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But do you have flan? (cont.)

Posted: Thursday December 8, 2005 4:10PM; Updated: Friday December 9, 2005 10:54AM
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1. What do you remember from the Buchanan fight?

Duran: They asked Buchanan at the press conference if he had looked at films of me, and he said, "No, I don't need to. He's too slow for me." I started to laugh and I thought to myself, He doesn't know the ass-kicking he is going to get. I didn't think about becoming champion, I just wanted to go in there and destroy him.

[Which is pretty much what happened -- Duran, fighting with great urgency, relentless aggression and as many tools as any boxer ever brought into the ring, overwhelmed Buchanan with a TKO win in the 13th.]

2. What did you do after the fight?

Duran: I went with my friend back to the Mayflower Hotel and drank a bottle of Chivas Regal.

3. Who were the five toughest fighters you faced?

Duran: The no-name fighters that no one ever heard of back in Panama. They were better than Hagler, better than Sugar Ray Leonard, better than Barkley.

4. Are there any fighters today you admire?

Duran [With a look of scorn and a wave of his hand]: No. No one. People say Mayweather, but he has no defense, he runs too much. I wish I were still fighting today, with these fighters and all this money.

5. What did you think of the Jermain Taylor-Bernard Hopkins fight?

Duran: I would have liked to see Hopkins win. He is a friend. But he came out too slow. Taylor came out slower than the first fight, and Hopkins should have expected that and jumped on him. You shouldn't be able to beat a man just using one hand, like Taylor did.

6. Do you ever get back to the gym?

Duran: No, since a bad car accident four years ago, I haven't been able to work out. I like to play dominoes, though. And, really, when I am home I like to be with my family and watch movies. I have 5,000 DVDs.

7. What is your favorite movie?

Duran: I like all movies. Maybe Casablanca. Anything with Humphrey Bogart. And Steve McQueen -- The Magnificent Seven. Also Mickey Rooney -- Rooney, not Rourke [laughs].

8. What about Cinderella Man or Million Dollar Baby?

Duran: [Shrugs] They were not so real.

9. Have you considered a movie of your life?

Duran: Yes. But it would have to be two movies -- one sad, one happy.

10. The most troubling moment in your career was the second Leonard fight [the infamous "No Más" fight of 1980, in which Duran quit in the eighth round; though, as he told Sports Illustrated's Richard Hoffer last summer, he never uttered the words "no más."]. What led up to that?

Duran: After the first fight [five months earlier, in which Duran earned a 15-round decision over Leonard to take the welterweight title], all I did was eat, drink and go to the clubs. I was up to 220 pounds. One day I was in New York and I got a call from my mother back home in Panama. She said that Leonard's reps had called and I had better get home. The fight was made for very soon -- I had maybe one month to get in shape. I lost 57 pounds. I was weak and slow. When Leonard got in the ring and saw that I wasn't as fast as the first fight, his whole face lit up.

Afterward I figured, OK, now I will really get in shape for the third fight and I will knock him out. I didn't know it would be nine years! [Duran and Leonard met for the third time in December '89, Leonard winning a unanimous 12-round decision.]

11. You had a reputation for fierceness in the ring beyond almost any other fighter. Where did that attitude come from?

Duran: That is born with you. When I got in the ring, I was the one in charge. I was the owner of the ring.

12. How are you adjusting to your role as a promoter?

Duran: It is good. You don't get hit.

After polishing off his steak ("This one was good, but the one in '72 was bigger -- and I was hungrier," he said), Duran was asked by one of the Gallagher's waiters if he would like dessert. He would, he said, very much like an order of flan. Unfortunately, Gallagher's doesn't serve flan.

There was some consternation, a joking display of the Fists of Stone and apologies from the staff. Duran had to settle for a bowl of vanilla ice cream, after which he and his party adjourned to the bar area so that the champion could pose for some photos, one of which, no doubt, will soon be up on Gallagher's walls. It might also be worth checking the menu in a few weeks to see if flan is offered.