WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza was at the SVA Theater in New York City on Monday to attend the red carpet premier of “Hands of Stone,” the biopic about the life and times of “Manos de Piedra” (“Hands of Stone”), the one and only Roberto Duran.
“This film had an outstanding cast that was tasked with telling the story of a man as complex as Duran,” said Mendoza. “The World Boxing Association rewards the effort, dedication and perseverance of everyone involved in the film and the actors especially certainly are worthy bearers of the black belt and gold. For me, it is a pleasure and honor to present this award.”
The WBA president then presented each of the stars of the film with a mini black and gold belt, a symbol of the integrity and sincerity of the oldest professional governing body in boxing.
The actors who received the award were Academy Award winner Robert De Niro, who plays Duran’s trainer, the legendary Ray Arcel; Usher, the pop star who plays Sugar Ray Leonard; Ana de Armas, who plays Felicidad Iglesias, wife of Duran; Pedro “Budú” Pérez, who plays the role of Plomo Quiñones, Duran’s head coach; and of course Edgar Ramirez, who had the commitment and acting chops to bring Roberto Duran, one of the glories of boxing and a hero to the Panamanian people, to life on the big screen.
Pictures by Fernando Fraguela
Each actor received a replica of the same belt that Duran himself wore after he won the WBA title.
After the presentation, Mendoza spoke with each actor about the life of “Manos de Piedra” and explained the value of the belt and what it represents for each gladiator who, after a long period of training, sacrifices and hard fighting, won and wore the black and gold with pride.
Mendoza said that the film “is an excellent contribution to the history of boxing that revives the passion that pugilism creates. But ‘Hands of Stone’ also focuses on the desire to be respected above money at the same time as it recognizes the mission of this sport as a vehicle that facilitates social improvement. In addition, the film did an excellent job recreating the atmosphere of its time and the historical context of Panama. And with a man like Duran as its central character, the film, like Duran himself, reaches all parts of the world.”