On June 16, 1951, 64 years ago today, Roberto Durán Samaniego was born in Guararé, Panama. Known as “Manos de Piedra” (“Hands of Stone”), Roberto Durán is one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived. In honor of this happy occasion, his WBA family wishes him a happy birthday at the same time we celebrate his amazing achievements in and out of the ring.
Raised in the slums of El Chorrillo in the “La Casa de Piedra” district of Panama City, Durán was fighting from the moment he opened his eyes. He began boxing at the Neco de La Guardia gymnasium at the tender age of eight and had his professional debut in 1968 at the Arena de Colon in Colon City, Panama, when he was 16 years old.
Durán won his first 31 fights, with 27 of those wins coming via early stoppage knockout.
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. Five months later, Durán suffered his first loss, to Esteban De Jesus, a loss avenged a year and a half later, in the midst of another win streak of 40 fights that lasted eight years.
Durán continued to fight and continued to win titles, at welterweight, super welterweight, middleweight, and super middleweight, becoming the first Latino to win world titles in five different weight classes.
A legend, not only in his own time but for all time, Durán fought everyone there was to fight and his wars with Carlos Palomino, Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benitez, Pipino Cuevas, Marvin Hagler, and Thomas Hearns, among others, are an indelible part of boxing lore.
After 33 years of active duty, Durán retired in 2001, at the age of 50, with a record of 104 wins and 16 losses, with 70 of those wins coming by way of knockout.
To the man who brought pride to both the fight game and Panama, we have just two little words for this fistic giant.