The Coronavirus outbreak is affecting every facet of life, including Sports and the boxing world even legendary Fighters are having to cope. And one of the greatest smaller weight fighters in boxing history wanted to make sure that everybody is practicing good hygiene.
Hall of Fame four division World Champion, Roberto Duran, took to social media on Friday evening to recommend that everyone make sure their hands are clean to help stop the spread of COVID- 19:
Buenas tardes mi gente. Por aquí vengo a recordarles que por favor no salgan de sus casas si no es necesario, lávense bien sus manos, tengan antibacterial listo y por favor dejen que mis viejitos hagan sus compras primero. Juntos podemos darle un K.O al coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/3stBLpu7bb
— Roberto Durán (@robertoduranbox) March 20, 2020
While it’s not clear in the tweet where Duran was, it’s very possible that he may have been back in his home country of Panama.
Duran rose to boxing immortality in the 1970s and 80s as the former Undisputed lightweight and welterweight champions of the world. The menacing fighter known as “Hands of Stone” won his third first 31 pro fights, including beating Scotland World Champ Ken Buchanan in June of 1972 at Madison Square Garden by a controversial 13th round TKO.
That’s when Duran clearly landed a low blow along the ropes that the referee missed and Buchanan sagged to the canvas during the combination of punches and the referee proceeded to stop the fight.
Duran ended up taking his first loss to Esteban De Jesus in November of 1972 in a super lightweight non-title fight, again at the Garden.
Duran resumed his lightweight World title reign and eventually, avenged his defeat to De Jesus with at 11th round knockout in March of 1974. Duran’s title reign rolled all the way into the late 1970s, when he eventually vacated the titles to move up for bigger fights.
Duran was then matched with American Olympic hero, unbeaten WBC Welterweight Champion, “Sugar” Ray Leonard in Montreal in June of 1980. Duran fought spectacularly, as Leonard chose not to box, but time and again, trade toe-to-toe punches. The American took the worst of the exchanges throughout the fight and Duran’s 15 round unanimous decision win cemented his legacy in boxing history.
Duran improved to an amazing 72-1 record that night in Canada.
However, as we wrote about last November, he is probably more known for the infamous rematch five months later in New Orleans. That’s when Duran, for whatever reasons or excuses, quit in the ring in the 8th round with the famous words “No Mas” were uttered by him.
Duran took another loss to Wilfred Benitez in January of 1982 fighting for the WBC 154 lb. title, but eventually would find his way back into the world’s most famous arena in New York City. That’s where he upset American Davey Moore by 8th round TKO in June of 1983. That fight was also not without controversy, as Duran had clearly thumbed Moore in the left eye earlier in the fight causing it to swell shut. And, it made him virtually defenseless to right hands Duran continued to hammer him with until the stoppage.
Duran vacated the 154-pound title and moved up to challenge Undisputed Middleweight Champion, Marvelous Marvin Hagler in November of ’83. And, many believed Duran had won the fight on decision, although Hagler got the nod on all three cards that night in Las Vegas.
Duran then moved back down to 154 lb and fought Thomas Hearns in June of 1984, again in Las Vegas and suffered the most devastating loss of his career. That’s when Hearns bombed him with a right hand in the second round and he fell face-first to the canvas, like a fallen oak tree.
Amazingly, after being 72 and 1, Duran had now lost five of his next 11 fights.
Duran won a series of non-title fights through the late 1980s and eventually, defeated Iran Barkley by Split Decision in February of 1989 in Atlantic City, NJ, for the WBC version of the 160 lb title. However, Leonard beat him, again, in a third fight in December of 1989, once more, in Las Vegas.
Sadly, partly due to financial problems, Duran continued to fight on in the late ’90s and well into his late 40’s . He lost five more times, including twice to Hector Camacho.
Their final fight came in July of 2001, when Duran unbelievably had just turned 50 years old . Duran lost by decision and finally retired with a record of 103 – 16 having held championships in four different weight divisions .
He also was the second boxer ever to have competed in parts of five different decades behind the late heavyweight champion of the late 1880s through the 1900s, Jack Johnson.
Duran settled in to retire life being involved in music and also writing books. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June of 2007. And, the legendary “Ring Magazine” tabbed him as the greatest lightweight champion all of the 20th century.
And, here’s hoping the soon-to-be 69 year old “Hands of Stone” stays healthy (along with everybody else) and is still around for us to remember his great successes and battles in the for a long time to come.