In George Kimball's The Four Kings, Roberto Duran is celebrated as part of the group that included Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler. Fighting at welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight, these men made the 1980s the last golden era of boxing.
But before Duran ever jumped to 147 in the 1980s, he had spent the 1970s establishing himself as arguably the greatest lightweight of all time. In 1972, he beat Ken Buchanan, perhaps the United Kingdom's best boxer ever, to capture the WBA 135-pound belt.
Duran lost a decision in a non-title fight to the brilliant Esteban De Jesus later that year, but he avenged it twice by stoppage and generally wreaked havoc on the division for most of the rest of the decade.
Duran was a relentless, attacking fighter who developed solid defensive techniques under the tutelage of Ray Arcel.
His nickname was Manos De Piedra: Hands of Stone. At 135 pounds, Roberto Duran was possibly the most brutally exciting fighter of all time.
In 1978, Duran vacated his title and moved to welterweight. He captured the welterweight title in 1980 when he handed Sugar Ray Leonard the first loss of the young superstar's career.
Leonard fought a tactically perfect fight in the rematch and a frustrated Duran shocked the world by quitting on his stool after eight rounds. Duran would never again be a dominant fighter, but he was far from done.
In 1983, he won the junior middleweight title by defeating Davey Moore. He was the only challenger until Leonard to go the distance with Marvin Hagler during Hagler's reign at middleweight.
In 1989, Duran finally captured the middleweight crown at nearly 40 when he beat Iran Barkley.