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Roberto Duran: One of Kimball’s Four Kings

Four-KingsCan you name two famous Panamanians? Former dictator Manuel Noriega has been in the news lately. And how about former boxer Roberto Duran? I am reading a book called Four Kings by George Kimball about boxers Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler and Duran who all fought in the same era at the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s.

Duran is a particularly fascinating figure, who succeeded in the ring thanks to his incredible aggression and yet he will always be known for mysteriously giving up halfway through a fight with Leonard and uttering ‘no mas, no mas’ as he turned away. When he won a championship, 300,000 flooded on to the streets of Panama City to greet him on his return but after he was knocked out by Hearns he was thrown into jail as soon as his plane touched down in his homeland. Although boxing is one of the hardest sports to relate to as a reader (who can truly imagine what it’s like to go six rounds with Mike Tyson?), it’s a sport that generates amazing books.

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