Friday, Jul. 24, 2009

Roberto Duran

A professional boxer since the age of 16, Roberto Duran was a hero in his native Panama. By 1975, at age 24, he was making enough money to live in the same neighborhood as the country's President. A four-time world champion, he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007 for a career that would ultimately span five decades. Unfortunately, the single act he's most remembered for is walking out during a fight. In the eighth round of a 1980 bout in New Orleans' Superdome against Sugar Ray Leonard — a fighter he had beat earlier that year to win the World Boxing Council's welterweight champion title — Duran abruptly left the ring, uttering the infamous words "No más ... no peleo más" (No more ... I don't box anymore). He had spent months overindulging after his last bout and had been forced to rapidly lose weight for the fight; after the weigh-in, he reportedly gorged himself on steaks and juice and had severe stomach cramps as a result. When he returned to Panama, he was harassed and called names and spent months hiding out.