In his young age, Roberto Duran shined shoes in the streets of Panama to earn money rather than going to school. He was only five years old and his father just left them. He gave his earnings to his mother because he knew that the family needed it more.
Matt Hodgson, director of the documentary “I Am Duran”, believes that Duran’s experiences with suffering and pain became his greatest motivator to become of the world’s best boxer.
Duran’s childhood provided the best training for a professional career that heavily utilized the fist. In an autobiography he wrote in 2016, he said there was nothing more he’s afraid of after having an arduous childhood. Duran firmly believes that the best boxers come from rags, never from the affluent neighbourhoods.
The documentary follows Duran’s life as a boxer in the 20th century, his victories and failures, and that particular event 40 years ago that still haunts him up to the present.
On November 25, 1980, Duran had a rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard. Before the closing of the eight rounds, Duran quit, waved his globe, and told the referee, “No más”, Spanish phrase for no more. Leonard won via technical knockout and the match has since become one of the most famous fights in boxing history.
“Hands of Stone”
Throughout the fifty years of Duran’s career, he gained the title “Hands of Stone”. At some point, his record showed 71 wins and a single loss. His opponents used to talk about a certain look in his eyes that looked terrifying whenever he was inside the ring.
Duran’s personal life was likewise eventful. His autobiography revealed that he was lifeless for about 30 seconds after figuring in a car crash.
His success as a boxer was highly associated with the triumphs and tribulations of his home, Panama. In fact, “I Am Duran” not only documents the boxer’s triumphs and struggles, but it also gives a glimpse of Panama’s history in the 20th century.
Even though Duran regrets the term “No más” now, it’s undeniable that it also helped him become more “human”. Hodgson believes that people loved him more after the incident, and it made for a better comeback for Duran.
“I Am Duran” aims to give viewers hope and inspiration, and showcase what cultural heroes can do for their country.