To continue my exploration of the great Roberto Duran, this time around I decided to watch his fight with Junior Middleweight champion, Davey Moore. Inexperienced and relatively easy to hit, Moore was still heavily favored due to size and Duran's recent performances being less than impressive. Very interesting that despite the fight taking place in effectively Moore's hometown, Duran actually had more support. The same thing happened to Moore's friend, Iran Barkley, in '89, when he faced off against the same man.
In any event, the fight was an absolute war for as long as it lasted, but not in the same vein as a Barrera vs. Morales or even a Hagler vs. Hearns. This was a relatively one sided affair, with Duran landing hard shots, and laughing off everything Moore seemed to land. When you consider Duran had started off at 135lbs, and Moore had pretty good power as a 154lbs fighter, this came as a big surprise to many people. I was shocked at how quickly Moore's face was busted up. After only three rounds, he looked like he had gone 12 rounds with a truck. His right eye was virtually closed.
Well, the majority of critics before the fight felt Moore would win the fight, and the referee gave Moore every opportunity to prove them right. He should have stopped the fight way before he did, as Moore was taking horrendous punishment on the ropes, and Duran seemed to be enjoying every minute of the brutality. Whether Moore's inexperience was a factor, or Duran just hit too hard, it was evident that Duran was back! The referee waved it off mercifully, and Duran was now a three weight world champion.
I think Duran, among other things, showed he was a tremendous combination puncher in this fight. He'd mix it up to body and head, and Moore was really struggling. He'd come back with single shots on occasion, but Duran, with his amazing punch resistance, literally laughed them off at one point in the fight. I felt sorry for Moore, he had to much heart to give up, but Duran was beating the living shit into him for the last 2-3 rounds. Not an outrageously overdue stoppage, but the number one priority is the safety of the fighter - and it was apparent way before the stoppage that Moore was finished. Done.
It was interesting because the version I watched the telecast ended with two announcers looking back on the fight. It must have been aired before the Barkley fight because they were explaining how, "This was to be the last time in the sun light for Duran, as he'd go on to lose to Hagler and Hearns". I think it aired late 80s, sometime before 89 because Al Bernstein looked relatively young. Duran would continue to defy the odds.