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Thread: ROBERTO DURAN’S LAST STAND AS CHAMPION! by Pedro Fernandez

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    ROBERTO DURAN’S LAST STAND AS CHAMPION! by Pedro Fernandez

    ROBERTO DURAN’S LAST STAND AS CHAMPION!
    by Pedro Fernandez


    Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran

    San Francisco, CA- Although we will be going back in time with the great Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran to early 1989, this story and segment of Duran’s career really begins in 1986. Roberto’s ex-manager Hector Martinez and I were on our way to Palm Springs, CA and the Palm Canyon Hotel where Duran is conducting a training camp. Boarding in San Francisco a flight to Palm Springs with a unannounced stop in Ontario, CA, this was PSA Airlines, AKA the Southwest of yesteryear.
    PASSENGERS SCREAMING, “GOD HELP US”
    Martinez and I, friends for decades, we have had our shall we say experiences traveling. First of all, we were both scared to death of flying at this time. This fear came from a rough flight out of Las Vegas in 1981, the morning after Salvador Sanchez, Mexico’s greatest fighter had drilled unbeaten Wilfredo Gomez of Puerto Rico. The plane hit air pockets, the worst in the 21 years the lead flight attendant had ever been in, and the plane was dropping for split seconds at a time. People remained composed at first, but when the plane started dropping more often and for longer intervals of time, people began screaming and panic had set in!
    NO DRINKING OR CAROUSING PRE-BOARDING THIS TIME
    Having had jets pull away from the gate on us as we either ate, drank, were bull s*itting, or all three, Hector and I presented our boarding passes and sat down in assigned seats. The plane starts to roll out of the jetway and that’s when when they announce we are going to “Ontario.” My ticket says “Palm Springs.” When I got the attention of the flight attendant, while she admitted it was the fault of the airline, some printing problems with the boarding passes and gates numbers, there was no way the plane was going back to the gate. “May as well relax, you’re spending the night in Ontario.”
    FREE BOOZE, HOTEL & SPENDING MONEY TOO!
    As if we needed the free booze, by the time we hit Ontario, the flight attendant said the airline would cover a hotel and give us some money for food as the next flight to Palm Springs was tomorrow morning. After tearing up Ontario in a rented car until the wee hours, PSA gets us to Palm Springs about noon. The airport in Palm Springs in 1986 looked like a 1960’s motel. You drove up, got out, gave your bag to the skycap and you figuratively just walked to your plane. Quite a different world it was prior to 9-11 when it came to air travel.
    “LATE GREAT” IRVING RUDD WAS THE ON-SITE PUBLICIST
    Roberto was training with Barry McGuigan, then World featherweight champ, they were sharing a giant tent the hotel put up for them. Barry, who would lose to Steve Cruz, imploding in the 100′+ heat. McGuigan, a likable guy who is now a TV broadcaster of note, his coming from Ireland, he never encountered this kind of heat. His being taken to and fro around the desert resort in a golf cart, the only time Barry was outside was to train in the afternoon and run in the pre-morning darkness. That and a broken eardrum led to his being beaten on points by Cruz in 15 rounds.
    PUNDITS AGREE THAT DURAN IS FINISHED AFTER LOSS
    Duran was training for Robbie Sims, the stepbrother of then middleweight king Marvin Hagler, whom Duran had went the route with three years earlier. Having little respect for Sims, Duran trained accordingly. One night, Hector and I were leaving his room when a man with a small sheet cake from a local bakery was coming in. Training on cake and cutting weight at the end, Sims would out point Roberto over ten very forgettable rounds. Duran, the man who said “No Mas” (no more) to Ray Leonard in 1980, was he finally done? Having been knocked out by Tommy Hearns in June 1984 after extending Hagler six months earlier, Roberto Duran had just been beaten by an average fighter.


    BOXING HISTORY YOU MUST ACKNOWLEDGE

    Roberto Duran
    MAYBE NO GREATER FIGHTER THAN ROBERTO
    San Francisco, CA- We are picking up the story up here in Part II: Roberto Duran’s Last Stand. That being the case, I suggest you read Part I right now by clicking on this link. Click for Part I: Duran's Last Stand As Champ. Duran had just lost a ten round decision to Martvin Hagler’s stepbrother Robbie Sims. in June 1986. Fleshy and unmotivated, Duran takes 11 months off before ring smart promoters Mike Acri and Luis De Cubas put him in with middle of the road type Victor Claudio in May 1987 in Miami, FL, which was now Roberto’s second home.
    AN OLD “GREAT QUEER” STOPS BY NOT!
    Claudio was beaten widely on points and the funniest thing I remember about this night involved the late Marty Cohen, manager and advisor to many stars like Michael Dokes and Hector Camacho. Marty came into Duran’s dressing room afterwards to offer his congrats. Duran sees him, grabs him by the arm and introduces him to everybody as “el gran merry-cone,” which translates to “the great queer” in Spanish. But it sounded so close to Marty Cohen with Duran repeating it several times. Marty, the butt of the joke was eating it up as we all laughed at him!
    THINKING DURAN WAS EASY, GIMENEZ LOSES WORLD RATING
    Roberto’s next fight was in Miami some five months later with Juan Carlos Gimenez, a world rated fighter at 160 lbs. This was the time when Duran’s ex-manager Hector Martinez and I were drinking cocktails at SFO as our “red eye” flight to Miami rolled away from the gate. Unfazed, we had another cocktail and ended up watching the fight the following night at a Daly City pizza parlor that had a satellite dish on it’s roof the size of Rhode Island. Duran beats Juan Carlos on points and is now ranked at 160. Problem for Duran is that Tommy Hearns is the WBC champion, and Tommy who beat Roberto in two, because of size I think would always beat Roberto at any weight above 147, for at ‘54 & ‘60, Tommy was a beast!
    ROBERTO BLOWING WIND IN WINDY CITY!
    The next stop on the “Rebuilding Roberto” tour takes us to Chicago. Always a party town, Hector and I hit the ground running as Duran was set to fight local Jeff Lanas. This was the beginning of the online-dating on the Internet, Roberto, after two decent showings, besting both Ricky Stackhouse and Paul Thorn, appears unmotivated as the days approach. Winning a controversial ten round decision over Lanas, with only the great Denny Moyer voting for Lanas who probably won the fight, “Duran Escapes The Windy City with Undeserved Win” is what the headlines should have read the following AM.
    “ALTHOUGH MY NAME IS I-RAN, I NEVER DID”
    In the meantime, Tommy Hearns was beating Iran Barkely (the above quote is what he said to me as I introduced myself) so bad, you could hear “The Blade’s” reacting in pain as Tommy hit Iran with punches that could level a building. But the biggest middleweight in history (that I saw physically) he roared back, threw/landed a right hand and Tommy was as “done” like a burnt steak! Seeing Duran looked lackluster against Lanas, and Barkely withstood the punches that felled Roberto from Hearns, Barkely would be a big betting favorite for a fight vs. Roberto that eventually took place in February 1889. But before the fight can happen Iran has to undergo surgery over both of his eyes for the removal of metal particles that were in the Monsel solution illegally applied to his cuts by the late cut man, Eddie “The Clot” Alliano.
    PART III LATE MONDAY NIGHT FOR TUESDAY MORNING!
    Didn’t think this was going to be a three-parter, but I needed to water the plant enough for you the reader to get on the same mindset as myself. Come back to RingTalk.com for Part III, late Monday night for tomorrow morning.
    Pedro Fernandez

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    Re: ROBERTO DURAN’S LAST STAND AS CHAMPION! by Pedro Fernandez

    Robbie Sims beat the shit out of Duran worse than his brother did, as far as I am concerned.

    Karl

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    I had

    Sims edging Duran by a Point.

    I had Hagler winning 10 rounds to 4 and 1 even against Duran.

    Hawk

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    Re: I had

    Quote Originally Posted by hawk5ins
    Sims edging Duran by a Point.

    I had Hagler winning 10 rounds to 4 and 1 even against Duran.

    Hawk
    Wow.

    I was at that Hagler - Duran fight, and I doubt that even Marvin thinks that scorecard was remotely close.

    Hagler pulled that fight out in the last two rounds as he was scared of Duran in the first half of the fight.

    Karl

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    I know what the official scorecards were

    And they were pathetically way off.

    And Marvin has stated that he believed he won at least 11 rounds.

    Most every newspaper publication that covered the bout had Marvin winning by a minimum of 4 points and several had it a 6 point bout as I did. And there were a handful that had it the 11-4 card that Marvin had.

    Every Boxing publication at the time ridiculed the scorecards as well.

    You might want to go back and review the bout yourself and score each round.

    Coming up with more than 5 rounds for Duran is going to be quite a task.

    At the same time, in the Sims bout, Roberto won at worst 4 rounds. And if you had one even round in it as I did, it's a one point bout.

    Hawk

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    Re: ROBERTO DURAN’S LAST STAND AS CHAMPION! by Pedro Fernandez

    ROBERTO DURAN’S LAST STAND: PART III
    December 6th, 2010 By Pedro Fernandez


    Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran
    San Francisco, CA- Seeing this is the third and final installment of this series on Roberto Duran, it is probably a good idea if you read Parts I & II before proceeding. Here are the links to each Click for Part I: Duran's Last Stand & Click for Duran's Last Stand Part II. Flying the US Air red eye from San Francisco to Philadelphia, PA, I used to wonder why we couldn’t just fly into Atlantic City for the big fights that were held on the Boardwalk in the 80s & 90s. I eventually did end up utilizing the AC airport, but it was much later than my arrival in Philly at 6:45 AM on this cold snowy day of February 24, 1989.
    STUCK IN PHILADELPHIA NOT EVER A GOOD THING
    Usually you can get a shuttle, take the train, there a few ways to get to what was before the advent of Indian casinos, Sin City East AKA Atlantic City, NJ. Except when it is snowing! When I went into the car rental place, they advised me that even if I were allowed by the New Jersey Troopers to drive to AC, doing so in this weather was a risk. Meanwhile, I’m starting to freak out as hours are passing by and I’m still at the airport. That’s when I heard the radio broadcast that saved the day, “Four wheel drive vehicles are being allowed on the Atlantic City Expressway.” I rush back to the car rental place and you guessed it, they had ONE four-wheel drive car available!
    LIKE A GRAVEYARD OF CARS ALONG THE ROUTE
    As I cruised by cars covered in snow on the highway from Philly to AC, I was going to make it in time to see the entire Roberto Duran-Iran Barkely fight card. Checking into the Irish Pub & Hotel, the place of choice of boxing writers in AC for decades, it still is a two story wood frame building built in the late 1800’s I would think. Only a few walking blocks from the Boardwalk Hall, the food, the booze, the Pub is something everybody should experience. It’s a place when the AP’s Ed Schuyler, SI’s Pat Putnam, Mike Marley when he was the NY Post, hung out, a hotel where the late Godfather of boxing writers Jack Fiske had his own suite. If you were part of the fight world and you didn’t stay at the Pub, it was the place to be post fight in AC.
    HAD A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH RAY LEONARD’S BRAIN
    Being closer than most people in the game to “Sugar Ray” Leonard’s brain, Maryland attorney Mike Trainer, we hung around as the preliminary matches took place. Never one to pass up a drink with a friend, “Top Cat” as Trainer was referred to within the Ray Leonard camp, he got that nickname from former NFL player and Leonard bodyguard Ollie Dunlop. Trainer is there to scout things for Ray, for should Duran win, and he was a almost 4-1 underdog in some circles, Trainer would put together Leonard-Duran III.
    DURAN IS ALL BUSINESS THIS TIME AROUND!
    With the fight an hour away, Hector Martinez, Duran’s co-manager at one point, he brings me back to Roberto’s dressing room. While I cannot describe the mood as somber, I must say having been present a number of times prior, this was the most serious Duran pre-fight dressing room I’d ever been in. Duran has his hands wrapped, he is shaking out in front of a mirror. What caught my eye right off the bat was Duran’s physical conditioning. The fat guy that he was months earlier in Chicago against Jeff Lanas was no mas! Roberto had slimmed down before (see Wilfred Benitiez) and had nothing, so the weight alone was no way to gauge him. What was indicative of his proper conditioning to me were the way Roberto’s legs and arms were cut up.
    DONALD’S TRUMP HAS FIGHT IN A TRUMP BALLROOM
    Now 38 years of age, Duran entered the ring at 84-7, 61 KOs. Barkely, the biggest middleweight that has ever fought at the weight, he had before knocking out Tommy Hearns for the WBC 160 lb. diadem, beaten good fighters like Michael Olaijade, Wilfred Scypoin, but lost on points to slick African and multi-time WBA champ Sumbu Kalambay. Prior to Hearns, Barkely nearly beheaded Darrin Van Horn in his taking the IBF super middleweight (168) title in a frightening manner. The fight with Hearns took place in June 1988, this fight with Duran is eight months later and after the now 28-year old Barkely (25-4, 16 KOs) had the aforementioned surgery to both remove metal chips left by an illegal cut medicine and repair the scar tissue above both eyes.
    FIGHT WAS NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT AFTER TEN ROUNDS
    The 12 round fight had some lulls as the bigger Barkely would try and bully Duran around the ring. After ten rounds, you really didn’t know who was up because so many of the rounds were close. But in round eleven, Roberto Duran put everything he had into a four punch combination, perhaps the most beautiful of his illustrious career, with the final punch being a right hand that put Barkley down. Even with the two point round, Mike Trainer, he has Barkely up by four. After the judges votes were tallied, Tom Kaczmarek must have filled out his card in advance as TK had it 8-4 in rounds or 116-112 Duran. Italy’s Giuseppe Ferrari liked Duran even more with a ridiculous 118-112. The third judge, ike Ray Leonard’s advisor Mike Trainer, Dave Brown had it 116-113 for Barkely.
    “TOP CAT” BEGINS PLOTTING AGAINST DURAN….AGAIN!
    As we both left the post fight press gathering, Trainer said he would try and make the third-Leonard-Duran fight for late summer. That timetable didn’t hold true and neither did Duran’s conditioning as he was soft and pudgy when he and Ray met in December of that year in the freezing Nevada desert at the grand opening of the Mirage Hotel. Trainer, utilizing the same negotiating plan he did for the second Leonard-Duran fight, he waited until Duran blew up to well over 200 lbs, and demanded thee fight take place in three months. Just like the second fight, the “no mas” debacle, Roberto wasn’t in any kind of shape. Even though he would fight until 2001, the last time Roberto Duran showed up ready for a fight was against Barkely, thus thIs truly was Robero Duran’s Last Stand As Champion!
    Pedro Fernandez

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    Lost

    in that last comment re Trainer's strategy of when to negotiate for a third bout with Duran is the fact that Duran Barkley took place in late Feb of 1989.

    At that point in time Leonard was scheduled to face Thomas Hearns in June. Not until AFTER that bout had happened did negotiations begin for Leonard Duran III.

    WHich took place in December.

    Is Trainer to be held responsible for Duran's shape from February until Late August, and one Leonard bout in between, when negotiations finally got under way?

    So If Trainer says let's stage the bout in February of 1990, Is Trainer going to be held responsible for trying to make Duran "Rusty", as by then he wouldn't have fought for a year now?

    C'mon man.

    If anything, I was mad at Trainer for not scheduling a third HEARNS bout after the draw he and Ray had.

    How the hell is it Trainer or Leonards fault Duran didn't fight for 10 months between Barkley and Leonard III and Roberto pigging out in Panama like he always did?

    That's just weak.

    Oh and by the way, DUran Barkley was the FOTY in 1989. For a bout that was nothing to write home about through 10 rounds, I'd like to hear what OTHER bout in 89 should have pushed Duran Barkley for that honor.

    Hearns D12 Leonard, Tyson KO 5 Bruno and Chavez KO 10 Mayweather were the only bouts to be considered and all three fell short in comparison.

    Hawk
    Last edited by hawk5ins; 12-07-2010 at 02:16 PM.

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    Re: ROBERTO DURAN’S LAST STAND AS CHAMPION! by Pedro Fernandez

    Robbie Sims did NOT beat the shit out of Duran. Not even close. That was as even a contest as you'll ever see.

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