by Tito S. Talao
I HAD no idea a movie is being made on the life of the legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran entitled “Hands of Stone” until I came across the info in an entertainment news concerning, of all people, singer/rapper Usher Raymond, one of the coaches in NBC’s “The Voice.”
As the article goes, Usher’s ex-wife, Tameka Raymond, is reportedly organizing a 5K walk/run in honor of their late son, 11-year-old Kile Glover, who died in a boating accident more than a year ago.
One paragraph reads: [Tameka] Raymond said Usher will be unable to attend the event because he’s out of the country filming the movie, “Hands of Stone.” The Grammy-winning pop star is playing the role of Sugar Ray Leonard in a film based on boxing great Roberto Duran.
Whoa! That set me off Google-hunting, and this is what I found:
Usher will indeed play Sugar Ray, Duran’s ring nemesis. Oscar winner Robert de Niro will appear as Ray Arcel, Duran’s trainer, Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love) as Arcel’s wife, and Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez, who played a CIA directive in “Bourne Identity,” as Roberto Duran.
Directed and written by Jonathan Jakubowicz, the biopic traces Duran’s rise from the slums of Panama to become one of boxing’s greatest performers.
A highlight of the film will be Duran’s epic battles with Leonard, and the inside story of the enigmatic “No mas” ending to their second fight where Duran turned his back in the closing seconds of the last round and quit.
Shooting started last September although no release date has yet been set.
This should be worth waiting for, if only to find out what happened to Duran, a fierce and unyielding warrior, after he threw in the towel and practically disgraced himself and his country.
Lots of heavy drama right there, most probably.
As for Sugar Ray Leonard’s character, well, that would depend on how much importance the director gives Duran’s tormentor in the film, and how convincing Usher portrays the role.
Since Duran fought Leonard three times, Usher is almost guaranteed a long exposure in the movie. Now if he could come across as swashbuckling as Apollo Creed was to Rocky Balboa, then the stage, literally, could be set for Leonard-Duran IV.
With Usher shuffling around, and Edgar Ramirez going after him all over the ring.
It’s a pity how seemingly irreversible Danny Ildefonso’s soured relationship with the powers-that-be at San Miguel has become.
One unfortunate interview and everything Danny I worked for to build in the past 13 years came crashing down.
From where some PBA observers sit and watch, Ildefonso, they say, has two options: one, announce his retirement and continue working on mending his bridge with SMC top brass, or two, bite the bullet, move over to another ballclub and sign up for a couple more conferences, but risk burning that bridge forever.
Either way, Danny I painstakingly would have to give up something to achieve another.
Sad since none of these should have happened in the first place.