Paul Daley: This week’s fantasy fight was my pick, one which always peaked my interest and got my attention. Whilst most were talking about what would have happened between Ali vs Tyson I found myself lost in thought on the outcomes of Chavez v Duran.
Two fighters that changed the face of boxing, both legends of the sport where a fight between the two would have been a combustion of heart and grit with more than a few welts, bruising and enough blood to fill a donor truck.
There are signs in train stations all over the world with the lettering “STAY OFF THE TRACKS” which is how more than a few opponents must have felt whilst sharing the ring with Julio Cesar Chavez, like a locomotive Chavez would continue forward eyes only on his destination whilst opponents often found themselves under the wheels, broken both mentally and physically.
Ending his career with a professional record of 115-6-2 (86) Chavez is considered one of Mexico’s greatest ever fighters in a career that yielded 6 world titles in three weight divisions, at his prime he was almost unbeatable but how would he have coped against a fighter who could match him for relentlessness in Duran?
Roberto Duran aka “Manos de Piedra” or if your Spanish is a little Rusty “Hands of Stone” in a boxing ring was savagery, mimicking that of a hungry lion hunting its prey, stalking until the time is right to land his shots which often meant it was lights out for that individual. Duran the man and Duran the fighter were two totally different people, outside a boxing ring he was always cracking jokes, helping the poor with a smile from ear to ear, in a boxing ring he was a dark, soulless person with an appetite for destruction.
“He had a ferocious attitude and mentality,” St. Paul boxing historian George Blair said. “He didn’t care if he hurt an opponent. That’s why he was a great fighter. He was a lot like the early Mike Tyson, at least in the ring.”
Like Chavez he too spanned weight classes winning titles in four divisions whilst holding a record at the time of his retirement of 104-16-0 (69). The late great boxing historian Bert Sugar named Duran as his #8 greatest fighter of all time
There is a common saying in boxing that “Styles make Fights” which is what we would see by pitting these two men together, ultimately there is no wrong answer to give.
I’ve played this fight over in my head many times in the past, sometimes Duran takes Chavez out with one of his overhand rights while other times Chavez has stopped Duran with an accumulation of body shots.
If pushed to make a decision which I am now I would see the fight starting with Duran taking a lead on the judge’s scorecards using his brawling tactics to win some close rounds, Chavez closes the gap throughout the middle rounds as Duran starts to feel the pace of the fight where Chavez body punching starts to slow the challenge of Duran. As the fight enters the championship rounds I believe the fight will still be there to be won for either man but Chavez still looking to grind out the result doesn’t see that Duran has changed tactics where he is now boxing from the outside, stepping around Julio. The klaxon sounds to signal the ten second mark where both men, go head to head as both are wobbled in an exhilarating classic between two hardened warriors, the silence is deafening as the announcer reads out the scores and your winner by split decision is………….Roberto “Manos De Piedras” Duran
Jamie Bourne: Roberto Duran against Julio Cesar Chavez would have been a great fight at lightweight however in my opinion Chavez was slightly overrated and wasn’t as good as Duran.
He is a Mexican great and he was a fantastic fighter but I think Duran was one level above JCC and he would have beaten him quite convincingly over 15 rounds. Julio would have given it his best shot, but ‘Hands of Stone’ would have been too powerful and too tough – Roberto Duran wins by 15 round unanimous decision.
Tim Ellis: The first thing that comes to mind is what an all out war this would of been. Duran at his best was an absolute beast just ask Ray Leonard. Chavez is the best and most famous Mexican fighter of all time. I’d pick Duran against any man ever created at lightweight, but as he went up in weight it got harder. In my opinion there’s only a handful that could of possibly beaten him around the welterweight limit when he was at his best. He was as tough as they come. Obviously Chavez would give Duran everything he could handle but in my opinion Roberto Duran would be to much for him winning by a UD – Duran by Decision
Number2Snake: Few names exemplify machismo in boxing more then the two men whose names crossed the fantasy fight list for this week. Top Class has really out did itself this week, I am thankful, I am alive! Never in all the boxing conversations; never in all the fantasy bouts discussions I, or have had a friend or colleague dream up. Not in any of the seven seas has anyone ever posed me such a memorable question. Who would win in a fight between Roberto Duran against Julio Cesar Chavez.
It’s the immovable object against the unstoppable force!! These two men epitomise of what a boxer is, or should be. I don’t have to go into detail about either champion they are both very well known. Arguably the two best known Latinos the Americas has ever produced. So what would happen if Mexico’s pride and joy ever faced Manos de Piedra in the ring?
I’m almost certain that this fight would not go the distance. Duran was dangerous in any round and Chavez would wear an opponent down in later rounds. The first two rounds would be Duran’s.
Duran easily outworking Chavez mixing a fine jab, with vicious combinations. Then Chavez unexpectedly takes the third round by force, he now begins timing Duran, waiting for Duran to throw his combination but landing body punches with more frequency. Now in the fourth Duran begins to head hunt, jabbing at will and throwing his right hand with bad intentions. Duran lands a crushing right hand, that sends Chavez reeling towards the ropes, but survives the end of the fourth round. Chavez picks it up in the fifth round nearly doubling his work rate. Duran landed a perfect counter, which seemed not to affect Chavez at all. More of the same action in round six Chavez throwing freely, Duran timing but not stopping Chavez’ momentum. In round seven Duran answers the bell immediately rushing Chavez and throwing him off for a moment. They meet in the ring for what may be the most violent round in boxing history. Duran yells something at Chavez, Chavez responds with a punch to the body then goes upstairs, Duran counters then all hell breaks loose for the remaining of the seventh round, even calling for members of both camps to enter the ring after the bell to separate the fighters from one another. Both yelling obscenities at each other as they are broken apart.. Duran smiles as he walks to his corner, he now knows he has his man. Chavez is a humble man, never known for his temper or outbursts. Duran on the other hand loved chaos, in fact thrived on it. By angering Chavez he knew it was close to over. Round eight was a blood bath Duran getting in Chavez’ face, they but-heads. Duran is unaffected, but Chavez is cut over his right brow and it’s a bleeder. Chavez rallies sensing the fight slipping from him, takes the round by force. The ninth round started out uneventful, as if both fighter reset. Duran a bit roughed up his left eye bruised and mouth bloodied, opens up. Tagging Chavez with a beautiful combination ending it with a right uppercut. Chavez legs wobble, Duran jumps on his man the ref has to almost pry Duran off of Chavez as he crumples to the mat. Chavez gets up and leaves the ring, saying I will say no words until the rematch, rejecting any chance of an interview – Duran Stoppage in the 9th
Steve Haigh: A fight for the ages this would be, how do you stop Chavez coming forward? Answer is you cant he was a bull of a man, who doesn’t get knocked out and eventually wears you down.
Makes for a very difficult fight,even for the legendary Roberto Duran, both have the Latino machismo character,reluctancy to swallow pride but for me id say either Roberto gets smart and goes on the back foot realizing Julio is a brick wall he cant break down or eventually gets broken himself by head and body combinations, you never write a fighter like him off though. Duran’s fighting brain/ring intelligence and experience won him titles at heavier weights even at super middleweight but don’t believe Roberto can keep him off at 135lb or 140lb.id go the Mexican great by very late stoppage, round 10 – 12 maybe by a livershot ? – Chavez by Stoppage
Lee Thornton: This weeks fantasy fight is an absolute classic. The great Roberto Duran vs Julio Cesar Chavez another legend, if this fight ever had happened it would go down as one of the best in the history of boxing.
Roberto Duran brings vicious power in both hands he could also pressure fighters and could slip punches and was an effective counter puncher. Julio would break down opponents, he had a legendary chin and was an amazing body puncher. This is such a tough fight to call I would give an edge to Duran in power other then that both very evenly matched. I see these guys getting into many great exchanges during this fight with Chavez getting in the better body shots during the inside fighting . I see Duran starting to tag Chavez while he is trying to back down Duran into the ropes and both have great exchanges throughout the fight, I think Duran had a slight advantage in overall skills. It would have been amazing to see how both of these guys who are used to overwhelming their opponents deal with each other coming at one another. Duran has the edge in defense which is why I am going to pick him – Roberto Duran by very close decision .