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June 15, 1984 - Image 15

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1984-06-15

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, June 15, 1984- Page 15
WANTS HEARNS' TITLE
No more disgrace or Duran

J UST THREE and a half years ago it
looked like Roberto Duran was
finished as a boxer. Less than two years
ago he was little more than a pitiful has-
been, struggling to keep a once-great
career alive. Duran's manager, his
promoter - virtually everyone who had
once been firmly in his corner, told him
to give it up. Everyone, that is, but his
ex-promoter Luis Spada.
When Duran beckoned for help in
September of 1982, Spada answered the
call and agreed to train the man they
call Manos de Piedra. Spada helped
Duran get off the scrapheap and back
on his feet.
TONIGHT IN Las Vegas the reborn
Roberto Duran faces Detroit's Thomas
Hearns in 19-rnnnd hattla far Near-

RaisingIl el
By PAUL HELGREN

ns' WBC Super Welterweight (154
pounds) title. It has been an unlikely
comeback from the days of no mas, no
mas.
In a sense Duran fights to erase the
legacy of those two words. The date was
November 25, 1980. In one of the most
astounding occurances in the history of
professional boxing, Duran walked
away from Sugar Ray Leonard in the
8th round of their ballyhooed rematch,

mumbling the now-infamous syllables
that would become his scarlet letter.
No mas. No more. Duran would have
no more of the fight, no more of
Leonard and it appeared no more of
boxing.
DURAN LOST the WBC World
Welterweight title that night in New
Orleans, but he also lost much, much
more. Taken, too, was his pride, a
devastating loss to a Panamanian
brought up in the Latin tradition of
machimo. Whispers of Maricon
(homosexual) haunted Duran upon his
return to his native land. So deep was
his disgrace that longtime manager
Carlos Eleta abandoned Duran and
urged him to retire. One by one others
in the Duran bandwagon followed.
A lesser man might have seen the
writing on the wall. But not Duran. He
had too much pride to end his career on
such a sour note. So the comeback
began.
Initially it looked like Duran's critics
were right. His return to the ring looked
like a pathetic remake of that great old
boxing movie, Requiem For a
Heavyweight. Moving up a weight class
he was flabby and sluggish. In the four
fights following the New Orleans fiasco,
Duran went 2-2, including a 10-round
loss-by-decision to unheralded Kirkland
Laing.
THAT'S WHERE Spada entered the
picture. It wasn't long before things
atarted changing.
Spada worked Duran hard, trying to
whip him into the rock of a man he once
was.

"I told him I am not a magician who
can change him," Spada told the
Associated Press. "He was the only one
who can do that. He promised to work
hard. I told him if he did not, I would
quit. I was not going to waste my time."
MAGIC TOUCH or no, Duran respon-
ded to the Argentinian's training
methods and slowly got back into top
shape. After warm up victories with
Jimmy Batten and former WBA
welterweight champ Pipino Cuevas,
Duran was ready. On June 16, 1983
Duran met and knocked out WBA
Junior Middleweight champion Davey
Moore. Manos de Piedra was back.
With his good reputation returned,
Duran earned boxing's most unen-
viable reward - a fight with Marvelous
Marvin Hagler.
Though many observers thought
Duran would be lucky to escape with his
life, the 32-year-old veteran went the
distance in a relatively close fight. The
loss was anything but a shame for
Duran. In fact, he was impressive
enough to earn another shot against
one of the world's best - Thomas
Hearns. Should the Guarare, Panama
native pull off the upset and take
Hearns' title, he would become the first
man to accumulate four titles in his
career. It would probably earn him a,
rematch with Hagler, too.
The odds are heavily stacked again-
st Duran (Jimmy the Greek says 13-5 in
favor of Hearns). Hearns has all the
physical advantages - he is seven
years younger, he stands five-and-a-half
inches taller, and he has 11 inches more
in reach. But Duran has the experience
of 81 fights behind him. He also has the
psychological edge of being a legend
aearching for a place in hiatory.
That may not be enought to stop the
"hit-man," but one thing is certain
We will never hear the words "no mas"
pass the lips of Roberto Duran again.

Hearns vs Duran
When: Approximatelylo:3 p.m. tonight (E.D.T.).
Where: Caesar's Palace, Las vegas.
Local: Michigan Theater, closed-circuit. Tickets $35 and $25.
The Records:
Thomas Hearns ...... .38-1 (32 knockouts).
* RobertsDans......76-5(57 knockouts).
The Odds: Hearns favored 13-5, according to Jimmy
the Greek.
The Tape:
Hearns Duran
25 AGE 32
154 WEIGHT 154
61" HEIGHT 57'
70' REACH 07"

I
j

Roberto Duran, who turns 33 on Saturday, goes after his fourth title tonight
against Detroit's Thomas Hearns. "Hands of Stone" is 5-0 in June fights, in-
cluding wins over Ray Leonard, Carlos Palomino and Davey Moore.

0

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