Explaining the regrettable misunderstanding between myself and Roberto Duran
John Scully and Roberto Duran fall out
RING 10 is a very special non-profit organisation run by former New York-based middleweight Matt Farago. They are in the business of helping ex-professional fighters who have come into some sort of difficulty. I know for a fact, for example, that they pay a grocery store in Illinois a regular stipend on behalf of Gerald Mcclellan, so that his family don’t have to worry about his food each month. They have also done a great deal to assist Wilfred Benitez in Puerto Rico, along with many other former fighters. They stage events throughout the year to raise money, including their yearly fundraising dinner that I attended recently in New York City. All proceeds go to the fighters in need.
There were six men who won awards from Ring 10 this year – referee Harvey Dock, legendary New York boxing figure Jimmy Glenn, and former fighters Mike Trapani, Gerry Cooney, Mark Breland and myself. Also on the dais with us were Larry Holmes and Roberto Duran. Guests included Lonnie Bradley, Vito Antuofermo, Junior Jones, Vinny Pazienza and Iran Barkley.
The situation with Duran and myself on the night was a huge and regrettable misunderstanding that unfortunately got a little bit out of control. What happened was, I had left my award behind the dais and gone out to mingle in the crowd after the ceremony, and when I went back to get it it was gone. I had people looking all over for it, before a guy pulled me aside and told me that Duran had my trophy and planned to take it home with him. I was so shocked that I didn’t believe him at first. But sure enough, out came Duran and his entourage, with a guy in the group holding the trophy in his arms. I went up to him and checked the trophy for my name. When I realised it was mine we had some words before I snatched it out of his hands and started towards my car.
By the time I got into the driver’s seat Roberto and his entourage were right outside my car window, and we had some more words back and forth. It got very tense and it was very surreal to me. At that point, with the situation as it was, I had no choice but to believe that my trophy was being taken – that was all I knew. After exchanging some, let’s say unpleasant words with his group, I pulled out and drove home.
The next day, I was contacted by someone from the organisation and they explained that it was just a huge and very unfortunate misunderstanding. Basically, as Duran was leaving he saw my trophy and mentioned how much he liked it. One of the organisers told him that because he was leaving the country in just a few hours, they wouldn’t mind if he took my trophy home with him, and they would just make me a new one in a week or so. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find me to ask and, in a nutshell, I got to Duran before they were able to get to me.
Luckily, I was able to contact Roberto’s daughter, Irichelle, via Facebook and explain the situation to her. She stated that her dad was on his way back to Panama and that he felt terrible about the mix-up. A member of Ring 10 called me to say that Roberto was very relieved to find out why things happened as they did, and he was very hopeful that we can put it all behind us. At the very least, I look forward to seeing Duran at next year’s dinner and hopefully having a bit of a laugh with him over this.
I’ve always been a fan of Duran. I remember way back when I was only 15 years old that I was one of the few people who picked him to score that big upset win over Davey Moore in 1983. Hopefully next year I’ll get the chance to tell him that in person. I have great respect for him and I think he feels the same as me – that this was simply a case of an unfortunate miscommunication.
‘WHEN I REALISED IT WAS MINE I SNATCHED IT FROM DURAN’
PROUD MOMENT: Scully is presented with the trophy that will lead to an argument with one of the greatest ghters in history
John Scully Ex-light-heavy contender