Angelo Dundee Laid To Rest; “The Greatest” Pays His Respects To His Former Trainer

By James Slater: Yesterday in Clearwater, Florida, legendary trainer and corner-man Angelo Dundee was laid to rest. The boxing master passed away last week at age 90, and yesterday the funeral services took place. The star attendee was without doubt Muhammad Ali, the former three-time heavyweight king whose amazing boxing career was guided and at times masterminded by the man his friends and family knew as “Angie.”

As reported by, Ali sat in the front row during the service; a pair of boxing gloves (most likely Ali’s) placed on a corner stool. The service, attended by hundreds, lasted 80-minutes and though Ali himself is unable to communicate his feelings with words these days, his wife Lonnie spoke for the former champ.

“He [Angelo] used to call us all the time and say it don’t cost nothing to be nice,” Mrs. Ali said. “Whenever we saw Angelo there was a smile on his face. Muhammad’s not an easy person when it comes to boxing because Muhammad thought he knew how to train himself. He had that ego. But Angelo somehow realised that the best way to make Muhammad great was to get out of his way, to let him do his thing. He really didn’t have to coach him. He just had to come in and do the little things.”

I remember seeing a TV interview with Angelo, with Britain’s Harry Carpenter asking the questions, and Dundee explained his way of teaching the young Clay (as Ali was still known at the time) without him even knowing he was being told what to do. “Angie” explained how he wanted his fighter to throw a left hook, and he’d tell young Cassius how “that left hook you threw was beautiful.” Low and behold, Dundee explained, Ali would then throw a ton of left hooks in the next round of sparring!

Of course, the great man who was laid to rest yesterday trained a vast number of great fighters besides Ali. George Foreman, Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Leonard spring to mind. All Angelo’s former champions had nothing but good things to say about him. Even the promoters, sometimes the toughest guys in the sport to deal with, liked and respected Angelo.

“He made all of our lives better,” Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who promoted a number of Ali’s big fights, said.

Getting back to Ali; The Greatest has been seen at a couple of moving funeral services just lately, what with his one-time archrival Joe Frazier passing away back in November. No well man himself, Ali saw to it that his presence was felt when both “Smokin’ Joe” and “Angie” were said goodbye to the world.

In short, there will never be another Angelo Dundee, there will never be another Muhammad Ali.

Article posted on 12.02.2012

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