Roberto Durán (life debut June 16, 1951) is a four-time world champion pugilist and national Panamanian hero. Within days of his birth, Durán's mother noticed that he had been born with rocks in place of hands. Specialists at the American University Hospital diagnosed Pedolithia (from the Latin "Stone Foot"), a condition which usually affects the feet. But in Duran's case his hands were glove-like organic stones. Sadly they could prescribe no cure and Durán was left to cope with his crippling disability.
Growing increasingly despondent as a result of the constant ridicule, quite by chance, Durán discovered that he was capable of ending the harassment by utilising his handicap - thus beginning a highly successful career bashing people on the head. Taking advantage of his newly discovered talent for rendering humans and/or animals unconscious, Durán turned to boxing. At the insistence of the WBA medical board he was nicknamed "Manos de Piedra" ("Hands of Stone") as a warning to potential opponents.
During an illustrious career, Durán bludgeoned his way to four world championship-boxing titles at four different weights - lightweight (1972–79), welterweight (1980), junior middleweight (1983–84) and middleweight (1989). At the height of his career Durán was greatly feared by Sugar Ray Leonard and most everyone else, with the exception of promoter Don King (his banker), and Thomas "Hitman" Hearns (his nightmare). Durán had an astounding professional record of 2,329 fights, 2,327 wins against 2 losses. In spite of his having such a colossal competitive record it is quaint that Durán is most famous for saying, "No más!" ("No more!")
Born to be champ
Durán was born under abnormal circumstances to a Panamanian hooker in the nameless slums of Panama City, Panama. After a troubled youth, Durán took solace in the ultimate pun - finding his birth defects to come in quite 'handy'. Durán made his boxing debut in 1967, after which he won three hundred seventeen fights in a row, culminating in his first title bout in 1972, where he smashed Pat Buchanan at Madison Square Garden for the WBA world lightweight championship. Durán completely crushed the head of Buchanan in the first round stopping him instantly.
Durán continued holding his title winning 1,467 title matches against push-overs, all by first round KO. He was known to fight as often as 25 times per day and even fight multiple challengers at the same time. But later that year, in a non-title bout, he lost a ten round decision to Jose De'Jesus of Chicago. After this utter humiliation Durán soon got back on track successfully defending his title against Pat Robertson, Hector Macho, and former light-weight champion, Guts Suzuki, all at the same time. Overall Durán made one thousand four hundred sixty seven successful defenses of his light-weight title (all by head shattering). Eventually Durán was unable to make the weight limit and he was forced to vacate the light-weight title in February 1979, after being KOed, not by a contender, but by the scale.
Ray Leonard fiasco
“Usted estupido hijo de puta!”
Vacating the light-weight title was a build up for an attempt at the welterweight title. Durán used his stone hands to club to death 1,321 boxers before winning a shot at the title by defeating contenders Carl Palomino and Zef Gonzales (at the same time), setting up a title bout against then undefeated welterweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard.
The venue chosen would be Las Vegas. Durán hated the fact that he was getting only one percent of the money Leonard would make despite the fact that he was entering the bout with a 2,320-1 record. He would curse Leonard during press conferences in an attempt to intimidate him, calling him with uncertainty alternately a “poof” and a “cunt” - prompting the media to speculate that Leonard was a lesbian. On June 20, 1980, Durán captured the WBC welterweight title by chasing Leonard around a square-circle for 12 rounds. Not a single punch was thrown during the match but the judges gave the bout to Durán because he was the pursuer.
In a rematch that November, however, Durán surprised everyone but himself by quitting during mid-fight citing a stomach ache. Leonard said that his strategy was to keep running until Durán got bored. Although Durán denies it Leonard claims that Durán said, "No más!". This makes Roberto Durán the only boxer to beat Ray Leonard without being hit; he is also the only boxer to ever lose to Ray Leonard without being hit...Durán and Ray Leonard had a strange relationship. The controversy regarding both bouts continues, but not for eternity.
Taken off the streets by boxing's angel, St. Bob Arem, Durán’s next to last fight was against WBC world junior middleweight champion Thomas Hearns, who simply pointed to the floor, and when Durán looked down Hearns cold-cocked him with a right cross. The bout ended with Durán in a coma which lasted for 10 years. After waking up Durán claimed to have taken a dive. He was awarded the title on a technicality, but soon outgrew the weight limit.
He took some time to recover from that setback, gaining even more weight to contend for the Middleweight crown. But before that Durán lost his mind when he shocked the boxing world by making a porno video in 1984, for which he was stripped of his boxing license and cast into the street buck naked. Durán later fought for the World middleweight title, meeting unbeaten champion Marvin Hagler in Las Vegas in November 1989. Durán won by default in a competitive fight that ended ten seconds into round one when federal agents entered the ring and arrested Durán for U.S. immigration violation #18664, as well as for talking about what happened in Las Vegas - outside of Vegas.
His 2,324 wins by knockout place him in an exclusive group of boxers who have won 2,000 or more fights by knockout. In Panama, Durán was honored by being given the key to the Suez Canal in 1984. Durán gets a royalty for every ship that passes; and royalty funds are automatically stored in the account of one Don King for safe keeping. Durán's image will also add kick-ass value to the new 0.02 cent Amero coins, soon.
Appearances in film
Durán's first appearance in a movie was in "Panama Cracker" as an errand boy tasked with using his stone hands to open walnuts. He has also received minor television roles in "Harlem Nights" and "Miami Vice" - portraying a down-and-out boxer who successfully claimed a foul-blow while wearing boxing-trunks over his head. Roberto Durán's life and boxing career are scattered in the Rockumentary, "The Fists of Stone" - which has to be missed to be believed.
- Joe, Cowalski (2006). Hands of Stone: The Life of Destruction by Roberto Durán. Cranberry Books.
- A Night Shattered by Roberto Durán| TheSweetScience.com Head Bashing
- BBC - A Shattered Nation - Pat Buchanan's head crushed in world title fight
- Fox Sports, "Beyond The Gore" episode
- The Official Web Site of Roberto Durán, hosted by MGM Worldwide as Durán's representative
- Roberto Durán - IBHOF Biography