Matt's Memory Lane

By Matthew Aguilar


Matt's Memory Lane

June 15- Thomas Hearns KO 2 Roberto Duran (1984): In a shocker, a suddenly resurgent "Hitman" drops the legendary "Manos de Piedra" three times at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to retain his WBC junior middleweight title. The last knockdown " courtesy of a right hand by Hearns " was nasty. The knockout set up Hearns" war with middleweight king Marvin Hagler 10 months later.
   June 16- Roberto Duran KO 8 Davey Moore (1983): Duran resurrected his career with a punishing destruction of defending WBA junior middleweight champ Moore before a delirious crowd at Madison Square Garden in NYC. On "Manos de Piedra"s" birthday, no less. Moore, who caught a thumb in the first round, was completely outclassed and dropped by a monster right in the seventh. Inept ref Ernesto Magana pointlessly let it go another round. Duran"s second career had officially begun.
   June 17- Shane Mosley W 12 Oscar De La Hoya (2000): De La Hoya, hoping to score a big win nine months after losing to Felix Trinidad, takes on former lightweight champ and So.Cal. rival Mosley at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for him, "Sugar Shane" is the one fighter in the world faster than he is " and the "Golden Boy" drops a clear-cut nod to win Oscar"s WBC welterweight title in a major upset.
   June 19- Evander Holyfield W 12 Larry Holmes (1992): Holyfield, coming off a lackluster effort against Bert Cooper, was hoping to give a better performance against former champ Holmes at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. But Holmes" experience stifled Holyfield, and the "Real Deal" had to settle for another unsatisfying victory " this time by unanimous decision, to retain the undisputed heavyweight title.
   June 20- Roberto Duran W 15 Sugar Ray Leonard (1980): One of the most anticipated fights of the 1980s, Duran was moving up from 135 pounds to challenge 147-pound king Leonard at Olympic Stadium in Montreal " site of Sugar Ray"s gold medal-winning performance of 1976. Only, "Manos de Piedra," a native of Panama, was the crowd favorite. He rode that energy to an electrifying showing, pounding Leonard in a grueling affair dubbed the "Brawl in Montreal." Duran won a unanimous decision " punctuating  the peak of an all-time great career. 
   June 23- Stevie Cruz W 15 Barry McGuigan (1986): At the time, Irishman McGuigan was the most popular fighter in the world. He was an icon in his native land, and the Cruz fight represented the first leg of his American invasion. Fort Worth"s "Little" Stevie, meanwhile, was a substitute for the injured Domingo Sosa, and wasn"t expected to last long. Surprise! McGuigan, weakened by the ridiculous Las Vegas heat, was dropped three times in the last round " losing a decision in a shocking upset. On the same card, Thomas Hearns struggled with courageous Mark Medal, and Roberto Duran was nipped by Robbie Sims.
   June 25- Sugar Ray Leonard KO 9 Ayub Kalule (1981): Straight from the "Fighters Just Don"t Do That Anymore" department, Leonard " with a Thomas Hearns showdown looming large " moved up from 147 to 154 to challenge the best junior middleweight in the world, Uganda"s Kalule, at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. For a while, Leonard-Hearns appeared to be in jeopardy, as Kalule hung tight with Sugar Ray. But, eventually, Leonard took charge and stopped the game defending champ with one second remaining in the ninth round. And, then and only then, could Leonard-Hearns happen.


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