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Roberto Durán, born on June 16, 1951, is a legendary Panamanian professional boxer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport. Known for his aggressive style and powerful punches, Durán’s career spanned over five decades, during which he achieved numerous accomplishments and became an iconic figure in the boxing world. From his humble beginnings in Panama to his rise to global stardom, Durán’s story is a testament to his indomitable spirit and unwavering determination. In this article, we will explore the life, career, and impact of Roberto Durán, delving into the key moments that shaped his legacy as one of boxing’s all-time greats.
Who Is Roberto Durán?
Roberto Durán rose from poverty to become a famed professional boxer. Known for his punching power, he won world championships in four weight classes, though his reputation took a hit with his “no más” loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980. Durán retired from boxing in 2002, and was elected to the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006 and ’07, respectively.
Roberto Durán Samaniego was born on June 16, 1951, in the slums of El Chorrillo, Panama. His father, Margarito, an American of Mexican heritage, was stationed in Panama for the U.S. Army when Roberto was born but left soon afterward. Growing up in poverty, Durán hustled for money by shining shoes, selling newspapers and dancing on the streets. He learned to box at the Neco de La Guardia Gym and turned pro at the age of 16.
Lean and hungry, Durán powered his way up the rankings as a young fighter. On June 26, 1972, he scored a 13-round TKO of Scotsman Ken Buchanan to claim the WBA lightweight championship. He suffered his first loss against 31 wins in a non-title light-welterweight fight against Esteban de Jesús that November, but later avenged that defeat by knocking out de Jesús en route to another 41 consecutive victories.
In those days, Durán combined impressive speed with a fearsome tenacity and powerful punches that earned him the nickname “Manos de Piedra” (Hands of Stone). After defeating de Jesús again to add the WBC lightweight title to his collection, Durán abdicated his belts in 1979 to move up to the welterweight class, where he quickly proved he could handle bigger opponents with a win over former champion Carlos Palomino.
The pinnacle of his career came on June 20, 1980, the “Brawl in Montreal” at Olympic Stadium. Facing the undefeated Leonard, Durán battered the former Olympic gold medalist over 15 rounds to win the WBC welterweight championship.
Their rematch on Nov. 25, at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, concluded in bizarre fashion; the normally relentless Durán suddenly quit near the end of the eighth round, allowing Leonard to regain his title. The enduring legend is that Durán begged out of the fight by repeating “no más” (no more), though the boxer insists he never said those words.
Durán moved up another weight class, and on June 16, 1983 — his 32nd birthday — he stopped Davey Moore in eight rounds to win the WBA light middleweight title. He packed on more pounds to fight undefeated middleweight champion Marvin Hagler in November, earning praise for pushing the champ a full 15 rounds before taking the loss. However, there were fewer positive reviews after a subsequent defeat, a brutal second-round knockout at the hands of Thomas “Hitman” Hearns the following June.
Durán returned to prominence later in the decade, outlasting Iran Barkley in 12 rounds to win the WBC middleweight title on February 24, 1989. He lost a second time to Leonard in a match for the WBC super-middleweight title later that year and remained a game, yet diminished contender over the next several years.
At age 49, Durán won a 12-round decision over Pat Lawlor to claim the super middleweight title from the fringe NBA organization. He lost the belt to Héctor Camacho on July 14, 2001, in what turned out to be his final fight. Durán suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung in a car accident later that year, and officially retired in January 2002 with a career record of 103-16-0 and 70 knockouts. One of the few boxers to win sanctioned championships in four weight classes and compete professionally across five decades, he is considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time.
Out of the Ring
Durán met his father for the first time after a 1976 fight in Los Angeles, and they forged a good relationship.
Durán remained active as a boxing promoter after retiring from the sport. He was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007.
A movie about his life, Hands of Stone, starring Édgar Ramírez as Durán; Robert De Niro as his trainer, Ray Arcel; and pop star Usher as Sugar Ray Leonard, made its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2016.
- Name: Roberto Durán
- Birth Year: 1951
- Birth date: June 16, 1951
- Birth City: El Chorrillo
- Birth Country: Panama
- Gender: Male
- Best Known For: Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán won world championships in four weight divisions but is best remembered for his “no más” loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980.
- Astrological Sign: Gemini
- Panamanian (Panama)
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- Article Title: Roberto Durán Biography
- Author: Biography.com Editors
- Website Name: The Biography.com website
- Url: https://www.biography.com/athletes/roberto-duran
- Access Date:
- Publisher: A&E; Television Networks
- Last Updated: December 2, 2021
- Original Published Date: April 2, 2014
- I am not an animal in my personal life. But in the ring there is an animal inside me. Sometimes it roars when the first bell rings.
In conclusion, Roberto Durán is undeniably one of the greatest boxers of all time. His relentless fighting style, powerful punches, and immense endurance cemented his legacy in the sport. Durán’s career was filled with numerous victories and championship titles in various weight classes, demonstrating his versatility and adaptability as a fighter.
Furthermore, Durán’s rivalry with other boxing legends, such as Sugar Ray Leonard, added excitement and intrigue to his fights. The infamous “No Más” bout with Leonard remains a defining moment in his career, albeit one that tarnished his reputation briefly. However, Durán would go on to prove his resilience and successfully redeem himself as a fighter.
Durán’s impact extends beyond the boxing ring. Coming from a humble background in Panama, Durán’s relentless drive and determination served as an inspiration not only to aspiring boxers but also to individuals facing adversity in any field. He showed that with hard work, discipline, and unwavering dedication, one can achieve greatness.
Moreover, Durán’s longevity in the sport is commendable. He competed at a high level for more than three decades, defying age and expectations. His ability to adapt his style as he grew older demonstrated his intelligence and versatility as a boxer, setting an example for future generations.
Overall, Roberto Durán’s contributions to boxing are immense and his legacy as one of the sport’s all-time greats is well-deserved. His achievements, both inside and outside the ring, continue to inspire and captivate fans around the world, making him a true legend in the history of boxing.
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