The Edge of Fight: Helena’s Duran Caferro Stays Active June 8

Young boxers can never find a single good reason as to why they should remain inactive. In marked contrast, seasoned boxers often become so sedentary – generally fighting no more than twice a year – that it drives fans insane with frustration.

Helena lightweight Duran Caferro Jr., 135 pounds, age 24, with a professional record of 5-1, sees no reason to wait for the ping of the next bell.

He has the bonfire in his soul and the pangs of famine in his belly. He knows that the more he fights, the more exposure and experience he will amass; the more exposure and experience, the better his odds of achieving his goal of a title shot by the end of 2014.

Next up for Caferro is a showdown with 29-year-old Angel Torres, of Los Angeles. At 5′ 5″, Torres holds a 2-11-2 record, battling in gym wars in hotels, casinos, and theatres in California and his native New York. Torres holds the edge in ring experience, and he has gone a full six rounds twice. On June 8, at the Helena Fairgrounds, Torres is expected to force Caferro to display all his talents.

“That’s the idea” says Duran Caferro Jr. “The idea is to get the experience. I feel as if I’m physically prepared to go eight or even ten rounds, but it’s not familiar, and I don’t know what it’s going to be like.”
Torres can slug it out, and he will press Caferro.

“Torres has the reputation of being an outstanding amateur boxer,” says Duran Caferro Sr., who serves as his son’s manager, trainer, and, in this case, promoter. “Talking to Torres, it seems as if he has taken a lot of fights he really shouldn’t have, and that there is really no one looking out for him. He had success in the New York Golden Gloves. Very tough.”

Duran Caferro Sr., understands a thing or two about toughness: he boxed growing up, and when he moved to Helena from Whitefish in the early 1990s, he quickly took to coaching it. When junior was around eight, dad figured it was time to teach his son the basics of boxing. It wasn’t, however, until Duran junior was about thirteen years of age that he began to grasp its first cardinal rule: if you don’t work your ass off, you are going nowhere fast.

Indeed, the boxer’s fanatical devotion to training is epic. “Between the ages of thirteen and fifteen,” says Duran Sr. “he began to be successful, and he began to understand the hard work involved. Years earlier, I had been dragging him to the gym. But at around thirteen, he started to drag me to the gym.”

In order to become a household name, which, by the way, is pronounced Durr-en, the young fighter has to showcase the champion’s intensity in front of the hometown crowd. In short, he needs to fight and excite. He needs to feint, bob, weave, and always have some part of his body in motion. In an unacquainted non-pugilistic town such as Helena, he has to exhibit the very best ingredients of the artful and gallant cyclone known as boxing.

Hungry for victory, Caferro is a nonstop worker in the ring. Still developing the tenets of a dangerous puncher and an unyielding competitor, he hopes to carry the sport to new heights – locally and state-wide.

“Duran has a loyal group of supporters and sponsors,” says Duran Sr. “We hope to enlarge that audience. We have amazing support from working-class people and have had great support in places such as Choteau. In Choteau, the high-school kids really came out to watch and support him.”

Duran has already worked many long and hard years to reach this early phase in his professional career; the compulsion, tenacity and dedication of a boxer in pursuing his dream is unequaled in any other sport. Dad appreciates this; he understands the hard smack of leather and the unrelenting sweat that boxing commands. So, too, does his son.

“Duran (junior) has the ability to bounce back and overcome true adversity,” says Duran Sr. “He was emotionally devastated when he lost in his third fight. You find your true character and what you are made of by losing. Some would have quit or taken time off, or even self-destructed. Two days later, he was back in the gym. His character has been revealed. It’s inspiring.”

That character is something that should earn him respect from fans. Duran will highlight a card that also features a pair of other professional fights, as well as several semi-pro bouts.

“I’m excited about the overall card,” says Duran junior. “There are young guys and up-and-comers fighting. It should be an exciting show. To be fighting on the same card with Jon Jay Mount and Jesse Udhe, guys I remember watching in the amateurs when I was a kid, is an honor.”

Duran Caferro’s seventh professional bout takes places at the Helena Fairgrounds Saturday, June 8. Doors open at 6 p.m.; fight begins at 7 p.m. Other bouts include a middleweight contest between Jon Jay Mount, of Fort Belknap, against Arnold Sisneros, of Rocky Boy; a pair of Kalispell-area middleweights Jesse Udhe and Andrew Howk face off. Ticket prices: ringside $30, general admission $20. For ticket information, call (406) 459-2270.

Brian D’Ambrosio lives in and writes from Missoula, Montana.