Boxing legend Roberto Duran has claimed the proposed $1 billion clash between undefeated Floyd Mayweather and MMA star Conor McGregor is not a credible fight.
Former four-weight world champion Duran is set to appear in Aberdeen at the Mercure Ardoe House Hotel on Saturday, April 29.
The evening with the 65-year-old ring great is part of a UK tour to promote Hands Of Stone, a film about his life starring Oscar winner Robert De Niro that is out this summer.
In a phenomenal 119-fight career, Panamanian Duran was renowned for his ferocious shots, controlled aggression and strength.
Talking exclusively to the Evening Express before arriving in the Granite City, one of boxing’s most feared fighters pulled no punches in his assessment of the match-up between undefeated five-weight world champ Mayweather and UFC lightweight champ McGregor.
Duran said: “Mayweather fighting an MMA fighter is not credible, as they are two different sports with different rules.
“So how can they possibly face one another in a fair competition?”
Duran has utmost respect for both fighters – but in their own disciplines.
He said: “They are both warriors, but I think my era was better.”
Raised on the tough streets of Panama, Hands Of Stone was virtually unbeatable for 13 years, a reign of terror spanning 72 wins (with 56 KO) and just one defeat.
That loss was on points in 1972 to Esteban De Jesus, who he would stop in both of two later bouts.
Yet the rivalry with Sugar Ray Leonard was the most defining. In June 1980 Duran overcame the previously undefeated Leonard to claim the WBC world welterweight title at the Olympic Stadium, Montreal, by unanimous decision.
“Leonard was undefeated when I faced him so I knew I had to scare and intimidate him even before the fight,” he said.
“We both wanted to win and I only ever wanted to face the best opponents, when they were at their best.”
The only aberration on the record of one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time is when he quit in the eighth round of the Leonard rematch, in the infamous “No Mas” fight in New Orleans.
Duran retired at 51 in 2002 with a 103-16-0 record (70 KO) but insists he would have boxed well into his 50s had it not been for a car accident in Buenos Aries in April 2001.
He suffered eight broken ribs and a punctured lung. Only four months after that accident he lost to Hector Camacho on points. It was to be the final fight of his career.
He said: “The accident did force my retirement.
“I think I would have continued even longer. However, Camacho was younger and stronger.
“I do miss fighting even now. Maybe one more fight and I could have said I boxed in six different decades instead of five.”
Formidable and ferocious, he was also a cultured ring artist.
Next Saturday, at a Night With Roberto Duran, hosted by Elite Entertainment and Events, the former world champion will discuss a career that ranks alongside greats like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Louis.
He hopes to inspire the Granite City’s rising boxing stars. He said: “I am looking forward to visiting Scotland, as I have always been well received by my Scottish and UK fans. Young people learning the sport is a great thing for the mind and body.
“It also teaches discipline.”
Scotland plays a pivotal role in Duran’s career as he won his first world title against Edinburgh’s Ken Buchanan with a 13th round TKO to take his WBA lightweight world title.
That was 45 years ago. But the regard for Buchanan remains.
“Buchanan was a great fighter, and I have nothing but total respect for him,” he said.
A Night With Roberto Duran is at Mercure Ardoe House Hotel on Saturday, April 29. The night will also include live screening of the Wladimir Klitschko v Anthony Joshua fight.
For details contact Elite Promotions on [email protected]
Source : EveningExpress