Roberto Duran – Rubber Necking


hands of stone

This article comes with a disclaimer – don’t try this at home! Which really means don’t try this at all and especially not without an experienced guide in the gym, whether that is your boxing partner or your boxing coach.

The video below demonstrates a skill top end fighters do possess, in this case the one called Hands of Stone – Roberto Duran. Now Duran has always been more known for his offence as opposed to his defence, understandable when you have a nickname such as Manos di Piedra – hands of stone but we would be doing Duran a huge disservice if we didn’t give credit to his defensive skills, which were in actual fact equally as good as his attacking skills.

How else can you explain a 5’6 lightweight becoming world champion at middleweight and even winning fights as a super middleweight. You cannot go through the divisions fighting bigger men with harder punches if you do not possess an excellent defence. What Duran shows here is the ability to take the sting off a punch, which cannot be underestimated when as mentioned, you are fighting guys with size advantages.

Roberto Duran did this by great anticipation and managing to move his head away from the punch at the moment of impact, this is also called riding with the punch – or rubber necking. So although it may appear the punch has landed, because Duran has seen the punch coming, he hasn’t just braced for it but he has turned his head away and reduced the impact of the punch. I believe this was essential in Duran’s success of moving up and conquering higher weight classes for one who was a natural lightweight.

You can see in this video Duran takes on the middleweight champion Davey Moore, who is much bigger naturally than Duran and possesses a powerful punch even by middleweight standards, that Duran is able to ride the punch by rubber necking, thus allowing him to do what he does best, which is sit inside and break you down – Duran was arguably the greatest ever at fighting on the inside and because he could ride the punch and reduce his opponents power, he could then sit inside the pocket not worrying about getting caught flush and get to work on breaking you down with his constant inside work. Duran was such a master of the art of boxing it is hard to keep him out of the top five boxers pound for pound of all time in my opinion.

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The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival

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*Any videos or images used on this site to support my articles that are copyrighted are used for educational purposes and in accordance to the fair use act and are not my own - all credit is due to the respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.


hands of stone, inside fighting, manos di piedra, riding with the punch, roberto duran, rubber necking

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