Roberto Duran is a Hall of Famer, a living legend, but most of all, one of the baddest men to ever step foot in the ring. While the common fan may know him more for the “No Mas” debacle. True sports fans know this man had more boxing lives than a cat. Just when you thought he was done, he’d come back stronger than ever. With his biopic Hands of Stone opening in theatres this week, we thought it a great time to look back through the stone age at some of Manos de Piedra’s greatest fights.
Ken Buchanan, June 26, 1972, Madison Square Garden, New York City
The Buchanan fight would be the first of many title fights for Roberto Duran. The two faced each other on a steamy summer night in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Duran got the action underway at the start of the first round hitting Buchanan with an overhand right and knocking Buchanan down. Many believed it was a slip, but the referee ruled it a knockdown. Controversy aside, Duran continued to swarm Buchanan as if they were fighting in a phone booth, winning round after round. Yet Buchanan would not fall, which perhaps agitated Duran. Because as the bell rang ending the 13th round a bit of a scuffle ensued with Duran driving a right hand to Buchanan’s groin at the sound of the bell. The referee rushed in to pull him away, but did not rule the blow an illegal hit. By round 14 Buchanan was still reeling from the blow and couldn’t continue, giving Duran the TKO win and his first title. More importantly, the fight served as a precursor of what to expect for the next 25 plus years. Plenty of power, prowess and bravado mixed with a dash of controversy for good measure.