New Delhi, Aug. 24 -- Athletes aren't orators and boxers are most eloquent with a gloved fist. Every Muhammad Ali left jab was a jolting interrogation. And yet athletes will occasionally surprise you with something plain yet poetic, encapsulate a life in a grim, terse sentence, and it will never leave you. Like Ruel Durano, whose face is a blur but whose words I once wrote about and can't forget.

"I loved boxing, but boxing never loved me back."

We met in a Manila suburb in 2015 when Manny Pacquiao fought Floyd Mayweather Jr in Las Vegas, and Durano, an ex-fighter turned coach, a teller of stories of faster days and small purses, was 48 and still imprisoned by the ropes of a ring.

I thought of Durano because I had been having lunch wit...