When people discuss the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time, one name that has always deserved to be a part of that conversation is Roberto Duran (103-16, 70 KOs). Some consider him the greatest lightweight of all time, later involved in memorable contests at light middleweight and middleweight. Despite a defeat to Sugar Ray Leonard in their second fight and a crushing KO loss to Thomas Hearns, Duran will always be considered one of the best boxers of all time.

The Panama-born legend was a phenomenal body puncher whose defensive capabilities were a joy to watch. He was adept at slipping punches, had good head movement, and had a superb engine. Big Fight Weekend felt it was only right to pay homage to “Hands of Stone.”

5 Memorable Roberto Duran Fights

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Roberto Duran vs. Guts Ishimatsu

On September 8, 1973, Duran chose to defend his WBA and The Ring lightweight titles against Guts Ishimatsu, who was in good form coming into the fight, having won six fights in a row. “Hands of Stone” established his jab quickly, enabling him to gain the upper hand in the fight. He countered brilliantly throughout and evaded his opponent superbly. Duran showcased his power – knocking down Ishimatsu five times – over two rounds, which forced the referee to end the contest, awarding Duran a tenth-round TKO victory.

Roberto Duran vs. Ken Buchanan

On June 26, 1972, Duran faced one of Scotlands – greatest-ever fighters, Ken Buchanan. Despite a management change for the Scotsman before the fight, it failed to give him any edge as “Hands of Stone” ripped the WBA and The Ring lightweight titles from him. Duran scored an early knockdown as the two went toe-to-toe exchanging heavy blows, and the two failed to stop after the bell sounded for round thirteen. Duran hit Buchanan below the belt after the bell, and despite this controversial blow, the Panamanian fighter – was awarded the win and the title.

Esteban de Jesus II

On March 16, 1974, Duran met Esteban de Jesus in their rematch. Both fighters came out swinging, which saw Duran knocked down in the opening round. The Panamanian legend recovered well, landing some eye-catching two-and three-punch combinations that rocked his opponent. The middle rounds of the fight were back and forth, with both men having their moments. De Jesus showed tremendous courage, but Duran continued his impressive work rate, which was the difference as he stopped his opponent in the eleventh round from a thudding right hook – that ensured the Puerto Rican could not continue.

Sugar Ray Leonard I

Duran stepped up to welterweight to take on Sugar Ray Leonard on June 20, 1980, for Leonard’s WBC and Ring welterweight titles – in a contest labelled “The Brawl in Montreal.” Duran pressured Leonard all night and outboxed him throughout, working the body effectively. The pressure applied from Duran was the difference in a close fight, which saw “Hands of Stone” reign victorious, winning via unanimous decision, with the scorecards reading 145–144, 148–147, 146–144.

Esteban de Jesus III

Roberto Duran vs. Esteban de Jesus III was about bragging rights, as both had one win each. The fighters had their third fight on January 21, 1978, for their trilogy bout. Duran boxed diligently throughout the trilogy before landing a monster right hand in round twelve, which saw De Jesus scramble to his feet before Duran battered him for the stoppage moments later. This win saw “El Cholo” win the WBC lightweight title and retain the WBA and The Ring lightweight titles.

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