Vinny Pazienza - "I Beat Duran Twice, But I Don't Even Count That."

by James Slater: Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" was one of the most colourful fighters of his era. A genuinely proven world class fighter, Vinny captured recognised world titles at two different weight classes. Also, in two of his famous victories, Pazienza out pointed the legendary Robert Duran. But, in a recent interview with Setanta Sports, Vinny, now aged 46, said he doesn't count the two wins over Duran due to the age "Hands of Stone" was at the time..

"How crazy and ironic life is," Pazienza remarked. "When I was an amateur fighter, the Duvas took me to Madison Square Garden to watch Roberto Duran fight Davey Moore. So I was sitting there watching, thinking look at this this guy he's awesome, he's an animal. And who would have thought in a million years that I would end up fighting Roberto Duran twice? When I fought Duran, I beat him twice but I don't even count that. It doesn't count because he was like 90 when we fought! He was older than he is now (laughs)."

Refreshingly honest, as well as being full of praise for Duran these days, Vinny also spoke of one of the Panamanian's great achievements - one he himself would emulate.

"He [Duran] became the first fighter in history to go from lightweight to win a world title at light-middleweight," Pazienza said. "Who in the world would have thought I'd be the second to do that?"

Indeed, Pazienza did follow in Roberto's footsteps, winning the WBA 154 pound title in 1991 with a 12th round TKO of the previously unbeaten Gilbert Dele - this after having won the IBF lightweight championship with a points win over Greg Haugen four years previously.

A rough and tough fighter, who was also capable of boxing very smartly, Vinny had a big following of fans in his day. Pazienza lists his win over Dele as his career-best showing.

"That was my greatest night," Vinny told Setanta when speaking about the win over Dele. "I knew to win I had to box. And in the end I knew I was the puncher and I was stopping him."

Vinny went on to tell Setanta how a movie of his life is soon to be in the works. As many fans will know, Pazienza suffered a broken neck in an accident, only to return to the ring - against all expectations - in 1992. Obviously, no movie about the man would leave out this incredible chapter in his life.

"We're working on the life story soon of when I broke my neck," Vinny revealed. " It will be on the big screens. James Caan, he's going to play my dad, and his kid, Scotty Caan, will play me. He's a hot actor right now, he was in Ocean's eleven, and he can fight as well."

The move will surely be interesting. Based on the exploits of a true warrior like "The Pazmazian Devil," how could it fail to be?

Article posted on 09.05.2008

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