Originally Posted by Stonehands89
Interesting, Duo. Had Duran beat Leonard in the return, then went on to beat Hagler and Hearns he would take the #1 spot. I heartily agree but now that fantasy time is over, isn't that asking too much of any mortal?
Let's explore something:
if Duran stepped up from the LWs in the mid sixties and fought in '67-69 against Curtis Cokes at WW and then stepped up to beat Freddie Little at Jr. Middle, and Benvenuti at MW, would he be touted as greater than SRR? Should he be?
Wow, good question! Naturally, this brings to mind the fact that Henry Armstrong went from Featherweight Champion, to drawing for the MW Title against an opponent he'd previously defeated in defending the WW Title. (Imagine Danny Lopez drawing with Carlos Monzon for the MW Title, after first decisioning Monzon in a previous encounter.) I think much of SRR's P4P reputation is rooted in Armstrong's gushing praise of Robby after their 1943 ten rounder. (Just think. Robby went from WW II to Vietnam. Duran went from Vietnam to the brink of 9/11, and was only stopped by a car accident.)
I believe that what Duran actually achieved in his career was, in fact, too much to ask of any mortal. What he did against Hagler surpassed a victory over Nino, regardless of the scorecard verdict. What happened in New Orleans should have destroyed him. Cuevas never recovered from the devastating beating Hearns subjected him to. Yet, when Duran met a similar fate at Tommy's hands, he came back, yet again, against Hearn's former and future conquerer, Barkley.
Duran went from Arguello's conquerer at featherweight, Marcel, to Barkley. He avenged late career losses to current winning cruiserweight Jorge Castro, and was pushing 50 when he avenged his earlier defeat to Pat Lawler. He showed Paz what the canvas looked like, for the first time in Vinnie's career. Joppy was the last of his opponents to stop him, when Roberto was already 47 years old, and had been boxing professionally for over 30 years. The next three boxers to defeat Joppy were Tito, B-Hop, and Bad Intentions.
It's only because SRR was never stopped by an opponent's fists that I consider him a clear number one over Duran. In the area of longevity, Duran did kick Robby's ass, by a good five years.
Duran have potentially surpassed Robinson? Yes. If Duran didn't have a weakness for gastronomic delights, if he'd always remained the "Duranimal," who in Ray Arcel's words, "would rather fight than eat," and hadn't been in a career ending car crash five years ago, he would still be boxing and winning today. Robby and Pep were reputedly not that enamoured with the fight game, but Duran loved
to fight, and remained on top until after his love of fighting was surpassed by his love of eating. (This was a guy who actually seemed to enjoy getting hit, and freaking out his adversaries when nothing happened. The wolfish sneer he had on his face right before Hearns put him out was utterly maniacal.)
At junior welterweight, I wouldn't put money on the outcome between a peak SRR, and a peak Duran, with both in top condition. (I believe Robby might have pulled out a razor thin points win, with his reach and movement, but once again, I wouldn't bet one thin dime on that outcome.)