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Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran Hardcover – January 3, 2007
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A cracking new book recording Duran's glorious career. -- Daily Star
A great achievement. If you buy only one boxing book this year, Hands of Stone should be it. -- Boxing Monthly
A gripping biography. Every page will keep readers enthralled. -- Dublin Evening Herald
An absolute must for all fight fans. -- Liverpool Echo
Duran's 120-bout career is vividly chronicled. -- The Independent on Sunday, Sports Book of the Week
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others, I read a book every other day, but came back and
finished it, as I have a very short list of books I never finished.
It starts out very slowly and sometimes very confusing, and boring.
There were a lot of politics and underhanded dealings that went on, and
some of it was illegal and covered up.
Roberto Duran fans and followers, will already know about those incidents
and understand, that they happened in the first 1/3 of the Duran boxing career.
As for myself, I became a Duran fan after the Ken Buchanan fight, and through
the other 2/3 of his up and down times in and out of the ring.
I watched the 1st Leonard fight on PPV, and cheered as Duran won that fight, in
I also watched the 2nd Leonard fight again on PPV, and wondered what really happened
Duran did not fight or act like a Champion that night.
He allowed Leonard to dictate the fight, as if he were the champ.
Duran did not stand his ground and make Leonard come to him and fight, instead, he
chased Leonard, and allowed the challenger to mock him, until the Un-Duran like ending
came about, with the now infamous words......No Mas.
Duran continued on, and won more titles, and even fought Leonard again, another loss, and
was part of the 4 Kings legend, Duran, Leonard, Hearns and Hagler.
Many of the Champions of the era, ducked Duran, as they fought other beatable fighters
As for outside the ring, Duran went through his millions, twice over, as he partied and gambled
his money away, making him fight well past his prime.
But don't worry, the Hands of Stone, made his mark in the boxing history books, and those of
us, that were lucky enough to get to see him, in his best years, will never forget what he did.
A great book and worth reading.
While these were important parts of the book, the best parts were Guidance's recaps of the two biggest fights of Duran's career - the two against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980 that were both characteristic of the best and the worst of his career. The second one in particular, the famous "no mas" fight, was very well chronicled by Gudiance through other people that were at that fight and offered their own explanations of why Duran suddenly stopped fighting. Many of the well known theories are given by these people, such as stomach cramps and the humiliation he felt during the fight when Leonard changed tactics and was taunting Duran in the ring. Guidance wrote in the introduction that his curiosity about that fight was why he wanted to write the book. He didn't offer his own opinions on the fight - he simply gathered some of the biggest names in all aspects of the sport and recorded their versions of the events. From writers (Bert Sugar) to trainers (Angelo Dundee, who was in Leonard's corner) were included.
The connection Duran felt to his native Panama and the national pride felt whenever he was victorious is also an important part of the book and this was important in how Duran lived outside the ring. He was notorious for not always being in shape until it was close to the date of his next fight - but he would always give everything he had for his country. That is how he is portrayed and is the lasting image I have of him after reading this book.
Did I skim? No
Did I learn something new about the topic? Yes - while I did know about the Panamanian citizens' idolization of Duran, I did not realize how strong a connection he felt toward them. The surprise Duran felt when they turned against him after the loss to Leonard was a great section of the book.
Pace of the book: Excellent
Positives: The research is thorough and detailed, the fights highlighted are well-documented and the reader learns a lot about Panama and its people in the beginning.
Negatives: No glaring weaknesses. Those who read these books just for the recaps of the fights may be disappointed that these don't make up the majority of the book. But while crucial, this is a complete biography of Duran.
Do I recommend? YES - for any boxing fan.
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