Mon, Oct 16, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Roberto Duran inducted into Boxing Hall of Fame

AP , LOS ANGELES

Roberto Duran is honored during his induction into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Roberto Duran once said, "There is only one legend. That's me."

As he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame on Saturday night, there was no reason for him to think differently.

"That's right, it's me," he declared through an interpreter minutes before his introduction. "Everybody says it: black, white; everybody calls me a legend. Italians, Jews. Everybody."

Duran, 51, looked little like the man who won five major titles while compiling a 103-16 record with 69 knockouts between 1972 and 1989.

When he was introduced, he walked into the ballroom carrying a flag of his native Panama, having just minutes earlier said that his induction was important not only for himself "but for the whole country of Panama and for my president ... All of Panama is going into that Hall of Fame."

Duran was the biggest name of the 13 inductees that included former champions Matthew Saad Muhammad, Julian Jackson and Eddie Perkins, and announcer Barry Tompkins, and it seemed as if all of the nearly 900 attendees wanted to catch a glimpse, get an autograph or tell of their favorite Duran moment or fight.

That was the case earlier on Saturday when, at an autograph session, an estimated 300 people mobbed him and waited in line for his signature.

Duran said his earliest fights in Panama, "a lot of fights you don't know about," were his toughest because he was an inexperienced teenage fighter going up against older, veteran fighters.

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