Roberto Duran

From Academic Kids

Roberto Duran (b. June 16, 1951) is a famous boxer from Panama. He held world titles at four different weights - lightweight (1972-79), welterweight (1980), junior middleweight (1983-84) and middleweight (1989). He was also the only boxer to have fought in five different decades. He finally retired in January 2002 (having previously retired in 1998) following a bad car crash in October 2001, aged 52 with a professional record of 120 fights, 104 wins with 69 KOs. He was nicknamed Manos de Piedra (Hands of Stone) when at age 14 he knocked out a mule with one punch.

Born in Guarare, Panama he had his first professional fight in 1967. After an initial adjustment he won thirty in a row, culminating in his first title bout in June 1972, where he defeated Ken Buchanan at New York's Madison Square Garden for the WBA world lightweight championship. He then made twelve successful defences of his title before giving the belt up in February 1979. Vacating the title was a build up for an attempt at the welterweight title. He fought for the welterweight title in June of 1980 and beat Sugar Ray Leonard via a 15-round unanimous decision. In the November re-match, however, Duran shockingly quit in the eighth round after being frustrated by the antics and style of Leonard. The re-match would forever be known as the No Más Fight.

He took some time to recover from that fight, gaining more mass 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 Wilfredo Benitez by a 15 round unanimous decision. After being relegated to a 10 round walk out win over tough Englishman Jimmy Batten at The Battle of The Champions in Miami, Duran 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. Duran conquered his third title on his birthday, June 16th, 1983, defeating champion Moore, by an eighth round stoppage.

Duran later fought for the World middleweight title, meeting Marvin Hagler in Las Vegas in November 1983, but losing the fight over fifteen rounds. In June 1984, he 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 Duran as world champion the moment Duran stepped into the ring to box Hearns. Duran lost the fight after a vicious second round knock-out by Hearns.

Duran 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. His reign was short lived once again as Duran moved up to super middleweight for third clash with "Sugar" Ray Leonard in December, but lost in a lopsided 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), and 1998 (WBA). After a quick defeat to William Joppy in the last of these shots Duran announced his retirement in August 1998, but was back fighting in 1999. In June 2000 he won a minor super middleweight title from Pat Lawlorbut quickly lost it to Hector Camacho.

After splitting fights with Jorge Castro and losing a rematch to Camacho, Duran went to Argentina to promote a Salsa music CD of his that he had just released. While there, he was involved in a dramatic car crash and required life-saving surgery. After that, he announced his retirement from boxing.

Duran's five world title belts, which he won in four different divisions, were stolen from his house in Panama in 1993, during a robbery that was allegedly staged by his brother in law, who, in turn, gave them to memorabilia seller Luis Gonzalez Baez, who now will stand trial for trying to sell stolen goods. Gonzalez Baez allegedly sold the belts to undercover FBI agents. He alleges that Duran authorized the sale of the five belts to him during a time that Duran was facing financial trouble. On September 23, 2003, a federal judge in Florida ordered the five belts to be returned to Duran.

His 69 wins by knockout placing him in the exclusive group of boxers who have won 50 or more fights by knockout.

Duran's daughter, Irichelle, is a professional female boxer.

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