Durán rose from poverty to become a famed professional boxer. Known for his punching power, he won world championships in four weight classes, though his reputation took a hit with his no más loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980. Durán retired from boxing in 2002, and was elected to the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006 and ’07, respectively. Roberto Durán Samaniego was born on June 16, 1951 in the slums of El Chorrillo, Panama. His father, Margarito, a Mexican immigrant serving in the U.S. Army, was transferred to Arkansas when Durán was a young boy. Growing up in poverty, Durán hustled for money by shining shoes, selling newspapers and dancing on the streets. He learned to box at the Neco de La Guardia Gym, and turned pro at the age of 16.
Lean and hungry, Durán powered his way up the rankings as a young fighter. On June 26, 1972, he scored a 13-round TKO of Scotsman Ken Buchanan to clam the WBA Lightweight Championship. He suffered his first loss against 31 wins in a non-title light welterweight fight against Esteban De Jesús later that year, then rang up another incredible streak of 41 consecutive victories. In those days, Durán combined impressive speed with a fearsome tenacity and powerful punches that earned him the nickname Manos de Piedra (Hands of Stone). After defeating De Jesús to add the WBC Lightweight Title to his collection, Durán abdicated his belts in February 1979 to move up to the welterweight class.
The pinnacle of his career came on June 20, 1980, the “Brawl in Montreal” at Olympic Stadium. Facing the undefeated Sugar Ray Leonard, Durán battered the former Olympic gold medalist over 12 rounds to win the WBC Welterweight Championship. Their rematch on Nov. 25, at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, ended in bizarre fashion; the normally relentless Durán refused to answer the bell in the eighth round, allowing Leonard to regain his title.
The enduring legend is that Durán begged out of the fight by repeating “no más” (no more), though the boxer insists he never said those words. Durán moved up another weight class, and on June 16, 1983—his 32nd birthday—he stopped Davey Moore in eight rounds to win the WBA Light Middleweight Championship. But he surrendered the title in a brutal slugfest with Marvin Hagler in his first defense that November, and endured a second-round knockout at the hands of Thomas ‘The Hitman‘ Hearns the following summer. Durán returned to prominence after adding weight yet again, outlasting Iran Barkley in 12 rounds to win the WBC Middleweight Title on February 24, 1989. He lost a second time to Sugar Ray Leonard in a match for the WBC Super Middleweight title later that year, and remained a game, yet diminished contender over the next decade.
At age 49, Durán won a 12-round decision over Pat Lawlor to claim the Super Middleweight Title from the fringe NBA Organization. He lost the belt to Héctor Camacho on July 14, 2001, in what turned out to be his final fight. Durán suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung in a car accident later that year, and officially retired in January 2002 with a career record of 103-16-0 and 70 knockouts. One of the few boxers to win sanctioned championships in four weight classes and compete professionally across five decades, he is considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time.
To book Roberto Duran as the boxing speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.
When at corporate events, Roberto is known to cover the following topics:
- Sporting Success
- Drive & Determination
- Peak Performance
- Boxing Hall of Fame
- Overcoming Adversity
- Boxing Tactics