Roberto Duran Beats Ken Buchanan this Day June 26, 1972 and wins the lightweight crown
- Roberto Duran 132¼ lbs
- Ken Buchanan 133½ lbs
- TKO in round 13 of 15
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA
- Referee: Johnny LoBianco
- Judge: Bill Recht
- Judge: Jack Gordon
- WBA Lightweight Title (3rd defense by Buchanan)
Buchanan was a 2-1 favorite.
Buchanan earned $125,000 (a then-record purse for a lightweight) and Duran received 15% of the gate.
A crowd of 18,821 at Madison Square Garden paid $223,901 to see the fight.
Duran scored a flash knockdown early in the first round. Duran hit Buchanan with a right, and Buchanan broke his fall by placing both gloves on the canvas.
Duran took liberties throughout the fight, primarily in the form of head butts and low blows. The only warning he received was for a low blow in the 13th round. Sports Illustrated reported: “Duran…used every part of his anatomy, everything but his knee, and he would be accused of that breach of etiquette, too.” Buchanan said, “I had no protection from the referee tonight.”
Going into the 13th round, the referee and both judges had Duran ahead by a wide margin. Referee Johnny LoBianco had the fight scored 8-3-1, judge Bill Recht had it 9-2-1, and judge Jack Gordon called it 8-3-1. The Associated Press scorecard favored Duran 9-3.
The two fighters fought after the bell ending round 13, and Duran caught Buchanan with a low blow. Buchanan collapsed to the canvas and grabbed his groin. He was able to get up but had to be helped to his corner. The referee took a look at Buchanan and stopped the fight. Buchanan said, “They helped me to my corner and then the referee said I couldn’t come out. I told him I could keep boxing, but he said, ‘You’re not coming out.'”
United Press International reported: “Ken Buchanan looked like he had been mugged in a back-alley. His left eye was cut and partially closed. There was a slit under his left eye and his groin was throbbing with pain.”
Doctor A. Harry Kleiman of the New York State Athletic Commission examined Buchanan after the fight and said, “He has a swelling of the right testicle. He’s in extreme pain.” Years later, Buchanan said the low blow “dented my protector and metal burst into my right ball. I was peeing blood for days.”
Duran dismissed Buchanan’s claim of a low blow, saying, “A lot of boxers try to make you think they were hit low because they are losing. I won it legally.”
After the fight, referee LoBianco said, “The bell rang, and they didn’t hear it. Duran landed a hard blow to the solar plexus area. It was a fair blow.” Sports Illustrated reported: “Later in the week, slow-motion replays of the television film seemed to convince LoBianco that the Scot was hit below the belt.”
Sports Illustrated reported: “The fact is that he [Buchanan] was never in this fight, and he dropped his title as if it were a stick of dynamite. Generously, he won two rounds and drew another. Beyond that, it was all Duran as he bared the white of his mouthpiece, not to suck in breath but out of disdain, and chased the Scot into the ropes, a part of the ring’s geography that is evil country for a boxer beset by a puncher.”