Where Boxers Fear to Tread

By Clarence George on January 21, 2014
Where Boxers Fear to Tread
Opened in 1919, Coiba was home sweet home to Panama's most dangerous criminals.

The few who have traveled to the decaying prison since its closing 10 years ago claim to have heard whispers and screams…

“There is evidently little, if anything, of first-rate interest to be seen – except, perhaps, one thing which I should not care to see.”—The Treasure of Abbott Thomas by M.R. James

A snowy day in New York, metal-gray and cold, and I thought it might be cozy to watch an episode of Destination Truth, a TV show where a group of intrepid explorers travels across the world to investigate paranormal phenomena—to Argentina in search of El Pombero, a dwarfish creature that impregnates women with a mere touch of the finger to the tummy, to Java in the hunt for the Ahool, a giant bat, to the Gobi Desert in quest of the Mongolian Death Worm, a creature whose name pretty much renders explanation unnecessary. An interesting program. Besides, one of the cast members, Erin Ryder in tempting tank top, is awfully easy on the eyes.

Three years ago, the team traveled to Coiba Island, the location of a notoriously brutal prison some 15 miles off the coast of Panama, surrounded by shark-infested waters and crawling with poisonous snakes. The facility opened in 1919, and was home sweet home to Panama’s most dangerous criminals, as well as to the political opponents of Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega. Torture was anything but uncommon, and included being tied to a basketball rim by the hands, hanging there for days.

The few who have traveled to the decaying prison since its closing 10 years ago claim to have heard whispers and screams, to have seen lights and shadows. One such witness is none other than Roberto Duran.

Team leader Josh Gates met with a plump and prosperous-looking Duran, who used to train on the island, and had seen and heard…things. Remember what Adlai Stevenson said to Valerian Zorin, “Don’t wait for the translation”? Well, I didn’t have to wait for the translation of Duran’s answer when Gates asked if he’d ever go back. He won’t.

What’s this, “Manos de Piedra” afraid of Casper? A 33-year pro with 103 wins, 70 by knockout? A Hall of Famer who faced guys like Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Iran Barkley? Up there with Joe Gans, Benny Leonard, Tony Canzoneri, Lou Ambers, Ike Williams, and Beau Jack as one of the greatest lightweights of all time, in addition to his star quality as a welterweight, junior middleweight, and middleweight, a-scared of things that go bump in the night?

Fear not, Erin Ryder! Should you opt to return to this grim and grisly island of lost souls (and perhaps your sometime colleague, the equally toothsome Jael de Pardo, might join us), and should Roberto “No Mas” Duran be too timorous to come to the rescue of a fair damsel in distress, I shall protect you from the sharks and snakes and lights and…shadows…and…whispers…and…screams…and…

Well, I would. Unfortunately, I’m as a busy as a bee, a beaver, Grand Central Station, popcorn on a skillet, a one-armed paperhanger.

So, Erin, if you and your flaunted flesh will excuse me…like Professor Hinkle in Frosty the Snowman, “I’ve got to get busy writing—busy, busy, busy!”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Isla Coiba Panama APT 3

Read More Blogs
Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Ted 12:15pm, 01/23/2014

    It’s great. Also see the movie “The Texas Killing Fields.” Somewhat similar.

  2. The Fight Film Collector 06:09pm, 01/22/2014

    Also read about “True Detective” and was wondering.  Thanks.

  3. John Wilkinson 04:51pm, 01/22/2014

    -I need a LAWYER-!

  4. Ted 10:36am, 01/22/2014

    Who is the hag on the right?

  5. Ted 10:34am, 01/22/2014

    True Detective rules. My new favorite.

  6. Clarence George 10:06am, 01/22/2014

    Thank you, Irish, and I agree—that girl is muy sexy.  I like how insubstantially she’s dressed…clothes woven together by raindrops.

    No, I haven’t seen “True Detective,” but I’m looking forward to Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden.

  7. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:21am, 01/22/2014

    Clarence George-Another gem!....I don’t know about visiting La Isla Coiba but I do know a thing or two about asses and in my view, the chica in the video above has a sweet, heart shaped ass and the whoopin’ Duran put on Barkley’s ass was a work of art as well. Which reminds me….. are you checking out “True Detective” on HBO?....good stuff… so far anyway.

  8. John Wilkinson 09:16am, 01/22/2014

    -ALL ADS-!!!!!! [PRETTY/ -SEXY- GIRL,Woe !]

  9. Ted 08:28am, 01/22/2014

    Holy shit!

Leave a comment