The Corner-man


This isn’t about cancer tonight.

I just can’t let this life pass on without paying tribute to it…to him..Angelo Dundee.  Arguably the best corner-man, ever, in professional boxing.

The man who had a Midas touch with the likes of George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard and above all, Muhammad Ali.  Angelo Dundee has died at the age of 90.  What a life he lived. One of his classic sayings, “It don’t cost nothin’ to be nice.”  He lived that line.

I was lucky enough to watch Angie work the corner as Ali boxed his way to the front page and into the history books. 

Dundee had a way of getting everything out of his athletes.  He watched his boxers closely and he watched their opponents even closer.  When the bell would ring after a round, he was ready to change-up the strategy of the fight because he’d spotted a weakness;  a lazy left jab, the other fighter was out of shape or he’d simply decided it was time for the KO punch and then time for dinner!

I sat with Angie in a tiny hospital waiting room one night many years ago, as Ali was in surgery for a broken jaw he’d suffered in a fight against Ken Norton.  There we were, just the two of us.  Ali was in surgery to repair the jaw and Angie was beside himself.  He couldn’t believe his fighter, Muhammad Ali, had suffered that kind of injury in the ring and he couldn’t believe he was sitting there with a young sportscaster who was trying to assure him everything was going to be OK!!!  I think back on it now, and I can’t believe it either!!

In some odd way, I think he appreciated my concern that night, not from a journalist who found herself with one heck of a story, but just one person trying to help out another in a time of crisis. 

Many years later, in Los Angeles, at the Olympics, I was shooting a story at the athletes village.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was visiting that day. He had a swarm of Olympic athletes around him.  He was holding court, when word started to spread that Ali was about to arrive.  Next thing I knew, that swarm of athletes turned and ran across the courtyard. Arnold was left holding his pen with nothing to sign because Ali’s entourage had been spotted.  I followed the crowd hoping to catch a glimpse of the Champ, when Dundee spotted me.  He signaled for me and the camera crew to join the entourage.  We became a part of Ali’s special group and we got the story of the day thanks to an old friend, my friend Angie.

Boxing gets so many bad raps.  Some of them well deserved. 

Angelo Dundee deserves all the good words sportscasters and sportswriters are saying about him tonight. 

I tip my glove to the corner-man. Rest in peace.

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