William Joppy vs Roberto Duran
No mas' — again — for Duran
Duran's last hurrah . . . was an abbreviated one when he was stopped in the third round of a WBA middleweight title fight by a faster, stronger — and two decades younger — William Joppy.
"I am finished," Duran said.
He had good reason to say so after perhaps the worst showing of his 31-year pro career.
Duran was beaten and battered in a fight Joppy dominated from the opening bell until it was stopped with Duran nearly defenseless late in the third round.
At age 47, Duran was slow and no match for Joppy, who stung him with jabs and hit him with nearly every right he threw to retain the WBA portion of the middleweight title.
"This was kind of a sad victory for me," Joppy said. "Roberto Duran is a great legend. I've watched him fight since I was a kid. But it's my time now. He's had his years. I want to have mine."
From the time the 27-year-old Joppy (26-1-1) wobbled Duran's legs early in the third round, it was only a matter of time before the fight would end. Joppy hit Duran repeatedly, knocking him around the ring for another minute or so before referee Joe Cortez finally stepped in and stopped the fight at 2:54 of the third round.
It was Duran that the crowd of about 2,000 came to see, and they cheered him as he entered the ring for his improbable try at a title nine years after he last held one.
Duran (102-14) was getting a $250,000 payday and perhaps his last chance at greatness in a career that saw him win world titles five times.
From the opening bell, it was clear that this was not to be his night. Joppy (26-1-1) was younger at 27, stronger and faster and had no trouble in dominating the former champion.