Thursday, 2 February 2012
Angelo Dundee. We lose a boxing legend.
The seedy world of professional boxing captured so well by writers like Damon Runyon and AJ Liebling has a stock of classic locations including the smoke filled small hall and the losers post-fight dressing room, but it's the old style boxing gym that has always captured my imagination. I'm talking about real gyms here, not the ludicrous chrome and carpet fitness emporiums so loved by the chattering classes, but the gym as a workplace for one of the worlds toughest jobs. The smell of sweat and lineament, the sound of skip-ropes and the rat-tat-tat of the speed ball, the pounding of the heavy bag and the grunts as fighters hone their craft in the ring. All this is overseen by that most venerable of fight game characters - the trainer. The old time boxing trainer belongs to an age before degrees in sports science. He is a master in the art of staunching blood, taping hands and looking into the eyes of a young fighter and deciding whether or not to send his charge out for one more round. The knowledge has been handed down from generation to generation or gleaned from the hedgerows of experience.
The boxing game mourns the loss of Angelo Dundee at the age of ninety. Angelo was best known to the general public for his work with Muhammad Ali but the venerable trainer and corner man had worked with many of the top fighters of the post-war era including Carmen Basilio, Willie Pastrano and the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard. He was a true boxing great.