Tampa, Florida- He was known as the “Prince of Oz” spending decades training the best of the best in boxing. Ali. Sugar Ray. Foreman. 10 Connects Angela Jacobs takes a walk through boxing lore with a legend, Angelo Dundee, arguably the best trainer in boxing history.
“To me, it’s evolution,” says Angelo, describing the basics of his beloved sport. “We’re waiting for someone to root for.”
PHOTO GALLERY: A Boxing Legend: Angelo Dundee
With that wisdom, Angela Dundee picked prize fighters.
“I’ve been around forever. I’ve been around since 1948.”
Sixty-two years, and so much success.
“My first champion was Carmen Basilio,” says Angelo as he pages through a tribute book HBO created to honor his career. “My champion, Jimmy Ellis, George Foreman, who I worked with became champion.”
There were fifteen World Champs in all who he made famous faces. All his fighters were like sons.
“Mohammed, Louis Rodriguez, Sugar Ramos, Ralph Dupas ” recites Angelo.
His historic relationship with “The Greatest” continues today.
“One of the biggest things,” says Angelo. “He worked as hard as he talked.”
Hollywood came calling in 2000 when who but Angelo should train Will Smith for the movie ‘Ali.’ Next came ‘Cinderella Man,’ schooling Russell Crow and playing a cameo of his real life role.
“It’s been a lot of fun. Still fun.” says an energetic Angelo bouncing around a Tampa gym on a warm May day.
Even at 88 years old, the Hall of Famer isn’t far from the ring.
“I’m like a pig in slop!” laughs Angelo. “I know all these guys. You’re watching another fighter; you might see the next star coming around.”
Simply grateful for a remarkable career, Angelo is charmingly direct and down to earth. Willing to help on any level, he’s currently advising friend and protégé Matt Baiamonte as welterweight Cristina Swanson readied for a recent pro debut.
“As a kid watching him on TV with his fighters, and now to be working with him, it’s just, I wake up everyday I still have to pinch myself,” says Baiamonte, who, along with Angelo, has reopened Miami’s 5th Street Gym, that Angelo’s boxing family, the Dundees, made famous.
“It’s unbelievable, even sitting and watching a fight with him, he can just pick the fight apart,” Swanson adds. She is also a Tampa Firefighter. “Having the most famous trainer in boxing work your corner is a blessing.”
While he has slowed his schedule, don’t ask Angelo about retirement.
“What retire? When I die!” laughs Angelo. “Then, I’ll retire.”
After all, there’s always one more fighter to find.
“All I’m waiting for is a guy like Mohammed Ali,” he smiles. “Come up and say, ‘Ang, would you mind working for me?’ I’ll say, ‘No way, I’ll be happy to work!'”
Angelo is also the author of “My View from the Corner: A Life in Boxing,” (with Bert Sugar) published in 2008.
Angela Jacobs 10 Connects