December 7th is remembered as “the day that will live in infamy.” As I wake this morning to see gold surging, silver making another 30-year high (closing above $30 in the process), and the alleged “conspiracy” in the “other” precious metal creeping so close to the mainstream as to have a “Hitler Video” all of its own (warning: expletive subtitles a-plenty), I am left wondering whether we will see a few more days in the near future that are as significant in the field of finance as the events in Hawaii were for the entire world back on this day in 1941.Coincidentally enough, this day marks the 21st anniversary of the third and final fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. These two boxing legends were past their peaks at the time of this fight, but their second bout is one that has become enshrined in pugilistic lore.
The Panamanian, widely recognised as one of the toughest men ever to put on boxing gloves and step into the professional ring, was born in the slums of El Chorillo, where boxing offered perhaps the only way out of a life of abject poverty. He turned professional in 1968 at the age of 16, winning 70 of his first 71 fights, including a controversial WBA lightweight crown when he stopped Scotland’s Ken Buchanan in the 13th round at Madison Square Garden — a title Duran would successfully defend 12 times before adding the WBC title in January 1979.
Duran towered over the lightweight division, sweeping all before him but he decided to push the envelope farther still and set his sights on Sugar Ray Leonard’s WBC welterweight title. Leonard was undefeated and the golden boy of the golden age of US boxing.
On June 20th, 1980 Duran and Leonard squared off in their first bout — 15 brutally punishing rounds that became known as “The Brawl In Montreal.” Duran won that fight in a unanimous decision as his legendary toughness enabled him to withstand a blistering barrage from the young Leonard.
Duran refused to wilt under the pressure and when the final bell rang, it was his arm raised high by the referee.
There was never any doubt that a rematch would take place and that bout was set for a mere five months later, on November 25th, 1980, in New Orleans, LA.
Determined to regain the crown which he felt had been stolen from him, Sugar Ray Leonard decided to use his superior speed and agility to torment Duran and he set about dismantling the Panamanian in a devastating display of speed and power. As the fight progressed Duran’s frustration grew more evident as he moved towards Leonard only to find his quarry disappear in a flurry of punches. By the time the fighters came out for the seventh round, it was clear that only Duran’s doggedness was keeping him in the fight as Leonard began to relax and frustrate the Panamanian fighter. Late in the seventh round, Leonard produced a moment that has been frozen in time as he shaped to throw a right handed ‘bolo punch’ only to hit Duran square in the face with a straight left before the two men retired to their corners.
As the boxers came out for the eighth round, the formerly formidable Duran looked a beaten man and, as the round got under way, he did something extraordinary. Turning his back on Leonard, Duran walked back to his corner and quit the fight with the now legendary words “no más, no más’ (“no more, no more”).
Amazingly, a man who had stood astride the boxing world for a decade had finally taken enough punishment and just couldn’t fight anymore.
As the silver price consolidates above $30, I can’t help but think back to Duran’s capitulation and wonder what level of pain tolerance the COMEX shorts possess. As the price grinds higher and turns the screws on the shorts with no sign of turning lower, will they cry “no más” and return to their corner or will they continue to slug it out with an adversary who seems to be growing stronger by the round?
As Max Keiser shapes to throw the “bolo punch” with his Silver Bullet Day, will he manage to land a straight left to the face of the shorts, or will they find the strength for one more stand?
If history is any guide to the future, we can expect to see an attempt by the shorts to let silver consolidate above $30 and draw the stops nice and tight under the price before pulling their bids and swamping the market with short sales in an attempt to drive the price down through the stops – triggering the tech fund sellers who have been accommodating in a way only a pre-programmed machine can be.
When this happens (and you can bet your fiat dollar it will) we will get some idea of just how strong the real bid for silver is as historically, when the market has been extended like this, the retracements have been swift and brutal (averaging about 17% over the past 6 years). Should the next downdraft halt fairly quickly (as I suspect it might), then we could see silver heading into the mid-$30s before we say goodbye to 2010.
NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.