Sometimes the words of the greats live on long past when they are gone. Angelo Dundee was regarded as one of the greatest trainers in boxing history, having worked with Carmen Basilio, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman and countless other champions. In this “On The Ropes” classics interview with Angelo Dundee, he talked about some of his more memorable moments from his training career, speaking on The Rumble in the Jungle, The Thrilla in Manila, and The Fight of the Century. Dundee also spoke in detail about one of biggest stars in boxing, Manny Pacquiao and also gave his thoughts on the super event he wanted to see then, that people still want to see today, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. Here is what the legendary boxing trainer had to say.
Jenna J: Angelo, the first boxer you trained to a world title was Carmen Basilio. He had a storied career and is most known for his victory over Sugar Ray Robinson. Can you talk a little about that fight?
Angelo Dundee: Well the fight with Robinson was an interesting fight because people didn’t know that Carmen could box because Carmen had to outbox Robinson to get inside and then bang with him. It was an interesting fight and Carmen just fought the perfect fight and he beat the great Ray Robinson.
Jenna J: The most famous fighter you worked with was of course Muhammad Ali. What was it like working with him?
Angelo Dundee: It was like going to a party every other day. It just was a tease, like I’ll give you a little insight. Everybody says Drew Brown. Drew Brown had met Muhammad in New York and then Muhammad comes back from New York and he’s training for a fight. He says, ‘Ang’—he’s training for the (Sonny) Liston fight—he says, ‘Ang, I’m bringing Drew Brown down here.’ I said, ‘What for?’. He said, ‘He makes me laugh.’ I said, ‘Okay!’
Jenna J: What were your thoughts going into Ali’s first title shot against Sonny Liston?
Angelo Dundee: Muhammad felt that he was going to a party. Every fight was like that. Nothing ever bothered him. He wasn’t concerned about the guy. I kept telling Muhammad, ‘you’re bigger than this guy’, because people don’t realize Muhammad went from 182 to 212 pounds. He got bigger, he was a young kid. So when he got in the ring, I told him, ‘When you get in the middle of the ring, stand tall—and look down on the guy’. And Muhammad did exactly that and said, ‘I got you sucker.’, and this was the beginning of the fight.
Jenna J: Ali won the title from Liston, and defended it, but then he was exiled from boxing due to his beliefs and spent over 3 years out of the ring. He had a few tune up fights and then came the “Fight of the Century.” What did you think of that event?
Angelo Dundee: Oh God, that was a happening—great time. What people don’t know is we never left Madison Square Garden after the weigh-in. We couldn’t, there were so many people surrounding Madison Square Garden. So we stayed in the Garden from the weigh-in until the night of the fight. I never used that, they figured you’re going to lift the top out and make an excuse, but we really did and we walked around Madison Square Garden to walk off the food they fed us at the sport club. I sent the guys back and I told them to bring his equipment and to tell my wife I’m not coming and that I’ll see her at the fight.
Jenna J: After the first Frazier fight, Muhammad went on to fight Ken Norton splitting two fights with him, and went on to win a rematch against Frazier, setting up “The Rumble in the Jungle.” What are your thoughts on that one?
Angelo Dundee: Well you know, when I heard I was going to be on your program—On the Ropes—I said to myself they’re going to ask me about the ropes in Zaire. (laughs) And I’m going to tell you, I tightened those stinking ropes at four o’clock in the afternoon but the fight wasn’t until 4am the next day. And you know what happened—the heat stretched the ropes. They were brand new hemp ropes. I didn’t want those ropes to be loose. People try to say that I designed the ‘rope-a-dope’. I thought Muhammad was a dope to be on the ropes. If Foreman hit him with a forearm he would have went through the ropes. That ring was like six feet up in the air—he would have broke his back, the fight would have been all over but thank God it didn’t happen. He was so agile, and so quick, and so smart—he really did some good stuff.
Jenna J: Now the most famous fight of Ali’s career is arguably “The Thrilla in Manila.” It was the third Ali-Frazier bout and it was a war that pushed both men to the edge, and what I am wondering is, if Ali really said to you after the 14th round to stop the fight?
Angelo Dundee: Muhammad always had a knack to suck it up. He came back to the corner and that documentary was a bunch of bologna because he came back to the corner and I said, ‘You got him baby! Get him out of there!’ This is the round they claimed I said he wanted it stopped. No, there was never any stop in Muhammad. I had to stop him that one time and it broke my heart to do it, but Muhammad wasn’t firing back. Muhammad always sucked something up; he had a knack of bringing it out and taking it to get the best of the other guy.
Jenna J: Alright lets talks about one of your other famous fighters, that being Sugar Ray Leonard. How did you end up working with him?
Angelo Dundee: The Olympic team was in New York and we were there, and Muhammad was around and he told Ray, ‘Hey! You want a good trainer? Get Angelo.’ That helped, but then when the group in Washington took him over they asked me if I would like to handle the kid. I told them I’d love to, and I got involved with Ray and he got out of the Olympics. I got along great with Ray. Then when we went to places like Providence and Boston, I made him an honorary Italian. (laughs) Hey listen! I showed him the proper way to twist spaghetti with a fork without using a spoon.
Jenna J: One of the moments from your training career that is the most iconic is when you told Leonard that he was quote “Blowing it.” How do you feel about those words being remembered?
Angelo Dundee: Boy, were those camera guys nice to me. They didn’t tape what I told him before ‘You’re blowing it kid’. (laughs) ‘You dumb, sorry you, what are you slowing down for, what are you doing, you’re fighting the guy’s fight’. Then when I was getting out of the ropes, I said ‘You’re blowing it kid’. Thank God they taped that.
Jenna J: Out of all the moments in your career Angelo, the one that might be the most surprising was when a 45 year old George Foreman landed a right hand that made him the oldest Heavyweight champion in history. Where you surprised he landed that shot?
Angelo Dundee: No, we were looking for that. The guy was dropping his hands so George tapped him with the jab and came right through with the right hand and it was all over. George was that kind of a puncher. You see what he did with Joe Frazier, he picked him up literally with a left uppercut. I was there in Jamaica at that fight. If you see the tape you see a head popping up say, ‘Stop the fight’—that was me. I was watching the fight outside the ring. George was that kind of a puncher. If he got an opening he can get a guy out of there. Old George was a better fighter than young George, he was slower but steadier.
Jenna J: Now Angelo, the last time you were seen working with a high profiled boxer was when Oscar De La Hoya added you to his camp for the Pacquiao fight. Why do you think Oscar came up short in that fight?
Angelo Dundee: The way he (De La Hoya) looked in the gym it looked like he was the winner, but see, the gym is a false impression. To me, you got to know the individual. Pac-Man just was dominant. He was the guy that night and he was the better fighter.
Jenna J: As a trainer, what are your thoughts on Pacquiao as a fighter?
Angelo Dundee: Well he’s got everything going for him. He’s got a great trainer in Freddie Roach. Freddie Roach is a pupil of one of my best friends, Eddie Futch. I knew Freddie Roach as a fighter, God bless him, and he’s a great trainer. He’s a great kid, and it’s a good blend him and Pacquiao.
Jenna J: Finally Angelo, the fight the boxing world still wants to see, is Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, do you think those two will ever step into the ring with each other?
Angelo Dundee: I think Pacquiao and (Floyd) Mayweather will fight. I know the fans want to see that fight and if they have any kind of sense of humanity about it, either fighter, they should fight each other—just for the good of boxing. You know what? I want to go see that fight, that’s going to be a great fight. But you never know with fights. Pacquiao’s fighting a tough guy. You never know one night which fighter is going to win and it’s interesting because it’s one-on-one and to me it’s a kick to watch these guys. And I want to thank you for having me on the radio, because as long as you are talking that means we’re in action.
Mr. Dundee’s looking for “sense of humanity” should be addressed only to Mayweather. All boxing fans knows that Pacquiao has agreed to every condition of Mayweather. He is truly afraid of Manny’s style, he has to show that sense of humanity and should fight Pacquiao in a fair deal. He should not appear coward.
99% mayweather will not fight pacquaio he tries to prolong his career as long as possible so are his handlers why feed the scared gold laying goose to the lion? as for pacman he does care anymore he sued him for defamation already i have heard of any boxer of suing other boxers on avoiding them let history judge ho is yhe better of them
Angelo Dundee must be high on drugs. Why blame pacquiao if mayweather is ducking ?
Yeah the only problem is mayweather and no one else, He feels that Pacman has all what it takes to give him his first loss and probably a KO loss. This is why he will throw all kinds of alibi including sending himself to jail just to avoid a match with Pacquiao. Mind you if the boxing world comes nearest again to making the fight between the two and he cant repeat all his excuses Mayweather will commit another criminal act so he will be put to jail and make him an ex-convict two times.
You sound like a hater! Didn’t Pacquiao just get put to sleep by Marquez? (Didn’t Floyd dominate Marquez after a 20 month layoff?)
Didnt pac destroy cotto easily? Didnt pac destory oscar? Mosley? Hatton? Easy? Didnt pac fight and destroy guys that floyd ducked? Margarito? Clottey? Morales? Barerra? Cotto, oscar, mosley gave floyd hell all the way through the 12 buddy. Floyd never wants to see pacquiao. Pac is faster,better footwork, more ppowerful and a far greater fighting spirit then floyd. Floyds defense will only hold up for so long against a man like pacquiao. Learn the facts idiot.
Are you serious! He would not agree to testing the day before the fight! Now if Mayweather would agree to it, then why wouldn’t Pacquiao? He is scared of needles but has tattoos! COME ON MAN!
This writer asked Mr. Dundee on his thoughts on Pacman as a fighter, but made more mention on Roach the trainer. I respect Freddie Roach a lot, but a trainer to be great must have a great fighter.
Dude, dont look the other way. It is plain to see things in Mr. Roach career as a trainer and a coach,
Mark the boxing popular qoutes “hit and not to be hit”,
for Mayweather qoutes “money and not for manny”.
I think Angelo Dundee must address his desire for Pacquiao-Mayweather bout solely to Floyd Mayweather, I believe he’s the one to be blame why Pacquiao–Mayweather match have never materialize. He’s moving heaven and earth in order that he won’t face Pacquiao, by means of asking conditions after conditions that he know Pacquiao won’t accept. I think it’s time for the boxing fans initiative to force Mayweather to face Pacquiao.
Look, now all of a sudden, Pacquiao doesn’t take tests and Rios is taking tests! Something is fishy! Ariza said it best, there is something not right with Pacquiao!
Pacquiao has gone through stricter drug testing than Mayweather has ever gone under or asked for through VADA. A guy like Angelo’s stature needs to call out the smoke and mirrors coming from the Mayweather camp for never letting this fight happen. At this point the fight smells of an past prime Holyfield fighting past prime Tyson,
when the moment comes that floyd would not have any choice but to fight manny,i’m sure that he will go as far as faking his death just to avoid it…
scared.. just look at the video how floyd was awed by what pacquiao has done to his opponent, he was trying to convince people he cant do those things without the help of PEDS.. pac has agreed already, what else does he want??? he wants the bigger purse!! pac agreed again… now he wants pac to sign with his promotion… haha wtf is that?!! he will always have those excuses… at the end of the day.. pac is a legacy and financially the biggest fight he could ever have… geeez why are people so dumb on who really floyd is… the guy is a fraud and not worth of peoples money
if the fight won’t happen…i am sure that next time floyd will fight and still a handpicked opponent…i hope that nobody will buy tickets…in short , avid fan of boxing will boycott their ppv…
He finally admitted to cherry pick his opponents. This pronouncement should stop Mayweather and his blind followers from thinking he is the greatest fighter of all time just because he is undefeated and being the highest paid boxer.No, no, no my friends. His fights are boring plain and simple and besides he cheated by throwing sucker punch and cheating on agreed weights. Go back in the past and you will know what I mean. Angelo is asking for sense of humanity. Why ? Is Mayweather a human being for his domestic crimes while threatening with harm his own kids? How about flaunting his money while a lot of people around the world are suffering from poverty, hunger, thirst, etc etc.
only people that have poor knowledge in boxing admired mayweather and consider him greatest of all cowards.
I thought Angelo Dundee died last yr or a couple of yrs ago.
When was this interview done? The article says “submitted” on Oct. 22, 2013……
What am i missing here ????
You’re correct, he is deceased I think it was last year.
This was a re-print of an interview done before Dundee passed……
HINDI MANGYAYARI ANG LABAN NA YAN!
Great interview with Angelo Dundee who was a great trainer and great story teller who did great work at ringside doing the color. Jenna asked questions I would have been wondering about myself.
FMJ is still waiting for Pacquiao to slow down. Just like fighting with Cotto. He was ducking Cotto before but after he saw the decline of Cotto, he thought that was the right time to fight him so after tasting blood from Cotto, I think he won’t give Cotto a rematch because he was wrong the first time he fought. Now he’s still waiting for Pacquiao to slow down before he fights him.
The Mayweather clan knows Pac will bash lil floyd. Every family conference they had, same conclusion – Pac will beat Jnr – so no Pac-Floyd. Never fight Pac until he is way past dangerous – THAT’s IT! Pweh!
Ang – haven’t you heard the Pacman is so exhausted with the ALIBI’s OF FLOYD THAT HE CALLED HIM TO FIGHT BOTH OF THEM WITH OUT ANYTHING BUT FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE BOXING WORLD ??? AND GIVE THE PROCEEDS TO CHARITY IN THE WORLD??? AFTER THAT THE FLOYD CAMP CANNOT EVEN COME UP WITH ANY REPLY BUT JUST KEPT QUITE BECA– USE FLOYD MONEY MAY IS FIGHTING ALL ABOUT MONEY BUT NOT FOR MANNY!!!
Angelo Dundee comes across very humble man, rip sir… PAC v floyd probably won’t happen for reasons only shared behind closed doors.. Boxing is business and business is simply as dark and cruel as war,steered by the educated played by the poor to inlightion the lucky few who get to smoke the royal from the hights of a chair with beauty sat on ones side.
Angelo Dundee is one of the most OVERRATED boxing trainer of all time.
Ali’s success was based solely on his boxing skills, ability to take a punch, and to make the proper adjustments during the fight.
– Ali fought Smokin’ Joe 3 times and never did he teach Ali how to negate or counter Joe’s left hook (Dundee was too DUMB to figure out that Ali should be moving to Joe’s right to minimize the left hook’s impact)
– Same with Ken Norton. All Norton had was an overhand looping right. Yet Dundee was too STUPID to figure that one out. Of course Ken had a decent jab but his looping right caused the most damage
Mandy your cards are always so stunning. I love the stamp you used and all the details you added to it. Thank you for a chance to win this adorable stamp.. I hope you are having a wonderful week. HugsahSnnin
Whenever you find the time to talk with us is fine by me. Whatever strikes your fancy to share with us, is also fine by me. I share so many of them not only on my wall but others as well. Peosynallr, I don’t know how you do it all. Sure am glad you do find the time!
Just checked out Coloring the Wind and looking forward to more! The poem, especially the audio version, and it’s accompanying photo are lovely. And, if we would all take our own advice – as you seem to advocate here – there’d be poetry in that, too!Andrea Feinberg recently posted..
I cannot understand why anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of history would be a communist. They have an unbroken record of repression, crimes, mass murder, poverty and serfdom. I detest the Bolsheviks. Long ago in a faraway place called Viet Nam Uncle Sam gave me a wonderful tool for dealing with them: The M60 machine gun.
Muchas gracias. PodÃ©is contar conmigo…pero el curso que viene!!! Dice mi mujer que con tanto Carnaval se me estÃ¡ poniendo cara de gondolero veneciano y que sÃ³lo me falta la mÃ¡scara…Saludos y fabulosa entrada para empezar el V Carnaval de la QuÃmica!!Jose
Has anyone dug a root cellar like this already? How did it turn out? Were there any problems? I’m thinking of doing it (we live in Zone 7) but also considering trying to just put some potatoes in a cooler in the garage.
March 28, 2011 at 9:07 amThanks, Anne! Yes, “adventure” is a great way to put it. I’m looking forward to the day when she can carry her own little luggage through the airport, I always think it’s adorable how kids take that so seriously! Reply
You’re on top of the game. Thanks for sharing.
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