More than 35 years after saying no mas, Roberto Duran says uno mas.
Hands of Stone faces off with Julio Cesar Chavez on July 19 in Las Vegas. Fans merely need a ticket, not a time machine, to attend.
The pair boast 119 years and 234 fights between them. There’s not a belt between super featherweight and middleweight that they did not collect. Now they fight to prove that there’s no check they will not collect, either.
To put this prize-fight in perspective, Duran first competed professionally before Woodstock and the “White Album.” His last significant win, when he shocked critics dismissing him as over-the-hill, came almost nine months prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. That concrete monstrosity is now rubble. Hands of Stone remains.
When Mexico’s favorite fighter debuted, Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You” topped Billboard’s Hot 100, a movie called Fatso starring Dom DeLuise reigned at the box office, and Iranians held more than sixty Americans captive in Tehran. The young buck (Oscar De La Hoya) who exposed Julio Cesar Chavez as an aging, past-his-prime pugilist in 1996 retired seven years ago. The guy (Manny Pacquiao) who exposed De La Hoya as an aging, past-his-prime pugilist retired this past weekend.
In defense of this indefensible spectacle attracting the eyes above the mouths denouncing it, the match takes place as an exhibition. The fighters will wear headgear and 16-ounce gym gloves. It will last, if the fighters do, two rounds. Presumably, the master showmen will inject some WWE showmanship into the bout by pulling punches.
Why does Bob Arum foist this on the public?
1. Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol can’t carry a pay-per view. 2. The Royce Gracie-Ken Shamrock MMA bout did gangbusters ratings. 3. The fading octogenarian promoter must get creative after losing Pacquiao to retirement and losing to Al Haymon as he once lost to Don King. 4. Arum seeks to own, as his No Trump Undercard on Saturday indicates, the Hispanic market. 5. Nothing in that syphilis-ridden atheist Marquess of Queensberry’s rules says anything about age limits.
“I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Arum confesses to reporters. “It’s fun, which is what it’s supposed to be. We’ll have a good card and this will be an added bonus and we’ll have fun. We’ll pay tribute to the two greatest Hispanic fighters.”
Can’t you do this with a highlight reel on the Jumbotron?