Feature | Jun 03 2017

LONG READ Angelo Dundee on Muhammad Ali

In April 2010, Matt Christie spoke to Muhammad Ali’s now passed trainer, Angelo Dundee. This is what he had to say about their incredible journey
Muhammad Ali
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I FIRST met Muhammad way back in 1959 and he was 16 or 17 years old. I was with [future world light-heavyweight champion] Willie Pastrano while he was preparing to fight Alonzo Johnson in Louisville, Kentucky and I got a call: “My name is Cassius Marcellus Clay and I’m the Golden Gloves champion of Louisville, I won the gloves in Chicago, I won the gloves in Seattle and I’m going to win the Olympics.” This was him; the energetic kid who wanted to talk to me because he had seen me on TV because I had about six fighters who would fight every other week on CBS back when we had public television. He wanted to talk to me because he was curious how I trained my fighters.

He came to the hotel and I was staying in a room with Willie. I had to keep my eye on Willie and keep him on the straight and narrow because he had an eye for the women. So anyway, I say to Willie, “There’s a kid down there, some nutter who wants to talk to us.”

I had no idea who he was because I never paid attention to the amateurs. I let him come up to the room and he came up with his brother Rudy and we had a conversation and it was beautiful. It was like a kid at school who wants to learn more, and Muhammad wanted to learn more about boxing.


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