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Old 10-20-2012, 10:49 AM   #1
Senor Pepe'
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Default Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Great article by Jose Pagan (Colombian Boxing Journalist)

All the machinations on the difficulty of getting the two Latin American
Champions together.

First off, both Champions were making very good 'dinero' defending their
crowns, versus their direct competition, within their own division.

Both Champions were each getting fight purses between $75,000 and $125,000 -
enabling each fighter and their manager to reap in 'big dollars' with minimal risk.

Both Carlos Eleta (Roberto's manager) and Ramiro Machado (Antonio's manager)
were both waiting for the 'big money' to come in from the United States or
Europe (Monte Carlo), so they could pounce on the fight purse offer, which they
both believed could bring in upwards close to $300,000 for each fighter in late-1975.

And with ancillary fee's for the Television rights for Latin America, each fighter could
have netted another $50,000 each.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

The World Boxing Association (WBA) was not pressuring either camp to get this
bout on.

The WBA which was based in Panama, leaned in every direction to protect
Roberto Duran, and Carlos Eleta who had connections within the Panamanian
Government, so nobody was going to dictate to Duran or Eleta.

Antonio Cervantes, who was getting $75,000 per Championship Defense at the time,
was looking to cash in before he retired in 1976.

In October 1975, Carlos Eleta had just negotiated a '3-bout' deal with Don King, for
Roberto to get $125,000 per defense. Technically, easy money for '3' easy defenses
which would tie Roberto up until mid-1976.

Last edited by Senor Pepe'; 10-20-2012 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

How do you think it would've went Pepe?
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Old 10-20-2012, 02:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

It looked like the 'best time', would have been at the end of 1975.

Antonio Cervantes had come off of the 'May 1975' 15-Round 'paint job' over
Esteban De Jesus, and he was in 'prime shape' for Roberto Duran.

Antonio would have been age 30 in December 1975 (but was closer to 34 according to
some documentation). But, Antonio was in peak physical condition. He had looked
awesome in 'slicing up' a very capable Hector Thompson (#1 WBA Challenger) in
November 1975 (in Panama City).

On the other hand, the 24 1/2 year-old Roberto Duran had several difficult bouts
in 1975. In March, Roberto had a tough 14-Rounds with 'quick-fisted but light-punching'
Ray Lampkin.

And in September, Edwin Viruet smacked Roberto on equal terms in a 10-Round non-title bout.

And in December 1975, Roberto hit Leonico Ortiz with everything but the kitchen sink, before
finally stopping him the the 15th Round.

The venue of this location would be 'the most important negotiation point'.

If this bout were held on a 'neutral site', I believe the late-1975 'Kid Pambele' would
have edged out Roberto Duran by a 'razor-thin' 15-Round Decision, with many close
rounds.

'Kid Pambele' would have a 2" height advantage, and 5" in reach. Hand-speed would also
favor the Colombian at this juncture.

I would lean by a scorecard of 146-145 (5-4 in Rounds for Antonio Cervantes, with
6 rounds 'even').

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Last edited by Senor Pepe'; 10-20-2012 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Senor Pepe' View Post
It looked like the 'best time', would have been at the end of 1975.

Antonio Cervantes had come off of the 'May 1975' 15-Round 'paint job' over
Esteban De Jesus, and he was in 'prime shape' for Roberto Duran.

Antonio would have been age 30 in December 1975 (but was closer to 34 according to
some documentation). But, Antonio was in peak physical condition. He had looked
awesome in 'slicing up' a very capable Hector Thompson (#1 WBA Challenger) in
November 1975 (in Panama City).

On the other hand, the 24 1/2 year-old Roberto Duran had several difficult bouts
in 1975. In March, Roberto had a tough 14-Rounds with 'quick-fisted but light-punching'
Ray Lampkin.

And in September, Edwin Viruet smacked Roberto on equal terms in a 10-Round non-title bout.

And in December 1975, Roberto hit Leonico Ortiz with everything but the kitchen sink, before
finally stopping him the the 15th Round.

The venue of this location would be 'the most important negotiation point'.

If this bout were held on a 'neutral site', I believe the late-1975 'Kid Pambele' would
have edged out Roberto Duran by a 'razor-thin' 15-Round Decision, with many close
rounds.

'Kid Pambele' would have a 2" height advantage, and 5" in reach. Hand-speed would also
favor the Colombian at this juncture.

I would lean by a scorecard of 146-145 (5-4 in Rounds for Antonio Cervantes, with
6 rounds 'even').

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Excellent post Pepe.Balanced and informative.

Do you think Cervantes would have coped with Duran's workrate in say,78-79?
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Carlos Eleta didn't really care for that fight.
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hands of Iron View Post
Carlos Eleta didn't really care for that fight.
No wonder.
Cervantes is another genuine great who doesn't get due credit.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Quote:
Originally Posted by PityTheFool View Post
No wonder.
Cervantes is another genuine great who doesn't get due credit.
It's been awhile since I dabbled into stuff, but Eleta strikes as a very protective manager, which could mean he's also a very good one who weighed dollars and sense but as a fan, he's an irritating ****. Duran didn't have an issue fighting anybody, as time would prove upon their split. Peak Hagler, Peak Hearns, Barkley (coming off a KO of Hearns) when Duran was almost 40 years old. He didn't give a ****, period. Eleta in some instances, makes it look like Roberto avoided fights. Duran didn't avoid anything. He'd have extra vitriol for the Colombian, particularly with the level of fighter he was at the time.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Quote:
Originally Posted by PityTheFool View Post
Excellent post Pepe.Balanced and informative.

Do you think Cervantes would have coped with Duran's workrate in say,78-79?
The Roberto Duran of say 1978 versus the older Antonio Cervantes is quite intriguing.

Though 'Kid Pamble' had slipped, Roberto was not a 'solid choice' to
overwhelm Cervantes.

Remember, in May 1978, Adolfo Viruet gave Roberto a hell of a battle in
Madison Square Garden.

I think Roberto's 'work-rate' in 1978 at 140 lbs. - may have edged out
Antonio over the long haul.

Scorecard at 146-144 {6-4-5 in Rounds}
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hands of Iron View Post
It's been awhile since I dabbled into stuff, but Eleta strikes as a very protective manager, which could mean he's also a very good one who weighed dollars and sense but as a fan, he's an irritating ****. Duran didn't have an issue fighting anybody, as time would prove upon their split. Peak Hagler, Peak Hearns, Barkley (coming off a KO of Hearns) when Duran was almost 40 years old. He didn't give a ****, period. Eleta in some instances, makes it look like Roberto avoided fights. Duran didn't avoid anything. He'd have extra vitriol for the Colombian, particularly with the level of fighter he was at the time.
It's a sign of long gone times when you had the old "benefactor" who made all the important decisions.
Arguello had the old Dr Roman too who was father-like to him.
I do agree though.Duran had a few wasted years that could've give boxing history a very different look.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

There's no doubt Eleta is the man responsible and reason as to why close to 50% of Duran's lightweight title defenses were against relative nobodies. Yeah, almost half of them were against guys who weren't even top ten lightweights, much less top 3-5 as was the case with virtually every one of Monzon's at 160 and Napoles at 147, two of the greatest champs and fighters ever, Ever. Easily. Duran can still be fighter of the decade for his own run as well as beating Marcel, Palomino and Kobayashi outside of LW, but it could've been more.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Not that the era was particularly deep anyway - and Duran beat who really mattered - but fighting rated contenders no matter the perceived quality of an era, is always superior to fighting and defending against fighters who are not. That's as obvious as the sky is blue.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Not sure Roberto Duran fought the highest-rated available contender, with
Carlos Eleta at the 'wheel'.

Carlos was a 'mucho' smart businessman, and was not about to let his investment
blow it.

Before Roberto fought #1 WBA Lightweight - Hector Thompson, they were trying to
squeeze in European Lightweight Champion - Italian Antonio Puddo.

Puddo a good European Lightweight, but in 'no way' a match for Roberto, was pulled
out by the EBU, who thought Antonio would get badly hurt in Panama.

Hector Thompson was put back in, and Carlos Eleta was very worried about the
tough Australian.

Those were just the beginning of the 'machinations'.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Duran was killing himself to make the lightweight limit even in 1975. At light welter he would have steamrolled Cervantes similar to what Pryor did a few years later. Duran was a non stop punching machine and in his prime while Cervantes was at the very least past his prime at that time. Also Durans fight with Lampkin was not a close fight....Duran was 5-7 points ahead after 13 rounds. Also if you watch Durans fight with Viruet it really was not close. Viruet fought with his back to the ropes most of the fight being mauled. Durans fight with Mamby also was not a close fight....one sided beating.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:07 AM   #15
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Default Re: Roberto Duran vs. Antonio Cervantes 'It Was Never Going To Happen'

Houdini,

You can't say that Ray Lampkin, Edwin Viruet and Saoul Mamby were anywhere
near the 'quality' of Kid Pambele.

Simply put, Carlos Eleta would 'not' put Roberto in the ring with Antonio Cervantes
in 1975.

His own words, 'Antonio Cervantes is too big.'
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