History | Mar 02 2019

On This Day: Roberto Duran mauls Ray Lampkin to retain lightweight crown

Roberto Duran rarely looked fiercer than when he hospitalised Lampkin, writes Sean Ellis
roberto duran
Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports

1. AT 23 years of age, contesting his 50th professional bout, Roberto Duran met Ray Lampkin in his country’s capital, Panama City in 1975. The fight marked Duran’s sixth defence of his WBA lightweight title, and he entered the match-up in fine form, having demolished his previous three opponents in the first round.

2. RAY LAMPKIN was no stranger to the big occasion, nor to entering the lion’s den. Two years prior he had travelled to Puerto Rico to face the fearsome Esteban De Jesus [a man who had beaten Duran] – losing a unanimous decision. But in the time that followed, Lampkin had complied a string of impressive wins, picking up the NABF lightweight title along the way. He entered the bout with Duran a worthy opponent.

3. IT was the Oregon man who started the more promising of the two. Lampkin stayed at range, picking careful shots as he manoeuvred the canvas, but also showed that he was happy to stand and exchange with Duran. In the second stanza, ‘Lightning Lampkin’ even got the better of the champion, as he directed right hands into the Panamanian’s ribs.


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