A Boxing Ring in Panama

Since I was a small boy growing up in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro, I listened to boxing matches on our big living room radio.  Back then, Ismael Laguna was the most popular athlete in the country.

When I graduated from primary school and traveled to the capital city, I had the opportunity of viewing two life-experience boxing matches of Roberto “Mano de Piedra” Durán.  Once against Esteban de Jesús from Puerto Rico, and the second against Héctor Thompson from Australia.  I was seated far away from the ring, since I couldn’t pay the exorbitant prices of ringside seats.  After that, I viewed boxing matches on television.  Never again attended a boxing fight at the actual venue.

Recently I returned to a boxing gym, probably to remember the Panama’s golden boxing era when Panama was the center of boxing in Latin America together with Mexico and Puerto Rico.  I went to the ring, in the middle of the gym.  It was an experience difficult to describe being right there where the real action takes place, where men are separated from the boys.

Below are several pictures of the Gimnasio Pedro “El Rockero” Alcázar located in the humble neighborhood of Curundu in Panama City, Panama.  Here we go.

Snapshot of one of the corners of a boxing ring in a gym in Panama City, Panama. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.
A closer look at a cornerside of a boxing ring in Panama City, Panama. The floor canvas looked considerably dirty and deteriorated for lack of maintenance. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.
Snapshot of a corner of the boxing ring with a water disposal accessory. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.
Snapshot of the boxing ring at the level of the floor canvas. It felt soft like a sponge under my feel. It was a wonderful experience being up there where the eagles fly. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.
Snapshot of the whole ring of the Pedro "El Rockero" Alcázar's Gym. It was a marvelous sight with a soft touch of light falling from above. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

Video:  Roberto Duran Versus Esteban de Jesús (November 17, 1972) – Boxeo WS

24 thoughts on “A Boxing Ring in Panama”

  1. As I mentioned in a previous comment I was captain of a boat owned by the man who ran “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler’s training camp for 10 years. The ring Marvin trained in was the same one that Rocky Marciano trained in. My boss had bought it from the Marciano family and installed it at the resort the boss owned on Cape Cod. As a boxing fan, myself, I couldn’t resist getting up into the ring to stand in one corner and try to imagine the Rock or Hagler in the opposite corner waiting for the bell to ring and come out and tear my head off.

    1. Hello Richard:

      That is exactly how I felt when I pressed my feet against the soft canvas of the ring. My imagination carried me far and wide.

      Thanks for dropping by,


      1. Thank you for this post. I plan to travel to Panama in the coming year to feel this firsthand. I am highly interested in reviving Boxing in Haiti to give Haitian youth a different reality. Any contact information fould be welcome.

      2. Hello Romande:

        I’m only a boxing fan. I’m afraid I don’t have any boxing information for you. When you get here, I suggest you contact Panama’s PanDeportes, the public entitiy that regulates sports in this country.

        Thank you for reading “Lingua Franca”.



    1. Hi Rob:

      Yeah, this is the same fight. Duran lost this fight but won on the revenge in Panama City. After that fight, Esteban de Jesús retired from boxing. He had been too hurt by Duran’s blows.



  2. Congratulations on being freshly pressed, excellent post. As the wife of a boxing fan, the only sports he likes and follows, thank you for highlighting a homegrown gym. Humble but powerful, many of the boxing greats come from the humblest of surroundings, especially in Panama. Great job!

  3. Sr. Omar… felicitaciones!
    Es la 1era vez que veo un panameño en los “Freshly Pressed.” Ha logrado Ud un estupendo foto.reportaje,.. aunque me hizo falta ver algun rostro de los deportistas de Currundú!!
    abrazo bloguero desde La Villa de Los Santos.

    1. Hola Irina:

      El reportaje del Gimnasio Pedro “Rockero” Alcázar comprende varios días con sus respectivas fotografías. Para el día de mañana, 8 de julio de 2011, tengo programado incluir varias fotografías de un boxeador aficionado que entrenaba en el gimnasio el día que lo visité. Está cordialmente bienvenida a visitar Lingua Franca el día de mañana.

      Saludos cordiales a la Villa de los Santos y a sus escritores. Gracias por sus comentarios positivos que me motivan a seguir escribiendo.



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