We don’t know about you, but for us, the 40th anniversary of “The Brawl In Montreal,” is kind of a big deal. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise for devotees of this website since we have already highlighted the first clash between Roberto Duran vs Sugar Ray Leonard as one of the all-time greatest victories in the history of boxing, as well as one of the all-time most historically significant fights. It was a huge, crossover sports happening and it was one of those rare instances where all the build-up and expectations of a “superfight” event were completely fulfilled by a truly great, back-and-forth ring battle between two legends of the game.
And so if Duran vs Leonard I is forever one of boxing’s all-time biggest fights and greatest victories, then what was also witnessed on June 20, 1980 in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium by almost fifty thousand people was one of the all-time great performances in the history of pugilism, as the legendary Panamanian, aka “The Hands Of Stone,” the naturally smaller and older man, gave the gifted Sugar Ray Leonard his first career defeat. Which begs the question, how did Duran do it?
Beyond such obvious answers that highlight Roberto’s ferocity, intensity and stupendous physical condition, we could do much worse than to consult Lee Wylie for thoughtful answers to that question as it’s no exaggeration to say the renowned boxing analyst has been studying the ring technique of the four time champion they call “Manos de Piedra” for years. In fact, a visit to Lee’s Youtube page, always a good idea for those wishing to deepen their knowledge of “The Sweet Science,” reveals an entire playlist devoted to Roberto Duran.
But today we bring your attention to two very recent creations by Wylie, part of his new “Short Studies” series. Each highlights a particular method Duran utilized to great effectiveness, those being his manipulation of timing and the opponent’s expectations, and then what Wylie calls Roberto’s “Killing Shift.” Needless to say, both techniques were of no small help in his monumental victory over the supremely talented Sugar Ray Leonard. Check ’em out, and renew your appreciation for the ring brilliance of Roberto Duran and for his greatest win, forty years ago.