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Roberto Duran is unquestionably recognized as one of the greatest fighters of all time. Duran had 119 fights during his career winning 103 and losing only 16 times. A portion of his life is portrayed in the film Hands of Stone featuring the singer Usher - (Jim Accordino photo)

 

 

 

Usher superbly portrays Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran's antagonist in the film Hands of Stone

 

 

 

 

Video Beat - A Film About Former Boxing Great ROBERTO DURAN

James Loving - National Radio Text Service

 

 

The Hands of Stone film was spot on in taking Roberto Duran's 119 fight career to focus on his fights with Sugar Ray Leonard - As much as today's scribes worship Floyd Mayweather a in shape Duran during his prime would have made mincemeat of Mayweather who wouldn't be able to run backwards enough to escape Duran's punishment or his hands of stone

 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

HANDS OF STONE

While channel chasing due to boring programming crammed with films on machines turning into robots and zombies resulted in a film I caught in mid stream about former boxing great Roberto Duran. Duran was known as The Hands of Stone from which the film is titled.

Hands of Stone was a box office loser but since I've been involved with a portion of his career to me it was a box office miss-hit. Released in August 2016 it took in only $5 million at the box office but cost $20 to make. The film premiered at Cannes on May 16, 2016 where it was received with a fifteen-minute standing ovation, and was released on August 26, 2016, by The Weinstein Company (yes the company headed by the sex fiend Harvey Weinstein).

Why the lack of interest or promotion has yet to be revealed as the acting was adequate featuring Usher as Sugar Ray Leonard who was the opponent in three of Durans's greatest encounters. Relatively unknown Édgar Ramírez stared as and turned in a strong performance. Other more recognized actors include Robert De Niro as Duran's manager Ray Arcel as well as Ellen Barkin, Rubén Blades and John Turturro. Usher superbly portrays Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran's antagonist in the film

Duran is unquestionably recognized as one of the greatest fighters of all time. Duran had 119 fights during his career winning 103 and losing only 16 times including twice to Leonard. Durán made his professional boxing debut in 1968 as a 16-year-old and retired in 2001 at age 50.

It's the Leonard fights that the film partially focused on and their stormy relationship as well as Duran's emotional battles and his hatred for America and his fondness for his countries leader.

After his fights through the 70s and 80s, rising through the divisions with phenomenal success (just one loss) he challenged Sugar Ray Leonard, dubbed as the "Fighter of the Year." However, Durán was disrespectful of Leonard, describing him as a "clown" and confidently predicted a knock out win for himself.

One night, Durán confronted Leonard in front of his wife and insulted him by calling him a "homosexual." The incident frustrated Leonard. Durán's hard feelings for Leonard, on the other hand seemed to stem from his resentment of Americans in general, because he recalled the ill-treatment meted out by the Americans to his nation of Panama, remembering how American troops took over the country by owning the Panama Canal - leading to conflict between the sides in 1964.

In June 1980, the day of fight between Durán and Leonard in which the venue is in Montreal, Durán won via Unanimous decision as a Welterweight Champion (148-147, 145-144, 146-144). After the fight, Leonard stated that being insulted is a strategy and called for a rematch with an $8 million purse.

In November 1980, Durán and Leonard faced in the ring for the second time, this time the venue was in New Orleans. But in the eighth round, the people of Panama were shocked when Durán gives up by saying "No más" (English: "No more") to the referee, thus Leonard wins via technical knockout (68-66, 68-66, and 67-66). It was the words NO MAS that rang out for ears throughout the boxing world.

In June 1983, New York City, the day of his fight against Davey Moore, Leonard gratefully met Durán for the first time since the rematch, saying that he forgave Durán. Duran told Leonard to give his apology to his wife. At the fight with Moore up to the eighth round, Leonard was the commentator, Durán won via technical knockout, eventually restoring his popularity and pride by the people of Panama.

The film was spot on in taking Duran's 119 fight career to focus on his fights with Leonard. It is revealing in exposing Duran's hatreds and temper. He was one of my favorite fighters. He wasn't a boxer he was a brawler with a killer instinct.

As much as today's scribes worship Floyd Mayweather a in shape Duran during his prime would have made mincemeat of Mayweather who wouldn't be able to run backwards enough to escape Duran's punishment or his hands of stone.

Other than having been a Duran fan my related experience with Duran was when I worked with Select TV a Pay Per View television company. We televised both fights in the Los Angeles USA area. The fight was so popular that the company held a fight party for the employees furnishing food and drink.

When I got involved in producing sports features for radio I interviewed Leonard in Las Vegas in 1990. He was a great guy and extremely cooperative as well as being a good interview. As a chauffeur I drove Leonard's then wife.

The bottom line is Hands of Stone is a great film for sports fans, or fans of Usher and those interested in human interest stories as Duran's emotional problems were solved in part with Leonard's kindness and forgiveness. Leonard's boxing skill taught Duran a lesson and earned Duran's respect.


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