THE new autobiography of Roberto Duran, ‘I am Duran’, is a must-read for boxing fans. The story of Duran’s fabled career might be well known but here for the first time he recalls those legendary fights in his own, with highlights like his approach to his first fight with Sugar Ray Leonard and his account of the infamous ‘no mas’ return.
The book is also unexpectedly revealing of Duran’s personal life, his childhood on the streets of Panama and throughout its pages pulses with the kind of thirst for fighting and thirst for good living that perhaps only Duran could muster.
It’s hard to imagine anyone else being flown to Cuba to watch Teofilo Stevenson box and sat next to Fidel Castro, only to then turn to Castro to tell The Comandante that Muhammad Ali “kills Stevenson”. Indeed perhaps only this book could start with Robert Duran, after recounting how he briefly died, declaring: “When I retired I would gladly have beaten the crap out of all the deadbeats in the sport. The same goes with the boxers today: Pacquiao, Mayweather – they’re pitiful. I could have beaten them all.
“People rate me as the greatest lightweight of all time. And why not? I think I am.”
‘I am Duran’ is out now, published by Macmillan.