I’ve been snowed in for the most part of the last week and a half. I’m about to go fucking crazy, but before I hit the threshold, I’ve been reading, “Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran” by Christian Giudice.
ESPN radio personality Colin Cowherd often says that there’s nothing like reading about the history of baseball (when it comes to sports literature). However, for me, it’s the history of boxing. The lore of it all is so enriching and full of characters, personalities and engrossing stories from all eras.
The story of Roberto Duran is pretty awesome. Most people remember him for the “No Mas” fight with “Sugar” Ray Leonard, and that’s unfair. He had around 115 wins in his career. That’s nuts.
A lot of people have forgotten that Duran established himself as the greatest lightweight in boxing history in the 1970s (he was the lightweight champ from 1972 to 1979 and never lost the title!) before he moved up in weight to the greatest 147 to 168 pound division in the history of the sport. He defeated the previously undefeated-and-in-his-prime “Sugar” Ray Leonard for the undisputed welterweight title in his very first fight at 147 pounds. That’s insane, incredible and commendable.
People mistake fame with skill and ability… I’m not taking anything away from Leonard, don’t get me wrong, but Duran deserved to be the same star, if not bigger, out of the ring, too, when you think of the celebrity “Sugar” Ray Leonard became.
After the “No Mas” rematch, he went on to win the world junior middleweight and world middleweight titles. Duran undoubtedly deserves to stand in the top five pound-for-pound fighters in history somewhere next to “Sugar” Ray Robinson and Henry Armstrong.