Vinny Pazienza vs. Roberto Duran (2nd meeting)

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1995-01-14 : Vinny Pazienza 168 lbs beat Roberto Duran 167¾ lbs by UD in round 12 of 12



Age 32 Beats Age 43: It's an Old Story
The New York Times
January 16, 1995


Pazienza, 32, defeated Duran, 43, for the second time in six months on Saturday night, retaining his International Boxing Council super middleweight title with a unanimous decision before a pay-per-view audience and a near sellout of 10,382 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Duran (Hands of Stone) began fast, but Pazienza (Mouth of Chatter, Head of Granite, take your pick) came on strong in the latter half of the fight, connecting solidly to Duran's head with ripping left hooks and right uppercuts. The scorecards were emblematic of Pazienza's dominance — 116-112, 117-111, 118-110.

Pazienza also beat Duran last June 25 in Las Vegas, Nev., in a controversial decision.

With his trainer, Kevin Rooney, yelling "Willie Pep, Willie Pep" from the corner — evoking the name of one of the sport's great champions — Pazienza came out in the eighth round sharp and effective, banging Duran with right crosses and turning him in the clinches. By the ninth, he was telling Duran to "Go ahead" in the corner. As Duran flailed away at his midsection, Pazienza yelled, "You can't hurt me, you can't hurt me."

All of this infuriated Duran, who caught Pazienza after the bell with several punches. Referee Steve Smoger practically had to throw Pazienza back to his corner as he went after Duran.

The two embraced at the post-fight news conference. Pazienza thanked Duran for making him $750,000 and Duran thanked the champion for putting $619,000 into his account. But not before he alleged that Pazienza had used body-building drugs, a charge that Pazienza, brawny through what he calls excessive weight training, is sick of hearing.

"He never fought a guy like that," said Duran's interpreter. "He just fight like he's got some dope in his body."

Duran put off any retirement plans, insuring the post-fight gathering that his mental faculties remain sharp even if his physical skills sometimes fail to comply.

Duran was not embarrassed, but he was so far removed from the man who once bulled Sugar Ray Leonard into corners with hooks to the body, that one did not know him. His muscularity was never defined, but on Saturday his midsection sagged over his trunks, like a pile of garments spilling out of a suitcase.

"To me, it's kind of tragic," said Rooney, who once sparred with Duran during his prime, "because he was a great fighter. I could debate people that Duran was the greatest lightweight of all time. But he shouldn't be fighting anymore, not like this."