Roberto Durán’s life was a movie before it was made into a movie.
Born Roberto Durán Samaniego in Guararé, Panama, in 1951 and raised in the slums of El Chorilla, he started boxing when he was eight. Known as “Manos de Piedra” (“Hands of Stone”), Durán is one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived.
Durán had his pro debut in 1968 at the Arena de Colon in Colon City, Panama, when he was 16 years old.
He won his first 31 fights, with 27 of those wins coming by way of early stoppage.
On June 26, 1972, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Durán won the WBA World lightweight title by stopping Ken Buchanan in the 13th round.
Durán won titles at welterweight, super welterweight, middleweight, and super middleweight. He is the first Latino to win world titles in five different weight classes.
Durán fought everyone and his wars with Carlos Palomino, Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benitez, Pipino Cuevas, Marvin Hagler, and Thomas Hearns are the stuff of legend.
After 33 years of active duty, Durán retired in 2001 at the age of 50, with an old-school record of 104 wins and 16 losses. Seventy of those wins were by knockout.
That’s the boxing side of the story. But there’s another angle to Roberto Durán, as “Hands of Stone,” the movie of his life makes clear.
Robert De Niro’s latest boxing film has been added to this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, “Hands of Stone” stars Édgar Ramirez as Durán. De Niro plays Durán’s trainer, Ray Arcel. The Weinstein Company releases the film worldwide on August 26. Usher Raymond (as Sugar Ray Leonard), Ana de Armas, Ellen Barkin and John Turturro co-star.
Harvey Weinstein said “Hands Of Stone” was “vintage De Niro. Anyone who knows Bob, knows what a passion he has for boxing and his huge input into this movie made it very realistic and smart.”
A Special Screening will take place on Monday, May 16 in homage to Robert De Niro who will be in attendance.
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.