Roberto Durán Samaniego (born June 16, 1951) is a retired professional boxer from Panama, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. A versatile brawler in the ring, he was nicknamed "Manos de Piedra" (or "Hands of Stone") during his career.
In 2002, he was chosen by The Ring to be the 5th greatest fighter of the last 80 years. Bert Sugar rates him as the 8th greatest fighter of all-time and many consider him the greatest lightweight of all time. He held world titles at four different weights—lightweight (1972–79), welterweight (1980), junior middleweight (1983–84) and middleweight (1989). He was the second boxer to have fought a span of five decades.
He finally retired in January 2002 at age 50 (having previously retired in 1998) following a bad car crash in October 2001, with a professional record of 119 fights, 103 wins with 70 KOs. Up until the second Ray Leonard fight, he was trained by legendary boxing trainer Ray Arcel.
Durán is the only man in boxing history to win fights in 5 separate decades. He registered wins in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s.
Durán was born on June 16, 1951 Panama, to a Panamanian mother and Mexican father, in the slums of El Chorrillo in a place called "La Casa de Piedra" (The House of Stone). He made his professional debut in 1968 at the age of 16.
After an initial adjustment he won thirty in a row, and scored knockout victories over future featherweight champion Ernesto Marcel and former super featherweight champion Hiroshi Kobayashi, culminating in his first title bout in June 1972, where he controversially defeated Ken Buchanan in Madison Square Garden, New York for the WBA world lightweight championship. Durán was ahead on all three cards as the bell rang to end the 13th round at which time Duran (apparently not hearing the bell due to crowd noise and being in the heat of the moment)continued to throw a couple of extra punches as Buchanan lay on the ropes. However upon closer inspection of the famed low blow, referee Johnny LoBianco can be seen standing "behind" Duran as the bell rang and immediately grabbed Duran "bear-hug" style in an effort to pull Duran away from Buchanan, LoBianco can clearly be seen in the video "altering" the direction of Duran's right arm, pulling it "downward" as Duran attempted to throw a clean body punch at Buchanan thus the infamous and undeserved ridicule of Duran "intentionally" throwing a "low blow" was born.Buchanan immediately dropped down to canvas writhing in pain from a groin punch, that Buchanan's trainer, Gil Clancy, said was caused by a knee to the groin (which it wasn't). Referee Johnny LoBianco awarded the fight to Durán, insisting that the blow that took down Buchanan was "in the abdomen, not any lower"(the punch does land below belt line, LoBianco was out of position to see it) and that he felt that Buchanan would be unable to continue fighting.The referee was the ultimate cause of the low blow not Duran. Columnist Red Smith of The New York Times wrote that LoBianco had to award the victory to Durán, even if the punch was a low blow, as "anything short of pulling a knife is regarded indulgently" in American boxing.
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