Fieldnotes – The Sweet Science

I went to the H-Town Eagles Boxing Club to interview Duran Caferro, Junior, whose boxing prowess I had been hearing about for a few years. What I hadn’t realized is what a remarkable person his father is. I knew that Duran Senior had been his son’s coach and trainer. What I didn’t realize is how much of his time and energy he has devoted to helping other kids in the community – through boxing and in many other ways.

Members of the H-Town Eagles club are girls as well as boys, young women as well as young men. All of them look up to Duran Senior. He watches the boxers without expression, then, in a quiet voice, makes a comment or suggestion here, offers a bit of encouragement there, and the kids respond immediately.

Duran Junior is 22 and a single father (whose son is also named Duran). He says he relies on his father both in and outside the boxing ring. This is what he says about his dad: “I trust him completely. In 2007 I made the Olympic trials, which means I was one of the top eight featherweights in the country, and most everyone who was in my position turned pro, and started making money. But my dad encouraged me to stay amateur, to go for the Olympics one more time when I’m a little older and stronger, and have more skills. So I listened to him. There have been times when money was tight, and I thought about the money I could be making, and the glamorous life I could be living. But I’ve never stopped trusting my dad, never stopped trusting his training…because I know he’ll guide me in the right direction.

And so when I step into the ring, I feel at ease, I feel comfortable…because I know that my dad has developed a strategy for me. And that gives me confidence, and gives me strength, and that is something that you can’t put a price on.”