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Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran [Hardcover]

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Item description for Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran by Christian Giudice...

Roberto Duran is a sporting legend. Often called the greatest boxer of all time, he held world titles at five weights and is the only man in history to have fought in five different decades. His bouts with fellow greats like Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler have gone down in fistic folklore and his pro record of 104 wins (69 by KO) in 120 fights earned him the nickname Manos de Piedra: Hands of Stone.
Journalist Christian Giudice has written the definitive story of Duran's extraordinary life in and out of the ring. He has interviewed the fighter himself, his family and closest friends and scores of his opponents to separate truth from myth and get to the heart of one of the most intriguing sports stars of modern times.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   320
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 3, 2007
Publisher   Milo Books
ISBN  1903854555  
ISBN13  9781903854556  

Availability  0 units.

More About Christian Giudice

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! A Villanova and Temple University graduate, Christian Giudice currently teaches English in Charlotte, North Carolina, and writes for the boxing site He has been published in South Jersey sports magazines and international boxing digests. He is the author of "Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran" (Milo Books, 2009) and is from Haddonfield, New Jersey.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran?

Roberto Duran 104-16 (70 KOs)   Apr 10, 2008
This is an outstanding biography about arguably, one of the best boxers to ever walk the planet. Author Christian Giudice did his homework and presents an amazing story of the mythical character, the legendary persona and ultimately, the man, Roberto Duran who held championship titles in four different weight classes. The book includes many black and white photographs taken from different periods in his career as well as rare family photos. Included are the classic match ups featuring him and his foes in action and some just mugging for the camera. Let me say, right away, that I was a big Roberto Duran fan. This book appeals on many fronts though even if I was just a casual boxing fan. Having seen him box in person(Leonard vs.Duran III)and followed his career it was a walk down memory lane but with new insights into the ins and outs of the fights. I was pleased to find out that the infamous "no mas" is probably nothing more than a sound bite taken out of cotext. The full sentence reveals that he didn't want to fight with the clown Leonard anymore, (hence the "no mas"). At the time I thought that he was just frustrated and didn't want to chase him around anymore;in other words, he felt like fight or go to dancing with the stars. There was also more to this story, cocerning his health, his diet and his preparation that shined more light on what was a confusing situation. It seems Duran was never one to shy away from controversy. He lived extravagantly between fights, balloned in weight and fought some of the best world class fighters and some real bums. Waht cannot be denied was his ability and his charisma, especially amongst the Latino community. The book begins with his early years, his trials and tribulations. The poverty rags to riches story is detailed, the colorful characters that influenced him,as well as his protagonists and allies in his rise to fame and fortune. He was flamboyant to the max, he wrestled with a pet lion, knocked out a horse with a punch in his youth(supposedly) and was a womanizer. In spite of all his shortcomings he rose to top of the boxing world and won titles in numerous weight classes. There will probably never be another Roberto Duran. In this book it is all told, the good and the bad. If you were a boxing fan during the eighties you gotta have this book. If you're new to boxing check him out on classic fights. He was an amazing boxer who was vicious yet loveable. If it sounds like I have or had a man crush on Duran, you're probably right. I loved the man, he was the ultimate macho boxer. Highly recommended for all boxing aficionados.
Two Words  Sep 5, 2007
Teachers of fiction often make the point that contradiction makes for colorful, rich characters. Christian Giudice's biography of Panamanian boxing champion Roberto Duran in Hands of Stone certainly validates this claim in the realm of reality too. Duran won world titles in four different weight divisions and fought in five decades with a record of 104 wins in 120 fights and 69 knockouts. He is regarded by almost all boxing writers and insiders as one of boxing's all-time great champions. But Duran is still best remembered for his "no mas" welterweight title rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard in the New Orleans Superdome in November, 1980, when he quit at the end of the eighth round. The boxing world has since tried to make sense of Duran's smoldering macho persona, juxtaposed with the unthinkable act of quitting in the middle of a championship fight.

To Giudice's credit, he doesn't over-psychologize, and lets those closest to Duran and the fight itself do the explaining. In fact, Giudice lays out his motivation to write the book in a thoughtful introduction - the book evolved as a matter of his own personal pursuit to answer the question of how and why "no mas" happened. What follows is the biography of a man who is not so much complex as he is certainly contradictory.

Duran's early days are fascinating. From relatives with colorful classical Greek family names like Socrates (an uncle who had uncommon punching power) and Alcibiades (Duran's younger brother whose tragic death he claims his mother never got over), to stories about his early Dickensian street-mentor Chaflan, and the three different versions of his reputed knockout of a horse at the age of sixteen, Duran's early days in the slums of Chorrillo in Panama City make for great reading. Indeed, Giudice's biography is foremost a book for rabid fight fans who revel in boxing's rich trove of gritty stories about survival in and out of the ring.

Giudice describes how enigmatic international businessman Carlos Eleta, from whose property Duran used to steal coconuts, saw Duran fight and became his financial backer. Duran ultimately ascended to the lightweight championship by defeating Scotsman Kenny Buchanan in 1972, despite a controversial foul by Duran. By the beginning of 1980, only Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard had more boxing star-power in terms of persona and charisma - Duran's snarling coal-eyed machismo was unparalleled. With a record of 72-1, he had mopped up the lightweight division and was a tremendous crowd pleaser, staging fierce and unprecedented training sessions with rope-skipping artistry and powerful hitting and had unsurpassed killer instinct in the ring.

Giudice then tells of Duran's greatest triumph, a masterful fifteen round unanimous decision over former Olympic superstar and undefeated welterweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard in their bout in June, 1980, in Montreal. Following this are the details of the infamous "no mas" rematch with Leonard in November of the same year in the New Orleans Superdome, and, finally, his path to redemption in the latter half of his career where he fought brutal battles with some of boxing toughest warriors, including Wilfredo Benitez, Carlos Palomino, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Pipino Cuevas and Iran Barkley.

"No mas?" Guidice lets boxing writers, other fighters, boxing trainers reactions to and/or explanations of Duran's "no mas" debacle. The list includes, among others, boxing trainers Manny Steward, Angie Dundee, Ray Arcel and Freddie Brown; writers Budd Schulberg and Bert Sugar; boxers Jose Torres and Carlos Palomino and Sugar Ray himself and many others. Duran, while never hurt during the fight, was clearly being humiliated by Leonard, who had changed his "stand-and fight" tactics from the first fight, having admitted that Duran's insults to him and his family got to him mentally. Duran's drinking, eating and conqueror's victory parties went on for weeks after the first fight and he had ballooned to at least forty pounds, maybe more, over the welterweight limit. Leonard, after serious soul-searching about losing the first fight, stayed focused and trained hard, believing, unlike almost everyone in his own training camp, that he could defeat Duran in a rematch. Duran, nowhere near the shape he was in for their Montreal brawl, had to lose twenty pounds in the last two weeks before the fight to meet weight. Unable to cut off the ring on the skillfully adept and supremely conditioned Leonard who would stick and move, Duran became more and more frustrated. Worse still, Leonard began to taunt Duran, stuck his head out, wound his right hand around like a pinwheel, and then snapped a jab in Duran's face. An impulsive act of abject frustration and most likely self-acknowledgment that he couldn't win and with the possibility of being knocked out by his hated rival, Duran said to referee Octavio Meyran in Spanish, "I'm not going to fight this clown anymore." The ref, not comprehending that Duran was actually quitting, allowed the fight to continue. When the ref signaled the two fighters to continue after Duran had turned his back, Duran, according to the referee, then uttered "no mas." Leonard, at first confused, then realizing Duran had quit, celebrated. When American broadcaster Howard Cosell, who was announcing the fight, heard only "no mas," these two words were forever engraved into the lexicon of Duran's legacy.

There were claims by Duran and others of stomach cramps as the reason for Duran's quitting. Panamanian journalist Juan Carlos Tapia commented: "He was simply not prepared for the fight. Leonard was beating him bad and Duran said that nobody will knock me out." According to Giudice, Duran seemed in denial of the gravity of his quitting, celebrating with friends and Panamanian military groupies that night. He didn't return to Panama for several weeks but on returning, he found his national hero's status suddenly turned to national scorn with his fans throwing rocks at his home and defacing his mural on Avenida Balboa in Panama City. Duran, who thrived on his connection to the people of Panama, went into a huge depression before he soldiered on for twenty more years in the fight game, not retiring until 2002.

Giudice describes Duran outside the ring as a man who genuinely loved his family and friends, salsa music, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, and a good time, just as he loved a good fight. A man of great courage and self-discipline, he could also let himself go to excess eating, drinking, partying with friends and women late into the night. His wife, Felicidad, and his soulful identification with the people of Panama were the constants in his life. Though he made and lost millions, Duran, according to Giudice, never forgot his roots in the slums of Chorrillo. And, in a strange twist of irony, the U.S. military was responsible for destroying his old neighborhood as result of a fire caused in the 1989 military operation to depose Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

Giudice's writing reveals his own affection for the people of Panama, the tough characters in the boxing world and Duran himself. I was frustrated for lack of an index, and imagine other readers would be too, particularly since this biography will appeal foremost to ardent boxing fans who love insider's trivia. For those aficionados, however, Giudice has presented the first comprehensive biography in English of one of boxing's and the sports world's most dynamic figures as well as pulled together the most comprehensive commentaries by authorities regarding Duran's "no mas" fight. There are other great tidbits including Panama's colorful boxing history, intrigue surrounding Carlos Eleta's role in the United States, Panamanian politics surrounding the 1989 invasion, and much more. For all of Giudice's exhaustive research, interviews, anecdotes and information, I found his first chapter and the latter part of the last chapter the most compelling. Like many who are enamored of and write about the world of boxing, the collision of realism with the Cervanteseque romantic in the author is ever present throughout the biography. He writes in the latter part of the last chapter about Roberto Duran today:

Roberto Duran's hands are soft, fleshy maps of a life of fighting in streets and rings. His knuckles are ghastly bumps, narratives of the men who confronted him. The man- father fiend and son - has lived in extremes. He has stood with presidents dined with world figures, danced with goddesses, defeated poverty, partied with celebrities, sipped the worlds best champagne, driven expensive cars. Draped himself in rare jewelry, and brawled and bested the world's toughest men. He thrived among crowds. When his people turned away, he turned inward; when the world called out, he soaked in its luxuries, still hear its additive call. All fighters do. As his skills reflexes and skills slowly left him he tilted at ghosts that no longer existed.

We impose narrative on events to make sense, often elevating single moments as "defining," as the words "no mas" have become indelibly identified with Duran. Giudice's biography challenges the reader to say "no mas" to "no mas" and "mas" to allowing icons to become once again the contradictory flesh-and-blood human beings we all are.
apache tribe  Aug 6, 2007
My sons and I have had the honor of meeting Mr. Duran in person, in Prescott AZ and he is truly a legend inside and outside the ring. His kindness to my sons, who are amature boxers themselves, is without words. I remember as a young boy seeing him fight and any man who stood toe to toe with him was in for a short night. The book gives the reader the insight of a man who transended boxing, who cared for all the men he faced in the ring and never forgot where he came from. He was fearless in the ring yet wrongly protraded as a villian, his story is a must read and I feel privilaged to say that I have met the hands of stone!!
Fans   Jun 12, 2007
IF you wnat to know learn about a great Boxer this is for you!
In the Camp  Apr 10, 2007
This book is riveting, especially if you are big fan of Roberto Duran like I was growing up. The author does a great job in filling in all the details of Duran's childhood and entire boxing career. From fight to fight, you feel that you are actually inside the trainning camp with Duran while he prepares for his next big fight! - you really get a sense of the true Duran, the boxing world and the business of the sport. If you love boxing like I do and Roberto Duran - you will not be able to put this book down.

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