On This Day: After being conned by his manager Roberto Duran turns in the performance of his life to defeat Esteban DeJesus


Roberto Duran
Roberto Duran made to train extra hard for rubber match with old rival

January 21, 1978; Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
ROBERTO DURAN is widely regarded as the greatest of all lightweights therefore this bedazzling beatdown of old nemesis Esteban DeJesus in their rubber match might just be the best ever lightweight performance. “Patience will win the fight,” Duran’s trainer Ray Arcel told him before the fight. And so it proved. Duran remained calm throughout the bad-tempered weigh-in and in the early going when DeJesus threatened with the hook that had dropped Duran in both of their previous meetings. Even when he hurt DeJesus early on, Duran refused to lose his cool. By the fifth, DeJesus was bleeding from the mouth. Still Duran remained patient, expertly hacking to his rival’s midsection until – in the 12th – he picked the opportune moment to let rip. A right to the jaw dropped DeJesus before a seven-punch flurry ended the fight.      

Even at this point of his career, it was difficult to get Duran to train for long periods of time so his manager, Carlos Eleta, told Duran he had a warm-up fight in Panama. There was of course no warm-up bout but, thanks to the fib, Eleta managed to get an extra four weeks’ work out of his charge.

WATCH OUT FOR: Roberto Duran at his amazing peak.

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