Angelo Dundee, who became one of the the greatest and most legendary trainers in boxing history thanks to his tight connection to the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, and many others, passed away on Wednesday. He was 90 years old.
Along with his standing as one of the great trainers in boxing, Dundee was also one of the most colorful, energetic, and beloved men in the entire sport. He was so lively, in fact, that it's hard to imagine that he was 90 years old, as he was the same old Dundee in recent media appearances and interviews that he'd always been.
Just recently, Dundee attended the celebration of Ali's 70th birthday, referring to Ali as "the kid" as he always has, and spoke of keeping in touch with his most famous trainee:
"We're like family," Dundee said. "We've always been family and we're always going to be family. He'll say, 'Angie, I want to come and train. That's what I miss the most. Being in the gym. Working up a sweat.'
"I'll say, 'Me, too, kid. Me, too. We can't do that. But what I can do is make sure you know that I love you.' "
Overall, it's near impossible to find anyone in boxing with something bad to say about Angelo Dundee.
Dundee was born in Philadelphia on August 30, 1921, named Angelo Mirena. He became a bucket man at Stillman's Gym, where he learned under some of the best, and was in the corner when Carmen Basilio defeated Tony DeMarco for the world welterweight championship in 1955, and later when Basilio toppled Sugar Ray Robinson to win the world middleweight championship in 1957.
But it was, of course, his partnership with the great Ali that led to Dundee's fame. He led Ali to his first world championship over Sonny Liston in 1964, and was with Ali for every fight in his career except for two -- Ali's 1960 fight with Tunney Hunsaker, and the Jimmy Ellis fight in 1971, when Dundee trained Ellis.
When Ali's time in the sport waned, Dundee hooked up with Sugar Ray Leonard and was with Leonard for his fights against Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran and Wilfred Benitez. Dundee famously said to Leonard, "You're blowing it, son! You're blowing it!" prior to round 13 of the incredible first fight between Leonard and Hearns, often credited with Leonard picking his game up and scoring a 14th round stoppage win.
Dundee stayed relevant in the game into the 1990s, working with George Foreman for his 1994 shocker over Michael Moorer. With Foreman trailing badly going into the tenth round, Dundee said, "You gotta put this guy down. We're behind, baby."
An exhausted Foreman went out and knocked out Michael Moorer two minutes later.
In recent years, Dundee worked with Russell Crowe on the movie Cinderella Man, and was hired by Oscar De La Hoya as a consultant for De La Hoya's 2008 fight with Manny Pacquiao, which proved to be (to date) the final fight of Oscar's career. He also did some work with NFL player Tom Zbikowski, who had a brief stint in boxing during last year's NFL lockout.
Bad Left Hook sends our condolences and best wishes to the family and loved ones of Mr. Angelo Dundee.