Obit of the Day: Ali’s Corner Man
On December 27, 1960 a young Cassius Clay answered the bell with a new corner man, Angelo Dundee. For the next 21 years Dundee would stand next to the turnbuckle acting as “a doctor, an engineer, a psychologist, and sometimes, even an actor.” From his literal “ringside seat” Dundee witness some of the greatest fights in the history of boxing: “The Fight of the Century” and “Thrilla in Manila” against Joe Frazier and “The Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman. (Yes, that George Foreman.) Even when Ali joined the Nation of Islam with its philosophy of black separatism , Dundee a short, white Italian American, stayed with the champ.
In 1977 while still training Ali, Dundee found himself developing another boxing legend - Sugar Ray Leonard. Leonard a gold medalist in the 1976 Olympics, went professional with Dundee in his corner and became welterweight (fighters must weigh between 140-147 pounds) champion of the world.
Angelo Dundee was actually born Angelo Mirena. His oldest brother, Joe, wanted to hide his boxing career from their father so he adopted the name Dundee. Later Chris and Angelo did the same thing.
Dundee died at the age of 90 because of blood clot he developed when he flew from Florida to Kentucky to visit Ali for the boxer’s 70th birthday.
(Image of Dundee watching Ali train is courtesy of itprojectguide.org)