Friday, February 3, 2012

Ali's Dundee Dies Aged 90

Dundee will be missed
Yesterday, the boxing world was in mourning upon learning of the death of one of the all time great personalities within the sport.

Angelo Dundee, most famed for his work alongside Muhammad Ali over the best part of two decades, passed away at the grand age of 90.

Born in Philadelphia, America’s most famous cornerman reportedly suffered a heart attack following a blood clot at a hospital in Florida.

All his relatives were present and his son, Jimmy Dundee acknowledged, “It was the way he wanted to go... All the grandkids were there.”

Dundee worked with a total of fourteen world champions including greats such as George Foreman and Jimmy Ellis in an illustrious career.

Dundee was also in Sugar Ray Leonard’s corner for his biggest bouts including fights with Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez and Thomas Hearns, during which he famously yelled, “You’re blowing it, son. You’re blowing it,” motivating Leonard to knockout his opponent.

Leonard's corner
He will, however, always be remembered for his relationship with Muhammad Ali, formerly known as Cassius Clay, which blossomed from the moment they met.

Ali won Gold in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, after which Dundee took him under his wing and four years later he became world heavyweight champion after defeating Sonny Liston.

Dundee helped Ali mastermind two of his most memorable victories, including the defeat of George Foreman in Zaire in 1974, a fight that was dubbed ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’. Ali also beat Joe Frazier in The Philippines in 1975 in the so-called ‘Thriller in Manila’.

In strange circumstances, Dundee played an even bigger role than usual for Ali during his London-based bout with Brit Henry Cooper in 1963.

They were never far apart
Having been knocked down by Cooper and saved only by the bell, Dundee fashioned a rip in the boxer’s glove in order to buy Ali more time to recover. Needless to say, Ali went on to be victorious thanks to such ingenuity from Dundee.

Muhammad Ali had a unique career, often accompanied by controversy, throughout which Dundee never let his loyalties wonder.

There was an inseparable bond between trainer and boxer and one that Ali will never forget. In the forward to Angelo Dundee’s book, he wrote, “He let me be exactly who I wanted to be and he was loyal. That is the reason I love Angelo.”

It is even claimed Dundee provided Ali with lines during his less poetic moments, although the former champion would be unlikely to admit this.

They say that behind every good man there is a great woman. Well, behind every good boxer there is a great trainer, but Ali was not good, he was sensational.
Legends of boxing
Angelo Dundee, deservedly inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994, was summed up perfectly by promoter Bob Arum:

“He was wonderful... the whole package... the greatest motivator of all time. No matter how bad things were, Angelo always put a positive spin on them. That’s what Ali loved so much about him.”

Written by Dom Wallace


  1. ---Having been knocked down by Cooper and saved only by the bell, Dundee fashioned a rip in the boxer’s glove in order to buy Ali more time to recover. Needless to say, Ali went on to be victorious thanks to such ingenuity from Dundee.----

    Wow, never knew that! That is great stuff!

  2. Angelo Dundee was a legend in his own right, but he too, like Ali, was involved in a few controversial incidents during his career.

    After Ali’s successful defeat of George Foreman in ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ in 1974, Foreman accused Dundee of having loosened the ropes before the fight to aid Ali’s rope-a-dope technique.

    Dundee always denied these accusations but there is no doubt he was a man whose passion and desire to succeed was so great, that he was prepared to win at any cost.

  3. Dundee was a beast! It's super interesting to learn about the people that were behind the scenes contributing to some of the greatest sports moments in history.

  4. So often the athletes in the limelight take all the glory and understandably so in most circumstances.

    It is great from time to time to be blessed with an insight into all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes and credit all the 'little people'. In many cases, without their contribution the wheels would simply stop turning.

    The fascination of Dundee is that he never accepted any credit for Ali's success, stating, "Muhammad was aware of what to look for and he handled it on his own. He did his own thing. I never programmed him."

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