“I cannot let them down. I owe myself to them.” [the Panamanian people]
Roberto Duran used to say that getting hit motivated him because a true fighter takes a punch and hits back with three. In the ring, as in his life, Duran indeed took a lot of hard hits. Born and raised in El Chorrillo, one of Panama’s most notoriously impoverished barrios, Duran was molded from an early age to be tough and to fight for everything that mattered in his survival.
Yet while the neighborhood hardened his exterior, it also instilled in Duran a deep sense of family, national pride, and commitment to the Panamanian people that uniquely characterized his five decades as a professional boxer. In fact, at times it was hard to distinguish what meant more to Duran: Winning a boxing title or winning the hearts of his countrymen back home so that he could return to the neighborhood with his head held high, knowing he made them proud.
We celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in honor of Duran, who carried the hopes and dreams of the Panamanian people into the ring from 1968 to 2001 and emerged winning world championships in four weight classes: lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight, and middleweight and reigning as the undisputed and lineal lightweight and lineal welterweight champion.
Officially licensed by Roberto Duran.
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