'Hands of Stone' Roberto Duran hands out lessons to young Belfast fighters

RING legend Roberto Duran told young fighters at Glengormley ABC never to forget their education when he arrived for a visit yesterday.

“If you lose your first three fights, go and become a doctor,” advised ‘Hands of Stone’ who was in Belfast yesterday for a one-off visit. Fight fans got the chance to meet the Panamanian former world champion at last night’s ‘Evening with Roberto Duran’ at the Europa Hotel.

Duran rose from poverty in Panama City to win world titles at lightweight, welterweight, super-welterweight and middleweight over a career that spanned five decades between 1968 and 2001.

He finished with 103 wins (70 by knockout) before he retired aged 50 and his macho style made him a favourite with the fans and he was involved in some of the sports’ most famous tear-ups against the likes of ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns.

Duran was the first man to beat Leonard who gained revenge in their subsequent two meetings, the first of which was the infamous ‘No Mas’ (no more) fight when Duran, the man of steel, quit midway through the eighth round.

There were other defeats, but Hall of Famer Duran will always be remembered as a fearless fighting man and a boxer from the top drawer who traded punches with the best throughout his career.