“Sugar Ray” Robinson
STORY OF RAY ROBINSON, ROBERTO DURAN & TOMMY HEARNS!
Las Vegas, NV- Having been a part of the game for longer than most of you have been alive, suffice to say that I have probably seen a bit more than you when it comes to professional prizefighting. Definitely not intending to slight anybody, I say this to you because of all the talk of late about the ultimate exclamation point in boxing, you know the knockout!
BACK THEN OLD ALADDIN HOTEL WAS HOME
But IN ORDER to the fight and the greatest punch I’ve ever seen connect, I’ll have to take you back to June 1984, Lenny “El Animal” Albert and I just checked into the Aladdin Hotel for Tommy Hearns-Roberto Duran. Renting a car, one that we wouldn’t use until we left for the airport three days later, I left it with the Valet. Getting a claim ticket, I inadvertently took the keys to the car with me. The car became a permanent fixture right in front of the hotel as we used a side door that was closer to Caesars Palace, the site of most of the great fights during boxing’s golden era.
HAD PEOPLE IN BOTH TRAINING CAMPS
With a Roberto Duran connection being his future co-manager Hector Martinez, and my knowing the Kronk Gym’s icon Emanuel Steward, I would try and get the inside scuttlebutt from both camps as they prepared to fight for the lineal World jr. middleweight (154 lbs.) championship Duran, the ex-lightweight (135) and welterweight (147) champion, although he had lost his last fight, a UD 15 to Marvin Hagler in November 1983, a blowout on paper turned into a competitive fight as Hagler was at times, schooled by the 32-year old Duran.
PEOPLE WERE SAYING DURAN WAS BEYOND DONE
After losing to Kirkland Laing on ESPN in 1981, Duran looked fat and slow over ten dreary rounds. His next significant outing was a January 1983 KO 4 of Mexico’s Pipino Cuevas, himself a former WBA (147) titleholder that had amassed seven defenses. A few weeks before Duran smoked Cuevas, Tony Ayala, then the #1 WBA 154 lb. contender was arrested for raping his neighbor New Years Eve 1983. With the win, although only seen on Closed Circuit TV with Jerry Quarry, the ex-heavyweight contender doing the commentary on the broadcast emanating from the L.A. Sports Arena, Roberto Duran was back! Read more