Agrazal came outside, pulling a chair next to mine. Inside, somebody was playing something Colombian: a fast, dangerous beat that matched the pace of the training under the tin roof. I could hear Enrique: he didn’t growl like Agrazal, instructions almost a request. His heart was not into training other fighters.

Agua no escuchara,’ Agrazal rasped. He threw the towel that he always carried as a tool of his trade, onto the ground.

The man had trained world champions — he was worth listening to. At the expense of his education, he had learned part of his trade as a boy polishing shoes on Panama’s testy streets. Ten years old, not much bigger than a runt, he had had to fight to protect his patch. When he took up the gloves, he became a great boxer, but not a champion … many exceptional trainers aren’t. Women loved him. They would come to the gym, be waiting on the street, in doorways, always different ones. They were his pride.

There was another reason for Agua’s belligerence toward Agrazal. He was not getting all the attention. Agrazal was also training a woman, but what a woman: Olga ‘La Cobra’ Julio, had already made four attempts to win world titles. She had lost those but had a long and impressive professional record and would shortly be given another chance against the outstanding Argentinian, Yesica Bopp in Buenos Aires. La Cobra was a Colombian and a lesbian. The lesbian part bothered Agua marginally, his Catholic upbringing had seen to that, but mostly it was because she was a woman in what he thought of as a man’s trade. I also suspected that jealousy was playing a role. Agua had once complained to me that La Cobra had had four chances to win a title, and that he would have needed only one.