Where did it all go wrong for Laing after shock Duran win?
WHEN Kirkland Laing got on the plane to fly to America to fight Roberto Duran in 1982, he was given two chances of winning. Slim and no chance!.
The mercurial Laing, brought up in Nottingham since the age of nine, had been a pro for seven years and had lost just three of his 27 fights. But he was coming off the back of two crushing defeats by Colin Jones.
Laing was an odd choice for an opponent, but Duran needed a warm-up for his showdown with the unbeaten Tony Ayala Jnr, a fight worth millions of dollars.
Some feared for Laing's safety against the rugged Duran, the first man to beat Sugar Ray Leonard. But manager Mickey Duff was convinced his man could win.
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Duran, the heavier man, looked his usual mean and moody self at the weigh-in and bragged about knocking out Laing. Knock him out! Duran struggled to lay a glove on the elusive Laing and almost gave up in frustration.
Judge Bernard Humphrey scored it 94-96, while Nate McAlpine and Stuart Kirshenbaum had it 96-94 in favour of Laing.
It was voted 'Upset of the Year' by Ring Magazine.
It was a sensational victory and as a result Duff received three lucrative world title offers for his The Gifted One. But Laing went partying somewhere in Wales and disappeared for the best part of a year.
By contrast, Duran went from strength to strength. Ayala was sent to prison for 17 years for rape. Duran replaced him against Davey Moore, made a million dollars. In November 1983, he made $5m in a super-fight with Hagler.
Laing was finally back in the ring a year later but was knocked out by the bigger Fred Hutchings in round ten in Atlantic City.
Laing fought another 27 times, winning British and European titles before vanishing once again after being stopped by Glenn Catley in November 1994.