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Old 02-28-2008, 12:09 PM   #16
Stonehands89
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Pontius, McGrain... I apologize for being late to the dance.

Robbi... In the previous debate I remember being non-committed. I stated that I wouldn't go so far as to "throw my hat in the ring" with those who chose Montreal Duran so easily, but then gave several points that should give one pause about choosing Hearns:

There are several reasons that should give one pause before asserting that Hearns-Duran 1980 would be an equivalent to Hearns-Duran 1984. Among these are:

1. Momentum. Duran was near the peak of his powers. He was 67-1, with 56 KOs and had just impressively defeated Palomino et al. in the WW division. He was driven to June very well -he had 2 fights in Jan and Feb that were designed to feed him and then they kept him sharp for the next 4 months in preparation for Leonard. I think that they were wise not to put him again after Wheatley -because Wheatley was connecting with hard shots.

The 1984 Duran was sporadic at best, and was 4 years and 4 defeats away from what he was. Essentially no corner men. Fighting for $$$. Different fighter altogether.

2. Brown & Arcel. They were there, and that changes the equation. They knew how to control Duran, commit him to the task, and they understand his body and his clock. More importantly still, Duran respected them. After they left, Duran effectively trained himself for the next 20 years. They would have devised a strategy for Hearns that was respectful of that whiplash power that stopped 8 out of 9 previous opponents.

3. Hearns was physically weaker and less developed as a fighter than he was at Jr. MW. He was not peaking physically at WW and I don't care what the record says. He looked like an insect and his ribs were exposed. Did he have the firepower to deal with anyone? Yep. Including Duran? Yep. However, Duran's smaller size combines with his greater strength to allow him to get under those whips and inside to those spare ribs. Duran was extremely flexible against Leonard and was slipping and parrying quick jabs all night. Duran would not eat shots like Cuevas or Leonard.

4. Duran was Duran. A focused, passionate, angry Duran is among the top 3 or 4 most formidable fighters in the history of the sport. Lobotomy makes a cogent point backing this up -about how an angry Duran spits on his opponents -he doesn't touch gloves after getting knocked down! I have made similar observations before about Duran as a passion fighter. If Duran was allowed to think for himself about fighters, he would have barely trained -ever. Remember that Duran beleived that Hearns was a chicken because of his stoppage loss to Leonard. That hadn't happened yet in 1980 and the 2 old men would have driven any assumption like that out of him and forced him to train.

...
At WW, given Montreal Duran over 15 rounds, I choose Duran by late round TKO. At Jr. MW, you gotta go with Hearns.
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:59 PM   #17
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

I'd be remiss not to acknowledge why Hearns deserves to be favored. The consensus on ESB has it right -Hearns's style is the nightmare style for Duran. The advantages in height and reach cannot be discounted. The demon speed and whiplash power would cause many problems early and there is simply no guarantee that Duran would make it to round 5 if he gets caught too much.

I have no problem with those arguments about Duran getting beaten badly, even at WW by Hearns. I just don't see it that way.

The question at 147 is a simple one: Can Duran penetrate Hearns and find a place inside? I say that he can. Hearns was not as sophisticated and well-rounded as he because 3 years later. He was not as strong either. If Duran can be kept at bay, then the conclusion is a foregone one.
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Old 02-28-2008, 05:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonehands89
I'd be remiss not to acknowledge why Hearns deserves to be favored. The consensus on ESB has it right -Hearns's style is the nightmare style for Duran. The advantages in height and reach cannot be discounted. The demon speed and whiplash power would cause many problems early and there is simply no guarantee that Duran would make it to round 5 if he gets caught too much.

I have no problem with those arguments about Duran getting beaten badly, even at WW by Hearns. I just don't see it that way.

The question at 147 is a simple one: Can Duran penetrate Hearns and find a place inside? I say that he can. Hearns was not as sophisticated and well-rounded as he because 3 years later. He was not as strong either. If Duran can be kept at bay, then the conclusion is a foregone one.
I'm one of those who will 'hang my hat' on the realization that Hearns has the wrong style and physical attributes for Roberto...As much as I respect Duran, and believe me I do! I just cannot envision Duran being successful negotiating the incoming in an attempt to get inside...To beat a Thomas Hearns at welterweight,IMO one would have to fight in essense an extremely tactical fight...In their fight, Ray Leonard felt Thomas out...what he did, how he reacted to feints...how long that mammoth reach was in judging distance...Ray didn't take the plunge and dive straight at Tommy, he knew better...Roberto Duran as great as he is...has no such options, he has to go straight to Hearns. I agree the '80 Montreal Duran is simply an amazing fighter, and could possibly ATG welterweights who could in turn have the capabilities to beat Hearns (Napoles,Rodriguez,Griffith, Gavilan)...The Duran that Hearns kayoed in '84 bears little resemblance to the '80 version, but IMO, the winner is still the same...Hearns was too good a puncher at this weight for an incoming foe...even an adept slipper like Duran.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:08 PM   #19
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpw417
I'm one of those who will 'hang my hat' on the realization that Hearns has the wrong style and physical attributes for Roberto...As much as I respect Duran, and believe me I do! I just cannot envision Duran being successful negotiating the incoming in an attempt to get inside...To beat a Thomas Hearns at welterweight,IMO one would have to fight in essense an extremely tactical fight...In their fight, Ray Leonard felt Thomas out...what he did, how he reacted to feints...how long that mammoth reach was in judging distance...Ray didn't take the plunge and dive straight at Tommy, he knew better...Roberto Duran as great as he is...has no such options, he has to go straight to Hearns. I agree the '80 Montreal Duran is simply an amazing fighter, and could possibly ATG welterweights who could in turn have the capabilities to beat Hearns (Napoles,Rodriguez,Griffith, Gavilan)...The Duran that Hearns kayoed in '84 bears little resemblance to the '80 version, but IMO, the winner is still the same...Hearns was too good a puncher at this weight for an incoming foe...even an adept slipper like Duran.
Good points.

Here's something though. Leonard was not willing or able to penetrate Hearns and early on... he was content to stay outside and stay mobile. He wasn't engaging Hearns. When he did step in and land, the fight changed. Leonard was able to stay just outside the long reach, but had enough of a reach and height of his own to be able to short step in and land. Duran wouldn't have that luxury. He'd have to stay close, inside the pocket and take over. Hearns isn't as dangerous there.

Duran would have to outdo his performance against Leonard and that is hard to do. Hearns is the more dangerous fighter for him. Leonard strides high in all categories. Hearns strides higher in fewer categories but when it comes to chin, strength, endurance, and conditioning, he becomes all to mortal again. Duran's strategy would be based on exploiting where Hearns is weaker and neutralizing where he is most dangerous.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:21 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

We know Hearns hit hard enough to KO Duran.
But we should also bear in mind that Duran could take a punch, roll with a punch and avoid a punch better than he demonstrated in their '84 fight.

I dont see how a fired-up, mean, lean, serious, absolute PEAK Duran is a sure thing to get stopped early by Hearns. I dont buy that.
Duran was multi-dimensional and intelligent, so I dont see how one style cancels him out completely in quick time, not when he's firing on all cylinders.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:32 PM   #21
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Usually the result of a fight lends as a decent insight as to what may have occurred had the two fought at a different time.

The different versions of Duran and Hearn's creates the most interesting and pivotal point on a 1980 clash, but let's go back and see what 1984 told us.

Whether trained or not, focused or not, Duran was out right humiliated, it was not close. At not one point did Hearn's stop his stalking and think, "Ooo, I'll have to watch out for that".

Hearn's found it rather easy, not just to beat, but destroy Duran - that says a lot about their stylistic relationship.

Stonehands89,

You've underlined the key issues very well for a 1980 battle, but the actual fight was as hopeless as it gets. It was worse than Foreman panning Frazier.

Hearn's, with total self belief, stepped into the ring and fulfilled his prediction of a second round knockout. That fight failed to demonstrate that there is even hope for Duran, yet with the outstanding variables changed you can see Duran not only making an impact, but winning.

Seems like a mountain too high...
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:02 PM   #22
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Judging from the second Louis-Schmeling fight, no one would envision any other possible outcome at any other time if not for the fact that we have the first fight to reference.

And I dont believe Louis and/or Schmeling changed their plan/style or whatever THAT much in the meantime.
Truth is, neither fight was probably the medium TYPICAL "fair" "peak-for-peak" encounter. Things just pan out the way the do, for a multitude of reasons.

That's the beauty of boxing. Two GREAT fighters in the ring together, and it's true, ANYTHING can happen.

Now, it's obviously no stretch to consider that a post-"No Mas", post-Kirkland Laing, post-Benitez version of Duran could be showing us some outrageously UNtypical off-days, blowing hot and hold from fight to fight, putting on performances that are real under-reflections of what he's capable of.
Not necessarily in the Hearns fight, but quite possibly.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:14 PM   #23
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Good point, but Ted Spoon said 'usually', and can't we not but summarise that Hearn's was far closer to Duran in general terms of general potency when directly compared than when we compare Schmeling to the 'Brown Bomber' who was punished for a 'kindergarten' ailment in his style?
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:18 PM   #24
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Spoon, I am fully aware of the risk I take painting myself (further?) as a Duran apologist by choosing him against Hearns. I heavily qualified that choice as you can see and have been known to go against him in the past. But that was then, and this is now.

Anytime two men meet later in the ring we get an idea of what would have been had they met earlier. I acknowledge that -but temper it. It is a matter of degrees and it should be approached on a case by case basis. It isn't airtight by any means and we have enough examples that would prove this.

Duran is most unreliable by this measure. Watch him in Feb 1989 against Barkley and then watch that farce 2 years later against Pat Lawlor. Duran had neither the speed, the flexibility, the committment to training, the trainers, the momentum, or the confidence to compete against Hearns. He had all of that in excess 4 years earlier. I think that the comparison between those two versions of Duran is as valid as comparing Mickey Ward to Tomato Ken.

Let's just say it: Duran was a manic-depressive in the ring during the second half of his career. He was 50% of what he was in 1980 on the night Hearns rocked his world... and Hearns himself was not nearly what he was in 1984 in 1980. He got bigger, he came into his own in terms of experience, and he had that war with Leonard under his belt. Duran was wrong about what he saw in that fight. Hearns wasn't "a chicken", he came out of that fight a better fighter than when he went in.

The 1980 Hearns was not strong enough, comfortable enough, or experienced enough to deal -so easily- with a priming Duran riding a crest of success. Anytime after Leonard, Hearns would have beaten Duran because of what Leonard did to Duran's committment, pride, and momentum, and how Leonard was the impetus for Hearns' coming into his own without myth and brashness.

I see Leonard as the lynchpin in both careers. In a parallel universe, had Arcel went Hearns instead of Leonard, it would have been even more dramatic than what we saw in Montreal.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:43 PM   #25
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Spoon
Good point, but Ted Spoon said 'usually', and can't we not but summarise that Hearn's was far closer to Duran in general terms of general potency when directly compared than when we compare Schmeling to the 'Brown Bomber' who was punished for a 'kindergarten' ailment in his style?
For the purposes of ordinary discussion on "greatness" and "ability" etc. YES, we can make those proximity calculations on, as you say, "general potency".

But when these guys are at their ABSOLUTE BESTS, matched in the ring, I dont think they actually differ in any significant ways in "ability level". When it comes to fighting man-to-man peak-for-peak, gradients of "pedigree" are simplified. They just have to do the right thing in the moment.

Surely, the reason we give a great fighter so much CREDIT for beating (whether by destruction, or not) other GREAT or VERY GOOD fighters is because we acknowledge that those fighters DID POSE AN ACTUAL THREAT. In other words, we credit the guy who beat a guy who could conceivably have beaten him.

Obviously, insistence on such can be limited by hindsight on how the match actually went, but I think that's more so the case in painful 12-round shut-outs, rather than quick blow-outs where a fighter was successful in imposing himself on the other for 4 or 5 minutes.

When great fighters get blasted out, we think, "well, it can happen to the best of them", we rarely expect it to happen, but because we SAW IT and it was so one-sided we usually think, "Of course, this was bound to happen. We should've known". It's all quite contradictory.

Whatever really counts is the fights that happen, I suppose. And really, Hearns is getting high praise whether we say outright that "He always (or usually) destroys Duran" or whether we say "Duran was a guy who I STILL think could have beat Hearns".
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:47 PM   #26
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Stonehands89......You do make valid points. However I'd still take Hearns. Just the wrong kind of fighter for Duran, Hearns was still a devastating puncher at 147lb (30 KOs in 32 fights) I think the destruction of the feared Pipino Cuevas showed that and just like Cuevas couldn't get to Hearns without paying the price neither could Duran. Any other outcome is highly unlikely IMO. As you said Leonard stayed away from Hearns in the early rounds. That wasn't Duran's style, ever!! Now if it was at lightweight it would be a different story, no way would any lightweight in history have the power to keep Duran away.

Yes there is a chance Duran could win, but my money would be on Hearns everytime.

Duran is still the better fighter overall and history will remember him as that. Just like history will remember Barrera as a better fighter than Junior Jones. Just like history will remember Hearns as a better fighter than Barkley. Some fighters just have another fighters number.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:40 PM   #27
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

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Originally Posted by Calroid
Stonehands89......You do make valid points. However I'd still take Hearns. Just the wrong kind of fighter for Duran, Hearns was still a devastating puncher at 147lb (30 KOs in 32 fights) I think the destruction of the feared Pipino Cuevas showed that and just like Cuevas couldn't get to Hearns without paying the price neither could Duran. Any other outcome is highly unlikely IMO. As you said Leonard stayed away from Hearns in the early rounds. That wasn't Duran's style, ever!! Now if it was at lightweight it would be a different story, no way would any lightweight in history have the power to keep Duran away.

Yes there is a chance Duran could win, but my money would be on Hearns everytime.

Duran is still the better fighter overall and history will remember him as that. Just like history will remember Barrera as a better fighter than Junior Jones. Just like history will remember Hearns as a better fighter than Barkley. Some fighters just have another fighters number.
I don't think Duran was the better fighter than Hearns. They were both great fighters, but Hearns was capable of much more than Duran.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:16 PM   #28
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

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Originally Posted by Sister Sledge
I don't think Duran was the better fighter than Hearns. They were both great fighters, but Hearns was capable of much more than Duran.
What he means by Duran was a "greater fighter overall" is that he was better than Hearns as an all-time great P4P. Do you have Hearns higher than Duran?
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:12 PM   #29
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Duran was the better championship fighter. By 1975 he had already gone all 15 rounds in his career; 1,2,....14, 15. Thomas didnt have the number of defenses like Duran.

Something I don't understand: why is no one gives Duran a chance, even at welter? Hagler beat Tommy quickly and Marvin is small like Roberto. Why can Marvin be successful and Roberto can't?
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:22 PM   #30
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Default Re: 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Thomas Hearns @welter

Keep in mind that in 1980 Duran was a prime 29 years of age and at his physical peak for the first Leonard fight. Hearns was a not yet fully physically mature 21-22 year old kid who was still filling out his tall, lanky frame. This would have been the best and only time for Duran to possibly topple Hearns. By 1984, Hearns was at his physical peak. He was 26 and had a V-shaped torso and muscles like knotted rope. He still had his legs fully under him. Later, Hearns who hold on for life against James 'the Heat' Kinchen and his legs also turned to jelly against Juan Domingo Roldan. 1980 would have been the last year Duran could have possibly beaten Hearns. Especially the brilliant Duran of "The Brawl in Montreal" who edged a bigger, stronger Leonard.
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