Roberto Duran KOs Esteban DeJesus This Day March 16, 1974
- Roberto Duran 134 lbs
- Esteban De Jesus 134¼ lbs
- KO at 1:11 in round 11 of 15
- Location: Gimnasio Nuevo Panama, Panama City, Panama
- Referee: Isaac Herrera
- Judge: Harmodio Cedeno
- WBA Lightweight Title (4th defense by Duran)
Duran entered the fight a 2-to-1 favorite but less than 90 seconds into the fight the Puerto Rican challenger caused lightning to strike twice as a blistering hook to the point of the chin dropped Duran for the second consecutive meeting. Duran’s partisans jumped out of their seats as they called for their hero to get up, but they need not have worried, for Duran arose and exchanged blows as if nothing had happened.
The third round was particularly torrid as the two lightweights swapped punches at an amazing pace. They whipped dozens of power shots at one another and the crowd did their best to yelp in time with each of Duran’s blockbusters. By the middle rounds Duran had cemented his dominance, not only because of his incredible pressure but also due to the scorching Panamanian heat. According to ABC’s Howard Cosell, the temperature was in the mid-90s and the humidity made the site feel like a ‘steam bath.
A five-punch combination highlighted by a hook to the body and a right to the temple caused DeJesus to sink to the floor in the final minute of the seventh. Duran smartly moved inside and pounded DeJesus’ ribs in the eighth, during which an up-and-down combination nearly floored the challenger. Duran now was landing a prohibitively high percentage of his power punches and the effects were etched in DeJesus’ face, body and behavior. His fighter’s heart commanded him to soldier on and he did the best he could under the circumstances. But his body could muster only so much energy and resistance and eventually DeJesus reached his limit.
DeJesus tried to keep his distance early in the 11th but Duran closed the gap, then closed the show. A five-punch volley that included a hook to the body and a final right to the head decked DeJesus for the second time. Without the energy or the will to go on, DeJesus began to rise only after referee Isaac Herrera tolled the final 10.