1974-03-16 Roberto Duran w co 11 (15) Esteban De Jesus, New City Gym, Panama City, Panama - WBA
1974-03-16 Roberto Duran w co 11 (15) Esteban De Jesus, New City Gym, Panama City, Panama - WBA. Referee: Isaac Herrera. Having been outpointed by de Jesus (134½) in a non-title contest in November 1972 on paper this appeared to be the champion’s toughest defence and it certainly looked that way when he was dropped in the opening session for the mandatory ‘eight’ following an exchange of blows. Although De Jesus was giving Duran (134½) all kinds of problems, the latter rallied and began to take over as the Puerto Rican weakened due to being forced to lose 15lbs to make the weight. Down in the seventh, De Jesus tried to fight back but was rapidly coming apart and in the 11th he was counted out on his haunches on the 1.11 mark after being dropped by a combination of head blows.
On 15 August, Duran, due to meet Miguel Barreto in New York in a non-title affair, was sent packing by the NYSAC for failing to agree to defend his title against Ken Buchanan within 90 days. Although Buchanan remained the WBA’s number-one contender, the body censured him for refusing to accept what they called reasonable opportunities to meet Duran on financial grounds.
Having failed to make a defence for seven months, it was announced that Duran would be putting the championship up against Alfredo Escalera on 9 November in Panama. Then, when that fell through the unrated South African, Andries Steyn, was mooted, but negotiations for that also collapsed after the latter was beaten by Carlos Gimenez. Following that, Duran was lined up to defend against the Japanese champion, Masataka Takayama, who was hardly a household name, in Costa Rica. Meanwhile, having become sick of all of the politics, Buchanan decided to aim for the WBC title.