As the legend that is Roberto Duran made his eighth successful defense of his WBA World Lightweight Title against Lou Bizzarro at the County Field House in Erie, Pennsylvania on Sunday 23rd May 1976, it was clear Duran was approaching his prime. Duran had won his title from hall-of-fame fighter, Ken Buchanan in 1972.
Bizzarro, a local legend wasn't the biggest puncher but was a game and spirited boxer, Although this might not be one of the biggest fights of Duran's career, this was certainly the big achievement of Bizzarro's career.
The fight saw Bizzarro trying to outbox, or in other words, avoid, Roberto Duran, but the classic Duran footwork and pressure were too much for the young fighter. Duran would stop Bizzarro in the fourteenth round of a fifteen-round prizefight. Bizzarro might have been undefeated on paper but had never fought a fighter like Duran - before or even after that evening. Prior to the stoppage, Duran dropped him twice in the tenth round.
More interesting is that Duran didn't even speak of this bout in his biography, as the Sunday afternoon bout broadcast on network television was a formality.
Duran would be argued about as one of if not the best lightweight ever four years later when he defeated "Sugar" Ray Leonard. We have rarely seen a fighter with the technical skill of Duran, who is as mean. Normally, fighters are either ferocious or talented. Duran was the rare instance in which he was both. Duran fought all the legends of his era and never backed down from a challenge. Duran amassed an impressive record in world title fights of 16-5 (13 KOs), with wins over the previously mentioned, Ray Leonard, Ken Buchanan, Esteban De Jesus (twice), Davey Moore, and Iran Barkley.
The lasting legacy of Bizzaro beyond this fight is Biazzaro's business ability. From a restaurant to a local promotion in Erie, Pa, Biazzaro built a business empire in his region. In fact, to this day, in the Erie, Pa area, is Bizzarro Promotions. Not all great moments are great at the moment, but Bizzarro facing Duran made him stand out from the rest of the fighters in his era, that fought mostly developmental talent.
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