Feature | Highlight 4 | Issue | Premium | Jan 07 2020

Watching the boxing with Roberto Duran

Declan Warrington ventures to Panama to watch Joshua-Ruiz II with living legend Roberto Duran
Roberto Duran
REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun

ROBERTO DURAN is sat barefoot, on the edge of a modest sofa in his living room, surrounded at any one point by 21 relatives and friends and awaiting the start of the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jnr. So infectious and audible is his enthusiasm he remains the centre of attention – even during what might have been the most significant fight of the year.

Boxing News, after fearing having arrived at the wrong front door in Panama City given the ease with which it could be approached by anyone tempted to reach perhaps its most famous resident and then experiencing how long it took for someone inside to open it, immediately understood the delay upon entering. If grander, flashier and colder properties can be found elsewhere within the city, at that point none of them would have been louder.

The two televisions – the bill in Riyadh is also on in the kitchen for those watching with less interest, including Duran’s wife Felicidad – are turned up to a volume that feels similar to that experienced when first entering a cinema screening. If during the quieter moments that volume initially seemed excessive, once in the living room that rarely felt the case. The instantly recognisable 68-year-old is as animated as those communicating incessantly around him – often as much with their hands as their mouths, and in smaller groups – drowning out not only the commentary but much of the wider scene.