Pazienza easily puts away Duran

January 15, 1995|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Will this finally be "no mas" for Roberto Duran?

There was every indication that would be the proper decision at the Convention Center last night as the fiercely proud Panamanian, 43, was dominated by a younger and faster Vinny Pazienza, who easily defended the somewhat dubious International Boxing Council super-middleweight title.

Duran, who began fighting 28 years ago and has won world championships in four different weight classes, looked every bit his age as Pazienza consistently beat him to the punch in a fast-paced 12 rounds.

The scowl, anger and burning fire in Duran's coal-black eyes were missing in the later rounds as it became evident to the crowd of 11,115 that he could not win, save for a freak occurance.

Pazienza, who earlier held titles at 135 and 154 pounds, capped his comeback from a near-fatal neck injury four years ago.

Judge Tim Figley gave the brash Providence boxer almost every round in voting 118-110. Debra Barnes called it 117-111, and Jose Pasquali made it unanimous with a 116-112 card.

Only Duran seemed unwilling to accept the inevitable. "I'm not going to retire. I'm going to keep fighting," he said. "I just couldn't move as fast as I wanted to tonight."

His co-manager, Hector Martinez, also was reluctant to acknowledge this was Duran's last hurrah.

"We have to regroup and sit down and talk to the Durans. I don't think he should quit," Martinez said. "A hit-and-run fighter like Pazienza will always make things hard for a fighter like Duran, especially at his age. He has to drop some weight to be effective."

Pazienza (40-5, seven KOs) has grand plans. He hopes to fight unbeaten super-middleweight champion Roy Jones in the spring.

"Jones is the best pound-for-pound," he said. "But I ain't afraid. I'll take him on."

Pazienza, 32, who had to get off the floor to outpoint Duran in their first scuffle last June, seemed almost sorry that he had made the old warrior look so vulnerable the second time around.

"This is a sad day for boxing," the winner said. "I wanted to congratulate him because this was probably his last fight. He should probably take up golf, or something like that."

Pazienza and Duran needed no false hype to work up animosity toward each other. But Duran could not back up his tough words.

It was in no way as humiliating as when he quit against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980, but it was still terribly humbling.

"I overtrained, and my arm hurt a bit" said Duran (94-11, 65 KOs). "I wanted to move, but I was all tied up tonight."

Mostly because of Pazienza's elusive, darting style and faster hands. Duran managed to stay close in the early rounds with a strong body attack, but as the round wore on, he began to wilt noticeably.

Pazienza piled up points with his combinations and jarred the durable Latin a number of times with looping right hands and short left hooks. By the ninth round, Duran seemed an easy target.

The loser could take some solace in his $615,000 purse. Pazienza was guaranteed a reported $750,000 from the match that was carried on pay-per-view television.

"If I didn't dislike him so much, and I wasn't getting paid such a nice purse, this fight probably would never have happened," said Pazienza.

Pazienza began to take control in the seventh round, repeatedly beating Duran to the punch. In the eighth, Duran visibly began showing signs of his age while Pazienza scored with quick right hands and won almost all the heated exchanges.

Pazienza rocked Duran with two rights in the 10th round. By the 11th Duran was no longer applying pressure, instead looking -- and failing -- to catch Pazienza with a knockout punch.

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