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ESPN + Boxing Results: Martin Murray Earns 12-round Decision Over Garcia


By: Ste Rowen

Martin Murray earned a 12-round decision over Roberto Garcia to win the WBC ‘Silver’ strap in a disappointing bout that made fans wonder if it’s time for both fighters to call it a day.

Murray, now 37-4-1 (17KOs) had previously held and defended the ‘Silver’ belt in 2014, but each fighter was taking a cautious approach to the early stages of this matchup, with both fighting from the distance, looking to get up on the cards in the first few rounds. Garcia, somewhat harshly, was deducted a point early on for punching below the belt towards the end of the 2nd round, which no doubt dented the native Mexican’s morale as well as his scorecard.

Roberto sensed he wasn’t in for an easy night with the referee and looked to dominate the middle of the ring, and the pressure seemed to be showing at the end of the 3rd as Murray began to allow punches to slip through his high guard.
Martin, trained by former British junior middleweight champion Jamie Moore, was lacking the kind of enterprise that saw him earn a ‘dangerous contender’ status from 2011-2015. There seemed to be a lack of power when the St Helen’s fighter landed.

Into the 6th, Murray continued to fight off the back foot, now timing his counters off with a little more quality than in the earlier rounds. With 1:15 left of the round, both fighters received a warning for leaning in with the head. The bout was in danger of being overshadowed by dirty antics.

Expectations were pretty low heading into tonight, Garcia, 41-3 (24KOs) was a late replacement after all, so in that respect it didn’t disappoint, but in every other way it did let the O2 crowd down. Rounds 7, 8, 9 were carbon copies of one another, until the final seconds of the 9th when, for some reason, the referee called break, Garcia continued fighting, and the referee eventually took a point away from the defending WBC ‘Silver’ champ. Despite entering into the championship rounds, neither fighter seemed to change tact. Garcia fought on the front foot, Murray was on the counter, and the bout remained awkward to judge.

If you’re reading this without watching the fight, just watch the 10th and final round, to sum up tonight’s events.

Close, difficult and disappointing.
After post-fight in-ring arguments between the two fighter’s trainers subsided, the scorecards were returned as, 116-111, 118-109, 118-108 all to Martin Murray, the new WBC ‘Silver’ middleweight champion.

‘I’ve been around a long time and I knew what was needed to win.’ Murray said.
And to agree, yet again, to fight WBO champ Saunders?

‘For me, to do that again. You can’t trust the man. I do this for my family. I’m a fighting man. If there was an insurance policy in place I’d do it again.’

If it’s not Saunders next for Martin Murray, and if he truly wants a 2nd shot at unified champion Gennady Golovkin via the WBC route, then logic dictates he should realistically target the likes of Jason Quigley, Kamil Szeremeta or Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan next.

Daniel Dubois vs. Tom Little

Dubois impressed in a 5th round stoppage of worthy challenger Tom Little, to become the new English heavyweight champion.

There was a bit of needle heading into tonight’s only heavyweight fight, but whether the pre-fight antics from Little affected Daniel or not, ‘Dangerous’ Dubois dispatched his latest foe in the same vicious style, if slightly delayed, that got rid of his previous 7 opponents.

In a scheduled 10-rounder, Dubois forced Little onto the back foot immediately and though the punches weren’t as clean as he would’ve hoped, it was obvious the unbeaten fighter was up on the cards early on.

Into the 2nd and the man who was stopped in 4 rounds by former Olympian, Filip Hrgovic five months ago, Little, was here to spoil and survive. With 30 seconds left of round 2, Dubois landed a barrage of punches, that kept Tom humble, but they were unable to get rid of the bookie’s outsider.
Round 3 saw more of the same domination from Dubois however, with less than a minute into round 4 ‘Dynamite’ landed a wonderful left hook to the body that dropped Little, but only temporarily. Tom rose, and though the body shot looked as if it had setup the finisher, he survived into the 5th.

It proved too far for the game challenger though, as in the 5th round, Dubois displayed the killer instinct that’s built up his big reputation. Daniel landed unanswered combinations of heavy head and body shots that forced the referee to step in and called an end to the fight.

Now 8-0 (8KOs), ‘Dynamite’ Dubois will not doubt be targeting both, British champion, Hughie Fury and Commonwealth champion, Joe Joyce. Not to forget fellow Queensberry Promotions stablemate, the unbeaten, Nathan Gorman, who two weeks ago dispatched of Sean Turner in three rounds.

Anthony Yarde vs. Dariusz Sek

Light heavyweight Anthony Yarde moved to 16-0 (15KOs) as he stopped 27-3-3, Dariusz Sek in 7 rounds to defend his WBO European and Inter-Continental straps.
Sek may have had the height advantage heading into the fight but with 50 seconds left of round 1, Yarde sent Dariusz sprawling to the canvas, but not hard enough to stop the eastern European surviving into the 2nd.

The Pol had previously never been stopped in 33 bouts, that included 3 losses and 3 draws, but ‘The Beast’ was putting that record to the test early on. Even as Sek looked to gain the middle ground Yarde came out the superior fighter, landing the cleaner punches in a more economical and effective way. Southpaw, Sek was more vigilante heading into rounds 3 &4 but he wasn’t able to keep Yarde off him anywhere near long enough to have a hope of stealing some rounds.

Rounds 5 and 6 saw Anthony remain dominant, looking to finish off Dariusz, though, despite the Brit seemingly teeing off on his opponent with ease, the Pol clearly had the chin to withstand the storm coming his way.

Anthony has only been taken the distance once as a pro, a 4-round bout with Stanislavs Makarenko in Yarde’s 2nd bout and he showed he was in no mood to go the scheduled distance for a 2nd time. In the 7th round Yarde, laid off heavy handed left and right hooks to the head and body forcing referee, Steve Gray to step in and call an end to the fight.

When asked who’s next, 26 year old Yarde was as succinct as a fighter can be,
‘Anybody. I’m not a promoter, I’m not a manager. My job is to fight. He’s (Sek) never been floored before, I floored him, I stopped him.’

There’s a lot of talent domestically for Anthony to eye up, with the likes of British & Commonwealth champion Callum Johnson, Frank Buglioni and Joshua Buatsi being possible fights in the near future.

Paul Kamanga vs. Ohara Davies
Fighting for the WBC ‘International’ super lightweight title, now 18-1 (14KOs), Ohara Davies knocked out Paul Kamanga in two rounds.

Neither fighter established themselves in the 1st round. Both choosing to tentatively fight from a distance, but then, after more of the same for 2:30 minutes of round 2, Davies landed a crushing right hand to the temple of Kamanga, which sent the DR Congo native face down onto the canvas and signalled the premature end of the bout.

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ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Martin Murray vs. Roberto Garcia


By: Ste Rowen

If all had gone to plan for this weekend, Martin Murray would be fighting in a world title bout for the 6th time in his pro career, but due to a second injury pull-out from WBO middleweight champ, Billy Joe Saunders, Murray, who’s fought for championship honours at both 160 and 168, will be taking on Mexican, Roberto ‘La Amenaza’ Garcia for the WBC ‘Silver’ belt at London’s O2 arena.

‘The fact I’m fighting a dangerous fight and it’s a meaningful fight means a lot.’ Said Murray at Wednesday’s press conference. ‘I was gutted Billy Joe pulled out, but I’ve not took my eye off the ball.’

‘He’s the complete opposite to Billy Joe…He’s orthodox, come forward fighter, in your face. It’s gonna be a tough fight. You could say it’s a tougher fight in some respects.’
‘It’s about levels, and I’m a level above and I’ll show that on Saturday.’

Murray, 36-4-1 (17KOs), fought twice last year marking his return back down to middleweight after his brief, unsuccessful, spell up at 168, which included defeats to George Groves and Arthur Abraham. The St Helens native scored a decision victory over Gabe Rosado in April 2017 and then on the undercard of Smith vs. Skoglund, the 35-year-old scored a body shot KO of relative unknown, Arman Torosyan.

In fact, before those two bouts, Murray’s last fight at 160 was his 11th round stoppage loss to 31-0 at the time, Gennady Golovkin back in early 2015. But as Martin said himself, sometimes it is about levels and Murray’s level of opposition, win or lose, has been significantly greater than La Amenaza’s.

Garcia, 41-3 (24KOs), now a relative veteran of the game (his debut fight coming in 2001), will be hoping this is finally his time. The 38-year-old, despite an impressive record on paper is in danger of his defining fight being his 2010 defeat to Antonio Margarito who, after earning a 10-round decision over Roberto fought, and loss to Manny Pacquiao just six months later.

‘La Amenaza’ was last in the ring in August 2017 where he travelled to Mexico to take on Julio Cesar Chavez’s son, Omar for the WBC ‘Silver’ strap. For 10 rounds, Garcia rushed forward laying hands on his opponent, not allowing him to breath, as Chavez struggled to maneuverer and counter. Roberto emerged the unanimous victor that night and showed that he has more left to give to boxing even if he remains a few levels below the elite.

‘It’s been one hell of a ride. I’ve always been the B-side my entire career. I’ve always fought against all the odds. I’ve built a career on pulling off upsets.’

‘We took that fight (vs. Chavez) on 28 days’ notice and I do a full time. We went over there with everything for him, the judges, it’s nothing I’m not used to.’

‘I fight hard as hell and I’ve had many, many guys say they’re gonna rip my head off, but it always changes…I go as hard as I want to. I walk the line.’

Whether Murray will have a tougher time, as he put it, in the ring with Garcia than he would with Saunders is highly doubtful, but the change of opponent should make a for a much more exciting style matchup.

Daniel Dubois vs. Tom Little

With the vacant English heavyweight title on the line, one of Britain’s most exciting prospects enters the ring in arguably his toughest test to date. 7-0(7KOs) Daniel Dubois will take on Tom Little, 10-5 (3KOs) in a fight that’s been simmering nicely over the past few weeks.

At the press conference, Little wasn’t shy in letting Dubois know he was in for a tough ride when the two meet,

‘He’s alright against whatever taxi driver you put in front of him. If you stand in front of him, he’s gonna cave your head in. Put him in with someone with an intelligent boxing brain then it’s gonna be a whole different story.’

‘I’m gonna take him into deep water and I’m gonna drown him very slowly.’

Not usually a big talker at press conferences, Dubois kept his time on the mic brief,

‘I’m a strong swimmer… Tom looks like a very weak man…You are a weak man and I’m gonna show you that on Saturday.’

Both fighter’s share a previous opponent in Dorian Darch. Dubois wiped out the Welshman in 2 rounds, whereas Little suffered his 3rd pro defeat to Darch back in 2014. The two seem polar opposites in terms of talk outside the ring vs style inside it, and the rate of which Dubois is climbing makes it seem, on paper at least, that both could in for an early night at the O2, but there does seem to be something in Little that’s got Dubois’ back up however, from what we’ve seen so far from ‘Dynamite’, that’s probably bad news for Tom.

Anthony Yarde vs. Dariusz Sek

Another of Britain’s exciting crop is back in between the ropes this weekend as, 15-0 (14KOs), light heavyweight, Anthony Yarde takes on southpaw, Dariusz Sek 27-3-3 (9KOs) for the WBO inter-continental and European belts.

Sek has lost two of the three occasions he’s fought outside of Poland, but he’s yet to be stopped and with Yarde on a 13-fight KO streak, things could get interesting when the two collide.
Asked about his opponent and the difference in training for a southpaw ‘The Beast’ said,

‘Doesn’t matter if they’re southpaw, west-paw, north-paw, east-paw, it’s a fight and we’ll see what happens on fight night…It’s a little bit different but I haven’t struggled.’
Yarde’s promoter, Frank Warren also revealed that he rejected the offer to fight Sergey Kovalev the current WBO champion,

‘We were offered the fight against Kovalev and we turned it down. He’s not ready for that. He won’t want to hear that, he wants to fight, but Tunde (Ajayi) and I discussed it and he’s not ready for that.’

‘The objective is to win the world title and once you’ve won it, you’ve got to defend it and to do that you need experience.’

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Did Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran Duck Colombia’s Antonio “Kid Pambele” Cervantes?


By: Ken Hissner

The boxing world knew that both Roberto “Hands of Stone” and Antonio “Kid Pambele” Cervantes would be IBHOF inductees someday and they were right.

Duran ruled the lightweights after his defeat of Scotland’s Ken Buchanan on June 26th 1972 at Madison Square Garden. He was 31-0 when he suffered his first loss that to Puerto Rico’s Esteban “Vita” DeJesus, 31-1 (only loss to Antonio Gomez), at Madison Square Garden in a super lightweight match. Duran was knocked down in the first round and lost by scores of 5-4, 6-3 and 6-2.

DeJesus would drop down to lightweight and win the NABF title from Ray Lampkin, 19-0-1, in his next fight. It took until March 16th 1974 in Panama City to get his rematch with Duran and got knocked out in the 11th round. Like in their first match Duran was knocked down in the first round. Duran would sometimes get up to 200 pounds between fights. By then DeJesus was 42-1 and Duran 41-1.

Duran would win 4 non-title bouts coming in at 139 three times and 140 once. In December of 1974 Duran in a title defense scored a first round knockout over Japan’s lightweight champion Masataka Takayama, 21-5-1. In March of 1975 in his next defense it was his turn to defeat Lampkin, 29-3-1, stopping him in the 14th round. Lampkin’s was rushed to a hospital afterwards.

Duran won four more non-title bouts before defending against Mexico’s champion Leoncio Ortiz, 30-5-2, knocking him out at 2:30 of the 15th and final round. In his next fight he defeated former WBA Super lightweight champion Saoul Mamby, 18-8. Just 19 days later he was in Erie, PA, dropping 6 pounds and defeating the local boxer Lou Bizzaro, 22-0, knocking him out in the 14th round.

In October Duran scored a 1st round knockout over Alvaro Rojas, 15-7, of Costa Rica. In January of 1977 he knocked out Vilomar Fernandez, 19-5-1, in the 13th round. Two more non-title wins and in Philadelphia in September in a “grudge match” he defeated Edwin Viruet, 22-2, over 15 rounds. This writer got a picture with him prior to the fight. I have never seen anyone skip rope better than Duran.

Next up would be his final defense at lightweight in a “rubber match” with DeJesus, 52-3, stopping him in the 12th round at Caesers Palace in Las Vegas also capturing the WBC title in addition to keeping his WBA title.

Duran would go onto win 8 non-title bouts coming in as high as 151 in one of them. In June of 1980 he won the WBC World welterweight title from “Sugar” Ray Leonard, 27-1, at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada. In the rematch in November came the humiliating loss to Leonard at the Superdome in New Orleans quitting in the 8th round.

Duran would go 4-2 before winning the WBA Super welterweight title stopping Davey Moore, 12-0, for his title in the 8th round in June of 1983. In his next fight he stepped in with WBA, WBC & IBF Middleweight champion “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, 57-2-2, losing a close 15 round decision by scores of 144-142, 146-145 and 144-143.

In Duran’s next fight in June of 1984 he suffered a devastating loss to former welter and super welter champion Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, 38-1, in the second round. In February of 1989 he would win the WBC Middleweight title that Iran “The Blade” Barkley, 25-4, held by split decision at the Convention Hall, in Atlantic City, NJ. He had Barkley down in the 11th round. He would end up his career in July of 2001 with a record of 103-16 with 70 by stoppage at age 50.

Now let’s look at Cervantes. In December of 1981 he got his first title shot against Argentina’s Nicolino “El Intocable” Loche, 103-2-14, losing every round for the WBA World super lightweight title. In October of 1972 Cervantes would win the same title from Panama’s Alfonso Fraser, 30-4-1, at Panama City with a 10th round knockout. It was just four months after Duran defeated Buchanan. That’s about as close as they met.

In Cervantes next fight and first defense he won a split decision in San Juan, Puerto Rico, over Josue Marquez, 26-5-1. Just a month later, he got his revenge defeating Loche, 110-3-14, who couldn’t come out for the 10th round due to a cut. Just two months later he gave Fraser a rematch, 31-5-6, stopping him in the 5th round.

In September of 1973 Cervantes was home in Bogota, Colombia, stopping Argentina’s Carlos Maria Gimenez, 72-2-3, in the 5th round. On December 5th he was back in Panama stopping Japan’s Lion Furuyama, 30-5-2, over 15 rounds. Just two days prior to this in Panama Duran was winning a non-title bout knocking out Tony Garcia, 13-2-4.

Cervantes would win three more title defenses starting with Chang-Kil Lee, 22-1, with a 6th round knockout in March of 1974. In July he would knockout in 2 rounds Victor Ortiz, 25-6. In October in Japan he would knockout Shinichi Kadota, 35-7, in 8 rounds.

In May of 1975 it was Cervantes’ time to meet DeJesus, 45-2, knocking him down in the 1st, 12th and 15th rounds winning a lopsided decision in Panama. In November back in Panama he would stop Australia’s Hector Thompson, 55-4-2 in the 7th round. Duran the following month was in Puerto Rico defending against Mexico’s Ortiz. Cervantes was 5-0 in Panama and maybe that is why Duran never challenged him with either he or his people seeing how good Cervantes was.

In March of 1976 Cervantes in his eleventh title defense would lose his title to 17 year-old Wilfred Benitez, 25-0, by split decision in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cervantes never got a return match. In January of 1982 Benitez then the WBC World Super champion would defeat Duran. After five wins Cervantes would get another shot at the vacant WBA title in June of 1977 in a rematch with Gimenez, 98-8-4, stopping him in the 4th round.

After a pair of title defenses Cervantes would go to South Africa and stop Norman Sekgapane, 51-6-1, in the 9th round. He had another three defenses including two against Miguel Montilla, 33-4-3, stopping him in the second one. In between those two defenses he was in South Korea defeating Kwang Min Kim, 15-0-1, by split decision. That gave Cervantes sixteen defenses.

Next up in August of 1980 for Cervantes would be future Hall of Famer Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, 24-0, stopping Cervantes in the fourth round at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum. The hanger-on’s swarmed Pryor to the point he couldn’t get interviewed. Cervantes would go onto win his next four fights before losing his final one in December of 1983. His final record was 93-12-3 (45), while Duran ended up 103-16 70). Both would become IBHOF inductees. What a fight that would have been if they ever met. Duran vacated his lightweight title in January of 1979 after defeating DeJesus in their third fight. He would “skip” super lightweight and go onto welterweight eventually winning that title, the super welter and middleweight titles. He never challenged Cervantes for the super lightweight title. What a match that would be between Cervantes and Duran.

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HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Seldin vs. Ortiz, Miller vs. Wach, Jacobs vs. Arias


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Eddie Hearn’s latest acquisition, Daniel Jacobs, will be on display on HBO. He will be facing Luis Arias in the main event of the evening. Two other bouts are also planned to be broadcast, a heavyweight fight between Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller and Mariusz Wach in the heavyweight division and a junior welterweight bout between Cletus Seldin and Roberto Ortiz.

The NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York will be the host site for Saturday’s boxing card.


Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

The following is a preview of Saturday’s HBO card.

Cletus Seldin (25-0) vs. Roberto Ortiz (35-1-2); Junior Welterweights

The opening bout of the night will be between Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Roberto Ortiz in the junior welterweight division.

Seldin is a local fighter with a large, supportive fan base. He’s fought in New York for most of his career with a large majority of his fights taking place at the Paramount Theatre. He’s undefeated, but he is currently thirty one years old and his window of opportunity for a legitimate world title fight is getting smaller.

His opponent Roberto Ortiz is the same age and has fought mainly in Mexico. He fought one time in the United States and was stopped by Lucas Matthysse. Ortiz will have a slight two and a half inch height and reach advantage.

Neither Seldin or Ortiz has a notable amateur background in boxing. However, Seldin does have experience in wrestling and judo. He also was a finalist in the New York Golden Gloves tournament.

Both boxers have decent power. Seldin has sixteen stoppage wins on his resume while Ortiz has twenty six. Seldin has never tasted defeated while Ortiz was stopped in his one fight against a big name opponent.

Neither boxer has any big name victories. Seldin’s best wins were against Jesus Selig, Johnny Garcia, and Bayan Jargal. Ortiz’s best wins were against Reyes Sanchez and John Aparicio.

This is an excellent test for Seldin and it will be the toughest of his career. Ortiz has a good record, but lost the only fight in which he faced a good opponent. Seldin should be able to win a close victory, but we’ll definitely have a better idea if he’s a legitimate contender on Saturday night.

Jarrell Miller (19-0) vs. Mariusz Wach (33-2); Heavyweights

Jarrell Miller is an intriguing heavyweight prospect in that he has experienced some surprising success in another combat sport, that being kickboxing.

He was able to defeat UFC veteran Pat Barry in a kickboxing match and went 19-0 in Muay Thai before going to kick boxing. He found some success in kickboxing’s prestige league, K1, and lost to UFC veteran Mirko Cro Cop twice by decision.

He has been very successful since switching to boxing. He’s undefeated and has seventeen stoppage wins, including eight stoppage victories in a row. He fought once in 2017 and three times in 2016.

Miller does have some amateur boxing experience. He made it to the finals of the New York Golden Gloves and lost to Tor Hammer on points. His opponent, Mariusz Wach, also had a successful amateur career and was a Polish National Champion and an Olympic alternate.

Miller will have an eight year age advantage on Wach, who is currently thirty seven years old. Wach will have a height advantage of about three and a half inches and a reach advantage of four inches.

In addition to being tested as a kickboxer, Miller also has defeated some notable heavyweights. His notable wins include Gerald Washington, Fred Kassi, and Donovan Dennis.

Wach’s biggest wins have come against Tye Fields, Kevin McBride, and Jason Gavern. His losses were to Alexander Povetkin and Wladimir Klitschko.

Wach’s age and relative inactivity is a concern. He fought only once in 2017 and once in 2016, against less than impressive opposition.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about a potential heavyweight fight between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, but an impressive win by Miller could result in him getting a title shot before Wilder and Joshua meet inside the ring.

Daniel Jacobs (32-2) vs. Luis Arias (18-0); Middleweights

Daniel Jacobs earned the title of “Miracle Man” after defeating a diagnosis of bone cancer in 2011. He was previously signed to Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) but has recently decided to sign with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport.

Jacobs had a very successful amateur career. He was a Junior Olympics National Champion, a Police Athletic League (PAL) National Champion, and a National Golden Gloves Champion. His opponent, Luis Arias, also had a very successful amateur career. He was a US National Champion at middleweight in 2008 and 2010 and was also a Gold Medal PAL winner.

Arias is twenty seven years old and three years younger than Jacobs. Jacobs will have a very sleight half an inch reach advantage over Arias.

Jacobs has a large edge in power over Arias. Jacobs has stopped twenty nine of his opponents and nine of his past ten fights were TKO victories. Arias only has nine stoppage victories, but three of his past four fights were TKO victories.

Jacobs has the better professional resume of the two boxers. He has defeated the likes of Ishe Smith, Jarrod Fletcher, Caleb Truax, Sergio Mora, and Peter Quillin. His losses were a close decision loss to Gennady Golovkin and a shocking knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog.

Arias has defeated the likes of Arif Magomedov, Scott Sigmon, and Jorge Silva.

Arias does have an edge in activity. He already fought twice in 2017 and fought three times in 2016. Jacobs has only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.

This should actually be a tougher fight for Jacobs than most expect. Arias has the amateur background to match Jacobs and he has never tasted defeat. He’s also been in the ring more often than Jacobs and won’t have to worry about ring rust.

However, Jacobs was very impressive in his defeat to Gennady Golovkin and is filled with confidence. Arias has never felt the power of a boxer like Jacobs and has never been in the ring as a professional with someone of Jacobs’ caliber.

This is Daniel Jacobs’ fight to lose, but Arias has enough talent to make it closer than expected.

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Flashback: Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran And The Shot Heard Round The World


By: Sean Crose

Both Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran were already legendary figures back in 1984. Duran, the hardened Panamanian tough guy, had finally earned back the respect he had lost after quitting on Ray Leonard in the middle of their 1980 New Orleans rematch by besting Davey Moore and giving middleweight powerhouse Marvin Hagler all he could handle. Hearns, on the other hand was on a six fight win streak after being bested by Leonard in an all-time fight classic several years earlier. As history would go on to prove, both men were serious threats and would remain so for what seemed like ages.

Before they would move on to further glory, however, they would have to face each other. On the line would be Hearn’s WBC super welterweight strap. Duran’s WBA version of the title might have been at stake as well, but Duran gave that belt up rather than fight his mandatory opponent, Mike McCallum. The bout itself was to be held in Las Vegas, outdoors at Caesar’s Palace, to be exact, after the planned Bahamas location proved to be incompatible.

Duran was thirty two years old at the time of the bout, but he had proven age to be just a number when he gave Hagler a run at middleweight just a few months earlier. To consider the Panamanian finished at this point in his career would be a terrible mistake, something Hearn’s trainer, Emanuel Steward, knew all too well. “I can see it going so many ways,” Sports Illustrated quoted Steward as saying beforehand, “and one of them is Tommy hitting Duran with a real shot and Duran just standing there grinning. It could really frustrate Tommy.”

Hearns, though, was not to be frustrated by Duran, at least not in the ring. This was the chance for the guy known as “The Hit Man” to start knocking people out again. Hearns might have won a new title and beaten the likes of Wilfred Benitez since the Leonard loss, but he hadn’t been the frightening puncher he was before the Leonard classic. “His whole value judgment is based on how hard he can hit,” Hearn’s doctor was to be quoted as saying. “This man actually lives and exists mentally from the power of his right hand. It’s his self-image.”

With so much on the line for both men, it was clear that this fight was a big deal. Indeed, it would be no network television event. It would be aired live via closed circuit and pay per view. What’s more, each man would make over a million dollars. With big events, after all, come big bucks. To the undoubted surprise of many, however, the fight ended up being a big blowout. That doesn’t mean it was a dud, however. Indeed, Hearns-Duran still stands as a thrilling, if completely one sided, two round action fest.

It was said that Duran intensely wanted the Hearns fight. Yet within the first round that evening, the 2-1 underdog was dropped before the live crowd of close to 15,000 people. What’s more, Duran was dropped again before the round was over. To make matters worse, Hearns had dazed his man so badly that Duran went to the wrong corner after the bell sounded ending the first chapter. “He surprised me,” Duran reportedly told his corner. Before rising for the second round, however, Duran explicitly instructed his team not to stop the fight. It was as if the man knew what was coming.

The days of quitting were indeed over for Roberto Duran, but a terrible loss was now imminent. Finding his man with his back to the ropes in the midst of a savage bit of handiwork, Hearns fired a right hand for the ages. It hit Duran so cleanly, with such power, that the iconic fighter literally fell flat on his face before a stunned crowd. There was no need for a count. Indeed a count would only have prolonged what was a finished fight. Doing the right thing, referee Carlos Pedilla stopped the bout. The ferocious Hearns was back by virtue of a single frightening shot that echoed throughout the early Vegas night and beyond.

The story, of course, wasn’t over for either man. Less than a year later, Hearns himself would be the victim of a timeless knockout, courtesy of the gutsy Hagler. He would then move on to redeem himself against Leonard (thanks to a controversial draw) before, incredibly, earning himself a light heavyweight championship. And Duran? Well, the not so old man would go on to stun the world again by besting the terrific Iran Barkely for the middleweight title later in the decade. The lesson? Great fighters can never be counted out – even after they’ve been counted out.

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“Hands Of Stone” Director Jonathan Jakubowicz: “It’s The Beauty Of working With Geniuses.”


“Hands Of Stone” Director Jonathan Jakubowicz: “It’s The Beauty Of working With Geniuses.”
By: Sean Crose

Sometimes we don’t know how well we have it. While living in a world of Twitter trends and the latest celebrity gossip, it’s often hard to appreciate the suffering that comes from growing up in dire poverty, or the fear that comes when one’s life might well be threatened. Such things, we might well feel, are only the stuff of movies, right?

Wrong.

Édgar Ramírez and Robert De Niro star in HANDS OF STONE

While the upcoming film “Hands of Stone” deals with the relationship between Panamanian boxing legend Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran – played by Argentinian actor Edgar Ramirez – and American trainer Ray Arcel – played by Robert DeNiro – it’s worth keeping in mind that the film is based on a true story. For the real Duran grew up in grinding poverty in his home country, while Arcel had legitimate reason for fearing the mafia would kill him. It’s actual life the movie deals with…though the story itself is custom made for Hollywood.

Director Jonathan Jakubowicz, took time to speak over the phone on Monday and claimed he wanted to create the “story of a positive Latino figure.” He ultimately settled on the 103-16 boxing legend. “Why not,” he asked, “focus on somebody who actually achieved greatness?” Sure enough, Duran’s life is fertile ground for a biopic. “He was a legend,” Venezuela’s Jakubowicz told me, “to all of us.”

“I was fascinated by him,” the director stated about his subject, “by his style, by everything he represented.” Yet Jakubowicz, who burst onto the scene with 2005’s “Secuestro Express” made it clear Duran “wasn’t a saint.” Sure enough, Duran was apt to make things as difficult for the “Hands of Stone” team as it was for his trainers during his prime.

For instance, just before Duran was to give the film his blessing, the feisty 65-year-old instead decided to give the production team a jolt. “He called us at five in the morning,” Jakubowicz said, “and sent us to hell saying he’s not going to sign anything.” Fortunately for the director, it was all bluster. “He’s a mind gamer,” claimed the director, adding that “he comes from rage.”

Sure enough, the dire poverty of Duran’s youth helped shape the man. Jakubowicz explained how, as the extremely poor Panamanian son of an American Marine who abandoned his paternal obligations, Duran felt the sting of American influence, as well as an individual American’s neglect. Still, the director made it clear that America also provided with fighter with incredible opportunity, especially through the person of Ray Arcel, who’s played by Robert DeNiro in the film.

“That dichotomy I found extremely fascinating,” the director said.

What may be extremely fascinating to film and boxing fans is the film’s cast. Besides Ramirez, who was brilliant in 2010s “Carlos,” Robert DeNiro, famous for, among other things, the fight classic “Raging Bull,” proved to be extremely helpful. As Arcel, he plays an aging trainer who comes back to the fight game after being run out of boxing years earlier by the mafia.

“He said I needed to work on the script,” Jakubowicz said of DeNiro, “to find Ray Arcel’s voice.” After helping Jakubowicz strengthen the screenplay, the legendary actor was then ready to act in the film. “DeNiro, he transformed,” Jakubowicz claimed, mentioning that the actor “shaved his head and dyed his hair white.”

Yet DeNiro wasn’t the only big name to come aboard. Someone was needed to play Duran’s arch nemesis, the popular and masterful “Sugar” Ray Leonard. Needless to say, Leonard the character was as difficult to cast as Leonard the fighter was difficult to defeat. Jakubowicz was bewildered. “I met with Freddie Roach,” the filmmaker said. “He goes, ‘listen, for Sugar Ray, you should get a dancer.’” That may have seemed crazy, but Jakubowicz took the iconic trainer’s advice. The role went none other than pop icon Usher – who’s listed in the film as Usher Raymond IV.

Much to Jakubowicz’ delight the song and dance maestro “trained for like a year for Leonard.” Sure enough, the great fighter himself helped prepare Usher for the role. “You nail the smile,” Leonard said of Usher, “everything else I’ll teach him.”

“It’s the beauty,” Jakubowicz said of the “Hands of Stone” experience, “of working with geniuses.”

With the script and cast lined up, it was time to film. “I focused on the psychological aspect of the sport,” Jakubowicz claimed, explaining that the first fight between Duran and Leonard contains a lot of “quick cuts,” due to the up close and personal nature of that battle. The rematch in New Orleans, however, was filmed with “wide lenses,” in order to effectively capture the movement and tempo of the notorious rematch. And the first fight in the film, where Arcel initially catches Duran in action live and in person? Jakubowicz made sure that viewers are “seeing it through the eyes of Ray Arcel.”

It was obvious just talking to the director that he was a true fan of the sport of boxing. “It’s a labor of love,” he said of the film, adding that “the golden era of boxing” that Duran and Leonard ruled, deserved top notch treatment. After all, these were men who went for broke – repeatedly. And frankly, it’s a story that’s needed to be told on film.

“We really need everybody to go,” Jakubowicz said.

Undoubtedly many fight fans will heed the call.
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“Hands Of Stone” opens nationwide on August 26th.

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Manos de Piedra: The Life of Roberto Duran


Manos de Piedra: The Life of Roberto Duran
By: Matthew N. Becher

​From the small country of Panama came one of the greatest boxers the world has ever known. Roberto Duran was born in El Chorrillo in 1951 and would grow up to be a four division world champion and boxing hall of famer. He would forever leave an impact on the sport and put his country on the map.

​Duran turned pro in February of 1968, at the age of 16. He would win that fight, and go on to win his next 31 fights, most of which took place in his native Panama. He fought at Lightweight and in that time would make a stop, at the age of 21, to fight Ken Buchanan for the WBA lightweight title at the most famous Arena in the world, Madison Square Garden. During this fight, Duran would formally introduce himself to the world, by winning his first of many titles and showing off his incredibly punching power. The same year Duran would lose his first title and fight to Esteban De Jesus, which he would avenge two years later in a rematch.

​For the next ten years Duran would stay atop the division, Unifying titles, until he decided to move up and challenge for the WBC welterweight belt, in 1980, against the undefeated American, Sugar Ray Leonard. This would be Duran’s most famous and impressive victory, as he beat Sugar Ray up from bell to bell. Duran showed the world that his brute force and fighting style was superior to the beloved Leonard’s speed and flashiness. He would become the best fighter in the world.

​5 months later, in the rematch, Duran would be part of another famous fight, the “no mas” fight. Duran quit in the middle of the eighth round, in a fight he was losing to Leonard, by telling the ref “no mas” (no more). Many stories have been told about why Duran stopped the fight. From stomach cramps to exhaustion to just being frustrated with the style and show that Leonard was displaying that particular evening. It would haunt Duran for the rest of his life.

​Duran would win and lose some more in the 1980s, winning a title in a third division by knocking out Davey Moore for the WBA super middleweight title. In his very next fight that year (1983) Duran would lose a hard fought decision against one of the greatest Middleweights of all time, Marvelous Marvin Hagler. His next fight after that would be another loss, back down in weight against Thomas Hearn’s.

​Even in defeat, Duran was still attempting to fight the greatest fighters of the era, regardless of weight class. He cemented himself as one of the “Four Kings” of boxing, a group of fighters consisting of himself, Leonard, Hearn’s & Hagler. They were the best of the best, strewn across weight classes, all meeting in the ring to prove who the best was. Duran was the lightest, which never even entered his mind. He took each one on, and established himself as one of the best ever.

​Duran would eventually become the middleweight champion of the world by defeating the extremely talented Iran Barkley in 1989. It was Ring Magazines “Fight of the Year” and it made Duran only the 3rd fighter to ever win titles in four weight classes.

​Roberto Duran would keep fighting into the 90s, taking on fighters like Vinny Pazienza, Hector “Macho” Camacho and William Joppy. His last fight took place in 2001 against the Hall of Famer Camacho. It would be Duran’s 119th fight. A career that spanned five decades. He fought his first fight in 1968 and his last in 2001….33 years.
​The man known as “Manos de Piedra” (Hands of Stone) would compile a records of 103 wins, 16 losses and 70 of his wins coming by way of knockout. He rose from extreme poverty in his native Panama to become the first man to ever beat Sugar Ray Leonard. His legacy will always be cemented as one of the greatest fighters ever. In 1999, the Associated Press rated him as the greatest lightweight and the seventh greatest fighter of the century. Ring Magazine would later name him also as the greatest lightweight ever and the 5th best fighter of the past 80 years. Duran would be inducted into the International boxing hall of fame exactly 5 years after his retirement in 2007.

Édgar Ramírez and Robert De Niro star in HANDS OF STONE

​On August 26th, a biographical film will be released about the life of the great Roberto Duran called, fittingly enough “Hands of Stone”, Edgar Ramirez will depict the great champion, as well as Robert DeNiro as Ray Arcel and Usher Raymond as Ray Leonard. It is a film that will need to fit a lot of information into a small time frame. Fifty years of fighting and historical boxing moments. One thing is for sure, they couldn’t have picked a better figure in the sport to make a movie about.

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CBS Sports Net Boxing Preview: Mosley vs. Avanesyan


CBS Sports Net Boxing Preview: Mosley vs. Avanesyan
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night “Sugar” Shane Mosley’s GoBox Promotions will present a televised card on CBS Sports Net live from the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Shane Mosley will be featured in the main event of the evening when he takes on David Avanesyan for Avanesyan’s WBA Interim Welterweight Title.

Pacquiao_Mosley weighin 110506_004a

Several prospects will be featured on the card, including Dimar Ortuz (10-0), Shane Mosley Jr. (6-1), Victor Castro (16-0), and Luis Oliveras (10-0). The only other bouts scheduled to be televised will be Victor Castro against Carlos Zatarian (6-2-2) in the lightweight division as well as Dimar Ortuz (10-0) against Ricardo Campillo (9-9-1) in the cruiserweight division.

Several pre fight activities were planned this week. The promotion attempted to break the Guinness world record for the largest boxing lesson in history on May 24th and they held a ring girl search on May 25th. The promotion will also hold a public workout on May 26th with celebrity guests.

Additionally, the official weigh in will be open to the public on May 27th at the Westfield Shopping Center and a publicized flash mob will be held on the same date following the weigh in.

UFC fighter Brendan Schaub and boxing journalist Steve Kim are the scheduled broadcasterse for the bout.

The following is a preview of the main event of the evening.

David Avanesyan (21-1-1) vs. Shane Mosley (49-9-1); WBA Interim Welterweight Title

Despite the fact Shane Mosley is forty four years old and has nine losses on his record, he gets another shot at a world title when he faces David Avanesyan for the WBA Interim Welterweight Title.

The winner of this bout will be next in line to face the winner of Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman which is scheduled for June 25th in Brooklyn, New York. The winner, no matter who it is, will be a significant underdog against Porter or Thurman.

Avanesyan is seventeen years younger than Mosley, but will be giving up a half an inch in height and approximately two and a half inches in reach. On paper, Mosley appears to have more power than Avanesyan. Mosley has stopped forty one of his opponents while Avanesyan has only stopped eleven. However, Molsey’s last two fights were stoppage victories in 2015, but before that he hasn’t had a stoppage win since 2009. Avanesyan last two fights were also by stoppage victory.

Mosley has the better professional resume and amateur resume. Mosley won the US Amateur Championships as a lightweight but failed to qualify for the 1992 Olympics when he lost to Vernon Forrest in the light welterweight semifinals.

Mosley’s recent record has been subpar as he defeated a clearly past his prime Ricardo Mayorga and fringe contender Pablo Cesar Cano. His other notable victories came earlier in his career, and include Antonio Margarito, Luis Collazo, Fernando Vargas, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Diaz, and Jesse James Leija.

Mosley’s nine losses have come against some of the best in boxing. They include Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright twice each, Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, and Anthony Mundine.

Avanesyan lone defeat was to Andrey Klimov early on in his career. His notable victories pale in comparison to Mosley, but they include Charlie Navarro, Dean Byrne, Kaizer Mabuza, and Carlos Herrera.

Mosley has hired the legendary Roberto Duran to be his trainer for this bout and they are calling themselves the “Sugar and Stone” team. Mosley is clearly past his prime, and he hopes that pairing up with Duran will help recapture that magic he had earlier in his career.

If this bout happened five years ago Mosley would be a clear favorite. But his recent fight against Mayorga was considered by many to be a farce and he looked terrible in his loss to Anthony Mundine.

Avanesyan doesn’t appear to have the power to stop Mosley, but the seventeen year difference in age should make a difference if the bout goes all twelve rounds.

It’s a tough fight to pick, but father time is not on Mosley’s side.

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