Former world champion professional boxer Roberto Durán was an incredible force each time he stepped into the ring over the course of his 30-year career. In particular, his first decade as a boxer wowed fans, when he went 1-1 with lightweight boxing champion and America’s sweetheart Sugar Ray Leonard. Their first match ended in a unanimous win for Durán; the second in a TKO loss when Durán famously told the referee “No Más” and stopped fighting.
In the new documentary I Am Durán, British director Mat Hodgson explores the career of the fearless Panamanian boxer who many pundits and historians call the greatest lightweight boxer in the history of the sport.
“When the bell rang in a Roberto Durán fight, you felt like something was going to happen,” are the first words viewers hear in the film’s official trailer. Nicknamed “Hands of Stone” (“Manos de Piedra”) for the power behind his punches, getting hit by Durán wasn’t something most fighters looked forward to. In the trailer, Leonard is recently interviewed and says, “I’ve never been hit that hard. His hands feel like freakin’ bricks.”
Through talking-head interviews with boxers like Leonard, Mike Tyson, and actors Sylvester Stallone (Rocky) and Robert De Niro, who starred as Durán’s longtime trainer Ray Arcel in the 2016 feature film Hands of Stone, we learn what Durán meant to the world of boxing. During interviews with Durán himself, we listen to him speak about how he had to use his fists to make a life for himself and escape his life of poverty in his home country of Panama, which was suffering from major political instability at the time. I Am Durán looks like it will include the country’s unrest as a backdrop for Durán’s narrative.
As the trailer frames his story, Durán wasn’t fighting for just himself, he was “fighting for a country,” so when he simply gave up during the second Leonard fight, his entire life changed. That however, wasn’t the end of Durán. If Hodgson is able to tap into the deeper aspects of Durán’s fears and thoughts like he did with his last documentary on troubled boxer Ricky Hatton (2013’s Night of the Fight: Hatton’s Last Stand), fans and admirers of Durán and boxing enthusiasts worldwide will be more than willing to stay till the final bell.
I Am Durán is available for digital download.