On August 26, the Roberto Duran biopic Hands of Stone hits big screens nationwide.
Produced by The Weinstein Company and written and directed by Venezuelan-born Jonathan Jakubowicz, Hands of Stone is told from the perspective of Duran’s trainer, Ray Arcel, played by Academy Award winner Robert De Niro. Arcel was the fight game’s preeminent trainer/philosopher and led 17 boxers to world titles. Training Duran (Edgar Ramirez) came late in Arcel’s life, he was 72 years old, and affected both men deeply.
Hands of Stone covers much of Duran’s life and career but focuses primarily on his three fights with Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond), including their second fight, which took place in November 1980 at the New Orleans Superdome. That fight including the infamous “No mas,” where the 72-1 Duran, boxing’s ultimate warrior, appeared to quit, a charge Duran denies.
(Among the excuses offered at the time was that Duran had a heart condition, to which Arcel responded, “Duran’s got a heart condition? He doesn’t even have a heart.”)
Hands of Stone debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May and the reviews were generally enthusiastic. The Hollywood Reporter praised Ramirez’s performance and writes that the story of his meteoric rise is set against the political situation in Panama concerning the Canal Zone and the presidency of Omar Torrijos.
Duran is a national hero in Panama and the film, while perhaps not up to the lofty standards of Raging Bull, will do nothing to blunt his popularity as it introduces “Manos de Piedra” to a whole new generation of fight fans.
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.