If anyone is interested in the entire interview, you can read and/or listen here:
It basically revolves around the theme of famous rivalries, with Pac-JMM 4 just a few days away.
Here's the whole segment on Duran in particular:
Now the one guy, Duran, he was naturally the smallest guy of the bunch there. But in many ways it seems to me that fans of boxing consider his victory over Ray Leonard, when he had jumped up from lightweight to welterweight pretty much—a lot of fans consider that the most significant victory of any of the clashes between those four great fighters, and I’m wondering if you see it that way and if at the time that fight happened you were surprised that Duran had beaten Leonard?
I was relatively young. I think I was about, man I must have been 13 I think, but I was a deep, deep boxing fan. So I was definitely surprised that Duran won because he came up in weight, and Ray was the superstar at the time. But Duran is a special fighter. He did so many things in there, and I think Duran actually doesn’t get the credit he deserves in the respect that people hear his name, and you see things like they describe him as “an animal”, as “vicious”, as “a terror”, “a mean guy”, “a hard puncher”, all those things, but if you really watch him, I mean this guy was very, very smart. He’s a true boxer. People think a boxer has to get on his toes and circle the ring laterally constantly to be called ‘a boxer’, but a boxer should be able to box in a ring the size of a phone booth and still be able to not get hit, and that’s the thing. I think Duran was a master at that. He certainly surprised Hagler when they fought, and I think he really surprised Ray the first time. I think he was a lot smarter than people give him credit for, and definitely that’s what won him the fight with Barkley, which was his boxing skills and his technique, which is underrated. That’s how he was able to beat a much bigger and a much stronger guy in Barkley.
Now when you consider their rematch and the way their first fight went down, the rematch with the famous ‘no mas’, were you surprised at how Ray was able to reverse the outcome and do so in such decisive fashion when those two met for the second time?
Well you know I think to be very fair to Duran, I think that history has kind of altered the perception of the overview of that fight. People think of the ending and they think that Ray was trouncing him the whole way, but the fact of the matter is that up until that round that was a very close fight. That was no one-sided blowout by any stretch. I thought for the first five or six rounds, I thought it was a very close fight, and a good fight, and a competitive fight. Then I believe that Ray just totally frustrated Duran and confused him, and I think it was literally just a thing where it built up over the course of a round, maybe two and a half minutes, and Dura was just getting madder, and madder, and madder, and he just self-imploded. I am sure if he could, he would go back and not quit and not stop the fight. But I think Ray performed, and the funny thing is and it’s weird, because I was just thinking about this a couple of hours ago, about this moment. The thing that set the tone for me was before the fight in the ring when Ray Charles sang “American the Beautiful”, and it was almost like a choreographed music video the way they did it. It’s on YouTube; anybody could watch it, and anyone who saw it would never forget it. Ray Charles was in the foreground singing “American the Beautiful”, and in the background, bouncing up and down, was Ray Leonard. Again, it was like a music video. It was like they choreographed it to be that way, and they didn’t. It was just a spur of the moment thing. I think as spooky as it might be, like just watching that at that moment, I think a lot of people figured Ray Leonard was going to win. Just by seeing that scene, it just seemed so fitting and perfect, and it was like it set the stage for the night and that’s the way it went down.