Down in Panama, where Duran had returned in disgrace after the fiasco against Leonard, there was rejoicing in the streets. Schools and offices had closed early on Thursday to allow students and workers to watch the fight live on television, so Panama City was ready to play. When the bout ended and Duran had won, rockets exploded over the city and firecrackers popped everywhere. Estrella De Panama was promptly being hawked with the banner headline GRANDIOSA NOCHE DE REDENCIÓN/DURAN REINA NUEVAMENTE (Grand Night of Redemption/ Duran Reigns Again).
"I don't believe it," Moore said before going into seclusion. "I thought I was stronger. I thought I was a better puncher."
"We were inexperienced, the fighter as well as the trainer," said a subdued Washington.
Duran had joined Arguello, Benitez, Bob Fitzsimmons, Henry Armstrong, Tony Canzoneri and Barney Ross as triple titleholders and he partied that night at Victor's Café on 52nd Street, his favorite haunt. The celebration went on far into the morning. The place was jammed with familiar faces. Ali came by. So did the retired Leonard, who embraced Duran. "I'm proud of you, champ," Leonard said. Even Rodney Dangerfield showed up. "At least you Ye going to get some respect," he told Duran. Of course, not all the old familiar faces were there. "I am proud of him," Eleta said in Panama. Duran was mum on the subject of Eleta, but not that of his former promoter. "After what I did, Don King is probably choking on a glass of water," he said.
Arum was now drinking champagne and talking of grander designs for his new champion. "The fight everyone wants to see," Arum said, "is Roberto Duran versus [undisputed middleweight champ] Marvelous Marvin Hagler. If he beat Hagler, it would be the greatest miracle in the history of boxing."
So far, one miracle is quite enough. "I was born again," Duran said. "I've returned to be Roberto Duran. It's been a long time."