ROBERTO DURAN is a sporting legend. Often called the greatest boxer of all time, he held world titles at four different weights and is the only professional in history to have fought in five different decades. His bouts with fellow greats like Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler have gone down in fistic folklore and his pro record of 104 wins (69 by KO) in 120 fights puts him in an elite group of fighters. They call him Manos de Piedra: “Hands of Stone”.
Now American journalist Christian Guidice has written the first – and definitive – story of Duran’s extraordinary life both in and out of the ring. He has interviewed the fighter himself, his family and closest friends and scores of his opponents to separate truth from myth and get to the heart of one of the most intriguing sports stars of modern times.
Duran was born in utter poverty in the Panama Canal Zone, the illegitimate son of a serving US soldier and a local girl. He grew up in the streets, fighting to survive. His talent with his fists was soon apparent, and on one fabled occasion he even knocked down a horse with a single punch for a bet. He grew into a fighter’s fighter, and his willingness to take on anyone, anywhere, anytime and never take a step back made him a huge favorite.
From his wild early bouts to his stunning boxing debut in New York, Giudice traces the blazing trail of his career: the controversial title win over Scot Ken Buchanan; his unification of the lightweight crown against great rival Esteban DeJesus; his glorious defeat of Ray Leonard and the subsequent debacle of the No Más encounter; his ferocious comeback and redemption, and the long, eventful twilight of his matchless career. Here also are both the public and private sides of Duran: his volatility, his kindness and reckless generosity, his partying, his links with the notorious regime of General Noriega, and above all his chilling love of battle.