MIAMI — The venerable 5th St. Gym in Miami Beach is the reincarnation of one of the most hallowed halls in boxing history.
The new gym opened in 2010 only a few feet from where late Boxing Hall of Fame trainerAngelo Dundee worked with fighters over the years in a gym of the same name.
“We hear from people all around the world,” co-owner and coach Matt Baiamonte said. “People from the Reunion Island, Europe, Africa come in to visit this place. They love to see the boxing history.”
Old bout posters are plastered over the walls. But unlike the old gym, it’s not done to cover holes in the plaster.
Celebrities such as actor Matt Damon, supermodel Adriana Lima and comedian Dave Chapelle are among Baiamonte’s regular clients. Baiamonte also has carved out a lucrative, growing business as a personal trainer working with a growing list of NFL players.
James was first, arranging a workout early in the lockout.
“He came in by himself,” Baiamonte said. “Two or three people were with him. They told me he just wanted to come in and work and get out, and they couldn’t pull him out of here. He was here for two or three hours, looking at the boxing pictures and just enjoying the atmosphere.”
Working with the 6-foot-11 Bosh was particularly memorable.
“He hurt my shoulders,” Baiamonte said. “I had to hold the mitts when I raised my shoulders to take his shots. He’s a nice guy, really quiet. But once he started going, he really came alive.”
Baiamonte noted that all three were reminiscent of fighters he has seen over the years.
“His build and the way he moves, he’s more like a Tommy Hearns. He’s got that long reach he just snaps in there.”
“Honestly, I think LeBron reminds me a lot of Muhammad (Ali). He’s so athletic in the way he moves. He picks up things very quickly.”
“D-Wade to me is more like a Sugar Ray Leonard. Very fast who likes to move and stick.”