HomeMMAOn This Day: A frustrated Roberto Duran surrenders to Sugar Ray Leonard

On This Day: A frustrated Roberto Duran surrenders to Sugar Ray Leonard


41 years ago, Roberto Duran left his rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard. Read the original report in the Boxing News am Ring about the fight on November 25, 1980

ROBERTO DURAN, the man they called Stone Fists, the man who burned a cold, merciless longing for victory, stunned the boxing world by becoming human at the New Orleans Superdome.

Duran went out of his WBC welterweight title rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard after 2 minutes 44 seconds of the eighth round.

He wasn’t injured, wasn’t bleeding, not from the fight. He just lost his temper and stopped.

Duran then announced his resignation. “I’ll never fight again,” he said. “I’m retiring from boxing now.”

The Louisiana State Commission unanimously voted to withhold Duran’s entire $ 8 million budget and also ordered that he be medically examined.

A desperate Duran said he had cramps in his stomach and right arm. During the seventh round, Leonard had taunted him, dropped his hands and asked him to strike, raised his right hand and rocked Duran with a left blow.

It was designed to infuriate the champion, but not even Leonard could imagine the effect it could have. Suddenly the Panamanian stopped hopping and weaving, straightened up, and waved his glove in a throwaway gesture.

He half turned and Leonard drove past the corpse to the right and sideways to the left.

Referee Octavio Meyran jumped in between the two and – as if he couldn’t believe it either – hesitated and told Duran to continue.

But the 29-year-old champion turned his back on him again, frowned and gestured. Leonard raged across the ring and jumped onto the ropes in a neutral corner with arms raised in triumph.

Duran made a belated suggestion that he wanted to resume the fight, but by this point the ring was filled with various hangers. Duran trotted back to his corner. Physically nothing seemed to be faulty.

The future looks bright again for Leonard. At 24, he has a seemingly dazzling and lucrative career ahead of him. Only rival Champion Thomas Hearns would now pose the slightest threat to his supremacy.

Supported by a large ring, Leonard danced around and picked Duran up from the start. It was a classic show of boxing on the move and off the ropes. The results make him one of the greats of modernity again.

Leonard did a good opening lap before they both increased the pace in the second. Duran raced in and scored with two hard rights, one of which sent Leonard back.

The challenger kept moving, catching Duran with a blinking right hand as the champion’s lead ran short. Just before the bell, another left hook landed firmly on Duran’s bearded jaw.

The third time he got up from his chair, Duran seemed amused. The satisfied, menacing smile emphasized that he was doing what he loved most.

He pushed Leonard on the ropes and pounded away, but Leonard sank a hard left hand to his head. It was a good lap for Duran.

He managed to keep Leonard on the ropes for a long time and, despite the challenger’s noticeable vortex, hit the head and body. Leonard wrapped his left glove around Duran’s neck so he wouldn’t do too much damage.

In the fourth, Leonard was again forced on the ropes but moved away from them to catch Duran with a left hook on the waist line. The challenger suddenly put his punches together in a typical thrust and Duran took them in the middle of the ring.

Duran’s shots were too short, but it was also difficult to tell how many of Leonard’s counters were solid landings. Duran missed with an attack near Leonard’s corner and landed on his knees halfway through the ropes.

In the fifth, the challenger’s labor rate fell, but he came on tiptoe and moved well in the ring early in the lap.

Duran cracked a right hand, but Leonard took it well. Duran gave him a pretty spectacular push in the American’s own corner and suddenly the pressure of the champion threatened to give him control.

Leonard finished the round with his back against the ropes in a neutral corner, with Duran putting his weight on and walking off with both hands.

But Leonard took the lead again on lap six and punched well behind a piercing left jab. He caught Duran with a good right and left hook in the center of the ring. Although the champion continued to hunt, he landed fewer punches.

Then came the dramatic seventh when Leonard just got up and mocked his husband. He dropped his hands, swayed back and forth, shrugged his shoulders and wiggled his legs.

Duran seemed amused. Leonard produced his most outrageous disrespect by raising his right hand – Ali-Art – and then suddenly slamming his left hand into Duran’s face.

The eighth saw Leonard in control behind a sharp left kick. Duran was still throwing punches; but was caught by a good right hook just before the last change in the middle of the ring, which was interrupted by his sudden decision to give up.



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