Opinion | Feb 25 2019

The key to beating Muhammad Ali and other short stories

From Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier to Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis and more, Jack Hirsch recalls his small interactions with some of the biggest personalities in the sport
Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali  |  Action Images

IT was legendary public relations man Irving Rudd who told me that if I want to become a boxing writer then I should think of a fresh new angle to write about that no one else had ever used before. Over the years I have written a few, but this latest one is unorthodox to say the least in that it has no semblance of order. It is about some small interactions I have had with boxing’s biggest personalities that were too short to write a story about yet are fascinating in nature. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I liked reminiscing about it:

In the summer of 1983, I met a close friend of Jim Jacobs’, who in turn arranged for me to speak with Cus D’Amato on the telephone. D’Amato mentioned that he could have trained Muhammad Ali had he chosen, but that he had no patience for the Ali circus. Cus said that Ali always listened to him, but felt bad that he paid no attention to what his trainer Angelo Dundee was saying. “Why do you put up with this nonsense”? D’Amato asked Dundee. According to D’Amato, Dundee said it was because it helped him get his other fighters through being associated with Ali.

“Nah, Ali did not want Cus to train him,” said Dundee when I relayed the story. “Cus gave Ali money during his exile from the ring, Muhammad always remembered kind gestures like that.”