Roberto Duran remembers the first time he ever met a man he inspired to greatness – Mike Tyson…
“My first memory when I met Tyson was when I went to his dressing room and he got crazy with me and was very happy to meet me,” says the living legend from Panama. “And I also appreciate him also. It was at the Michael Spinks fight in Atlantic City. That was a helluva fight. Before the fight Mike asked me, What way would be the quickest way to knock Spinks out? I said, Punch him to the body, left hook to the body.
“Then at the end of the fight nobody could come into (Tyson’s) dressing room. And when he knew it was me, he tell them to let me go in and he said, You see? I followed the way you told me. I punch him in the body.”
Duran says he has always gotten along with Mike Tyson. “I know Tyson, we’re not the closest of friends, but with me he’s a very, very good individual. The locations that we’ve met, he’s very good with me. Very nice.”
Duran recalls another memory he has of Tyson. Tyson told Duran that they once were together in spirit at Madison Square Garden in 1983.
“I had a fight with Davey Moore,” remembers Duran. “Tyson told me he was there in the gallery. At the time Tyson was just a kid (he was 16), nobody. But he was a fanatic of me. Tyson told me he was shadowboxing up there in the shadows, screaming, Duran! Duran! Duran! Tyson told me that experience.”
Like many ring observers believe Roberto Duran was the greatest Lightweight champion in history, Duran himself credits the man he inspired, Tyson as the greatest Heavyweight champ there ever was. “I consider that Tyson was the greatest boxer in the heavyweight. Because he was knocking out anybody. Like nobody in history do what Tyson did. But also I consider that’s the more important. His private life belong to – we talk about sport here – Tyson is was one of the greatest. And no doubt to it.”