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The Magic Of Roberto Duran

 

 

By Scoop Malinowski

A woman walks into the Ringside Lounge in Jersey City with her friends. She notices the boxing photos on the walls and tells the owner Mario Costa that she really likes the place and would like to bring her father for his birthday, adding that her father was a boxer.

Who?

“Roberto Duran.”

So on Saturday, Roberto Duran arrives to the Ringside Lounge with Irichelle, who lives nearby, and her brother and Duran’s son Victor, named after Roberto’s long time friend Victor Del Corral who opened Victor’s Cafe in 1963 on W 52nd Street in Manhattan.

It ended up being a very happy birthday. Mario Costa is a legend of boxing, managed Arturo Gatti, Matthew Hilton, friends with Mike Tyson, Mike McCallum, Panama Lewis, Nino Gonzalez (in photo with Duran – they fought in 1981 in Cleveland, Ohio, Duran’s first fight after No Mas)… Endless stories were shared, about Panama Lewis, his old sparring partner Luis Resto, the Viruet brother fights (Edwin and Adolfo were from Jersey City). Teddy Brenner set up the 1983 Duran vs. Davey Moore fight because everyone thought Duran was finished and the grand plan was to match Moore vs Wilfred Benitez after he beat Duran. “Duran was listening to me. He hugged me about four times,” said Costa.

Mario called Mike Tyson to tell him about the surprise guest Roberto Duran and Mike “went crazy.” Mario sent the photo of Duran eating a plate of salmon and vegetables, Tyson said, “he’s eating my food!” Everybody knows Duran is Tyson’s all time favorite fighter.

Duran was wearing white New Balance sneakers, the same thing Tyson wears.

Duran is 72 and in great health, his mind and eyes are as sharp as ever. His legs are still not fully recovered from a recent scooter accident in Panama when the four division world champ was going to the beach for a swim, which he likes to do on Sundays. He weighs 170 and his hands are huge.

Mario took Duran to see some very old photos and posters on the walls of the bar, which he signed. Also on the front wall of the exterior of the bar is a poster of Duran with the Panamanian flag. Also tributed with posters are Arturo Gatti, Mark Breland, Mickey Walker, Terence Crawford. Duran is up there because Mike Tyson requested he be.

Duran shared some memories too. He earned $100,000 for just going to the recent big fight in Saudi Arabia, along with Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes… he attended Arum’s show at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night… oh and some stories I can’t share here which are too personal. Duran had such a good time he said he’s coming back whenever he’s in New York/New Jersey.

Roberto Duran just enjoyed one of his happiest birthdays of his life in Jersey City, NJ. Duran will turn 73 on June 16.

 

 

 

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