Miami, Florida

Win Ray Lampkin KO 14 (15), 0:39 1975-03-02 Panama City, Panama Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Andres Salgado KO 1 (10), 1:00 1975-02-15 Panama City, Panama

Win Masataka Takayama KO 1 (15), 1:40 1974-12-21 San José, Costa Rica Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Adalberto Vanegas KO 1 (10) 1974-11-16 Panama City, Panama

Win Jose Vasquez KO 2 (10) 1974-10-31 San José, Costa Rica

Win Hector Matta Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1974-09-02 Hato Rey, Puerto Rico

Win Flash Gallego TKO 7 (10), 2:35 1974-07-06 Panama City, Panama

Win Esteban De Jesús KO 11 (15) 1974-03-16 Panama City, Panama Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Armando Mendoza TKO 3 (10), 1:50 1974-02-16 Panama City, Panama

Win Leonard Tavarez TKO 4 (10) 1974-01-21 Paris, France

Win Tony Garcia KO 3 (10) 1973-12-01 Santiago de Veraguas, Panama

Win Guts Ishimatsu TKO 10 (15), 2:10 1973-09-08 Panama City, Panama Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Doc McClendon Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1973-08-04 Hato Rey, Puerto Rico

Win Hector Thompson TKO 8 (15), 2:15 1973-06-02 Panama City, Panama Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Win Gerardo Ferrat TKO 2 (10), 2:45 1973-04-14 Panama City, Panama

Win Javier Ayala Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1973-03-17 Los Angeles, California

Win Juan Medina KO 7 (10), 1:22 1973-02-22 Los Angeles, California

Win Jimmy Robertson KO 5 (15) 1973-01-20 Panama City, Panama Retained WBA Lightweight title.

Loss Esteban De Jesús Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1972-11-17 Madison Square Garden, New York City

Win Lupe Ramirez KO 1 (10), 3:03 1972-10-28 Panama City, Panama

Win Greg Potter KO 1 (10), 1:58 1972-09-02 Panama City, Panama

Win Ken Buchanan TKO 13 (15) 1972-06-26 Madison Square Garden, New York City Won WBA Lightweight title.

Win Francisco Munoz TKO 1 (10), 2:34 1972-03-10 Panama City, Panama

Win Angel Robinson Garcia Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1972-01-15 Panama City, Panama

Win Hiroshi Kobayashi KO 7 (10), 0:30 1971-10-16 Panama City, Panama

Win Benny Huertas TKO 1 (10), 1:06 1971-09-13 Madison Square Garden, New York City

Win Fermin Soto TKO 3 (10) 1971-07-18 Monterrey, Mexico

Win Lloyd Marshall TKO 6 (10), 1:37 1971-05-29 Panama City, Panama

Win Jose Acosta KO 1 (10), 1:55 1971-03-21 Panama City, Panama

Win Jose Angel Herrera KO 6 (10) 1971-01-10 Monterrey, Mexico

Win Ignacio Castaneda TKO 3 (10) 1970-10-18 Panama City, Panama

Win Marvin Castaneda KO 1 (10), 1:30 1970-09-05 Chiriqui, Panama

Win Clemente Mucino KO 6 (10), 2:18 1970-07-18 Colon, Panama

Win Ernesto Marcel TKO 10 (10) 1970-05-16 Panama City, Panama

Win Felipe Torres Decision (unan.) 10 (10) 1970-03-28 Mexico City, Mexico

Win Luis Patino TKO 8 (10) 1969-11-23 Panama City, Panama

Win Serafin Garcia TKO 5 (8) 1969-09-21 Panama City, Panama

Win Adolfo Osses TKO 7 (8) 1969-06-22 Panama City, Panama

Win Jacinto Garcia TKO 4 (8) 1969-05-18 Panama City, Panama

Win Eduardo Frutos Decision (unan.) 6 (6) 1969-02-01 Panama City, Panama

Win Alberto Brand TKO 4 (6) 1969-01-19 Panama City, Panama

Win Carlos Howard TKO 1 (6) 1968-12-07 Panama City, Panama

Win 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 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 Manuel Jiménez KO 1 (4) 1968-06-15 Colon, Panama

Win Juan Gondola KO 1 (4) 1968-05-14 Colon, Panama

Win Carlos Mendoza Decision (unan.) 4 (4) 1968-02-23 Colón, Panama

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