It’s always a pleasure and honor to to talk boxing with the Hall of Fame great Angelo Dundee. Here’s the latest observations from the one and only Angelo, read on as he talks about Sam Peter, Jones-Tarver III, Ricky Hatton, Corrales-Castillo, Tyson and much more:
Scoop: How did the movie turn out (Angelo was a consultant for Cinderella Man, the life story of James J. Braddock which was released earlier this summer)?
Angelo Dundee: "Oh, I had a ball. I spent a month in Australia, three months in Toronto. I had a great time. I never met such fine people in my life. Russell Crowe was a sweetheart, a family guy, a real class act. Ron Howard – I can’t say enough about. All the guys in the movies – I respect them. They work hard, they get up at 5 o’clock in the morning everyday, work all day. Kind of like the fighter’s life. They grind."
Scoop: Did you enjoy the film when you saw it the first time?
Angelo Dundee: "I cried. I seen it three times, cried three times. I had a great time. I really enjoyed myself working with such talent. Russell asked me one day, Want to be in the movie? I can try. That’s how I got in there."
Scoop: Hopkins vs. Taylor, what did you think of that fight, how it turned out?
Angelo Dundee: "I gave Taylor a real shot to win, on account of his awkwardness, his plodding jab. It was a close fight, naturally. I wasn’t surprised, it’ll be that kind of fight again, if they go. He’ll be even better next time – having that crown on your head makes you a better fighter. I’m very respectful of Hopkins. My kid David Estrada worked with him once. (Hopkins) don’t do a number on the guys he works with. My kid learned from Bernard Hopkins. He’s a very nice guy. I see him all the time when he comes down here."
Scoop: Very close fight, who did you think won?
Angelo Dundee: "I didn’t keep score. I’ll look at it again. Innately you don’t want to root. I knew he’d give him a good fight. Don’t know if he did enough to beat Hopkins. Wasn’t sure who won."
Scoop: I know you’re a big admirer of Kostya Tszyu so were you surprised about his fight with Ricky Hatton?
Angelo Dundee: "Amazed. Forget surprised, amazed [laughs]. It just shows you…Isn’t this a terrible life, that there’s always someone out there that can do a number on you? This kid Ricky Hatton just had Kostya Tszyu’s number. To me, Kostya Tszyu was pound-for-pound number one. Hatton had the strength, push and desire to offset Tszyu, because Tszyu is such a good technical fighter. He’s only a kid, that believes in himself, it was a great performance. He did everything to offset what Tszyu tried to do. I was suprised he controlled him physically. Ricky Hatton must be a very strong kid."
Scoop: Who can beat Hatton do you think?
Angelo Dundee: "I don’t know who’s gonna lick this kid."
Angelo Dundee: "Oh man, Mayweather can offset so many people. He’s unbelievable. He fights to beat you."
Scoop: Tito Trinidad and Winky, did you see that? Winky pitched a no-hitter.
Angelo Dundee: "No hits, no errors [laughs]."
Scoop: Were you surprised? I mean, he totally dominated a great fighter Tito Trinidad…
Angelo Dundee: "Nothing surprises me in boxing. It’s always interesting and intriguing. Each fight you learn a little more. I’m always watching fighters and trying to analyze, okay, what would I have my guy do to offset this guy."
Scoop: Corrales-Castillo, what a fight.
Angelo Dundee: "What an exciting fight. What a nice kid Corrales is, he came to the Hall of Fame. He looked out of it. He came back, one punch ended it, a hook."
Scoop: How do you see the rematch playing out?
Angelo Dundee: "Same kind of fight. Survival of the fittest. It’s that kind of fight."
Scoop: Should Corrales use a strategy next time that takes advantage of his four or five inch height advantage? I mean, shouldn’t he box and jab more from the outside?
Angelo Dundee: "Corrales likes to fight. It’s how he likes to fight [laughs]. It’ll be survival of the fittest, whoever gets the lucky shot in. He got it in last time. Who knows, maybe he has the style to beat Castillo ten times out of ten."
Scoop: Jones and Tarver will go at it for the third time…
Angelo Dundee: ‘Interesting, very interesting. I think Jones wants it. He can taste it. But maybe Jones isn’t with us anymore. We’ll find out soon enough. If he’s there he can beat Tarver. Being away maybe gave him the desire to get back. They miss it. The glow was taken away, the spotlight. They’re just another guy."
Scoop: What do you think of this power-punching Nigerian heavyweight prospect Samuel Peter? Did you see him?
Angelo Dundee: "I watch all the fights on TV. So I can keep up with you guys when you call [laughs]. I watch all the fights and I go to the gym twice a week. He’s looking awesome. But we’ll see. The heavyweight division is getting rejuvenated."
Scoop: Peter’s fighting Wladimir Klitschko, the younger brother in September in what will be a very interesting heavyweight showdown…
Angelo Dundee: "Klitschko can’t take a rap. Peter can punch like hell. He figures to hurt Klitschko. He folds real easy. Runs out of gas easy. It’s an interesting fight. Maybe it’ll show how far Peter’s going, he’s an awesome banger, steady. He feels like he’s the man, This is MY domain. He looks it too."
Scoop: Were you sad to see Tyson go out like he did?
Angelo Dundee: "He had a great life. He was a happy kid. He was explosive, exciting. He got people excited. He even got people excited about the last fight. They expected. But the explosion wasn’t there any more. The old movements, the old wiggle-waggle was gone."
Scoop: The fire was no longer there.
Angelo Dundee: "You can’t re-light it. Once it goes, it goes for good."
April 15th, 2008 Mr. Dundee answers fan's email questions…
Q – Angelo, pound for pound who is the best between Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, and Sugar Ray Robinson? You have trained two of them and I’m sure you’ve seen Robinson fight many times. And Angelo, if you had to fit Roy Jones into the pound for pound picture, where would you rank him?-Carl Sims
Angelo says: "Well you see, I explain it this way…You can’t connect anybody to Ali. Then you’re being unfair to people. Muhammad Ali changed the whole scenario. He was the first boxer to do all the talking in and out of the ring. Before Ali, the managers used to do the talking for the fighter. Ali changed all that. The first four years of Ali’s career, they thought I was a mute [laughs]! A lot of guys can fight in the ring but they can’t handle the stuff outside the ring. I think the newspaper guys made Ali sharp. Jimmy Cannon, Shirley Povich, all the great writers back then…they made Ali glib and sharp. He had to be…to deal with their questions. That’s why Muhammad Ali got better and better at it. He wasn’t that sharp as a kid. But he got much better as he went along.
I don’t like to do that (rate the all-time greats). It’s unfair. Each and every one of the boxers you named…they were the best of their time. The best. Hypothetically, Ray Robinson, how can you fault him? He was incredible. So was Jack Johnson.
Q – Do you think Roy Jones Jr. learned/gained heavyweight power in his fight with John Ruiz? -Robert Jackson
Angelo says: "Not really. He learned he can handle strength from a big guy. In other words, he offset him. I don’t think he looked to level him with his punches. If he tried to level him, he may have hurt his hands.
Q – Dear Mr.Dundee. I am currently preparing for my first amateur fight as a middleweight. in your opinion, what are the qualities of a successfull boxer? What does it take to become a champion? Dimitri from Greece
Angelo says: "I wish you luck in your first amateur boxing match! To be a champion, it takes so many qualities. You gotta persevere. You gotta train. You gotta abstain. You can’t be one of the bunch. You’ve got to really give it 100%. Just like in any profession. You graduate kindergarten, then grade school, then high school, you keep going up, up, up. Boxing is the same way. It’s a daily learning. When I go to the gyms now, I see some new things, some different things. It makes me feel good. The learning experience never stops."
Q – Mr. Dundee. Suppose you had the chance to go back in time and train any great boxer of the past century (not just heavyweights) who would you choose and why? Thank you, George
Angelo says: "Willie Pep. ‘Cause I would have enjoyed myself every minute. Because he was such a great boxer. I had the fun experience of working with Eddie Machen. Sid Flaherty – his manager – asked me if I could give him a hand in his fight against Doug Jones in Miami Beach. After the 10th round, I gave him like a sermon, Let’s look good here, this round is important. And Machen says, Okay, Ang, I’ll try not to get knocked out! I enjoyed Eddie Machen. He had a great sense of humor. Pep…oh I loved him. 1948…I had the pleasure of watching him in Madison Square Garden. The Sandy Saddler fights…such great fights. Pep had moves so smooth, such agility. Pep was like watching an artist. Like watching Fred Astaire dance. Pep was the kind of professional, he was kind to a lot of guys. He could have got them out of there. But he would go ten with a lot of guys. Those young kids would just try to knock him out and he’d absolutely frustrate them with his great boxing ability. He was beautiful to watch."
Q – Greetings Mr. Dundee, it’s a great honor to have the chance for you to answer my question. Here it is: As a long-time boxing fan, I often wonder how Muhammad Ali would have fared against some of the other great heavyweights, particularly Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, and Larry Holmes (had the two fought when both were in their prime). With the exception of Holmes, I think Ali would have dominated them all. He would have beaten Holmes but it would have been a tough, close fight. What do you think? Thanks so much, Tim Begany, Trumansburg, NY
Angelo Says: "Scoop you’ll like how I handle this [smiles]…he would have beat that style. But I’ll never say it about a fight. Rocky Marciano won the computer fight with Ali in America but lost in England. Machines make mistakes. So what does that tell you? I think Ali could play with Tyson’s style. He could keep him in the center of the ring, keep him turning and slap that style all over the ring. I don’t like to compare person to person. But style to style…you can get away with that.
There’s talk of adding a new super heavyweight division. I don’t see it. I think this era of big guys will pass on. Because they go into different fields of endeavor. After Lennox and the two (Klitschko) brothers, I think the heavyweight division will be back to normal, with normal size heavyweights. We have a ‘big’ evolution right now."
Q – Dear Angelo, Can you please tell me anything about your former heavyweight Lee Canalito? I saw him fight once and I was very impressed….what happened?? Could he have been a top ten? I wanted to know the answer to these questions for a long time. Also, do you have a fansite? Thank you for your time. Jerry Giovinazzo, Tampa, FL
Angelo says: "What a nice kid that was. I felt bad. I screwed up. I made him go in a movie called Paradise Alley. He was 10-0, he was a genuine talent. I had him at the point, he just fought at Madison Square Garden. Sylvester Stallone called me up, (he said) I need a nice big kid for a movie. Lee could box for a big guy. I had fun with Lee. As a matter of fact, Lee just called me this week. We talked for a while. He has his gym in Texas. I felt he could have had a career as a heavyweight. He never lost. But he got in that Hollywood scene, did Paradise Alley. They wanted him to do a Tarzan movie but he couldn’t because he was too big.
(Could he have made Top 10?) Oh yeah. He was coming along. Like I say, it’s a different time today, guys are getting better and better. That kid we have Attila Levin won by KO (Saturday night) in Tampa. He just got back from a shoulder operation for bone spurs. He’s coming along very well. He’s working really hard, training like a dog, he ready to go. He’s 27, 6-foot-5, 240 and he’s agile. He’s ready to shoot." (Note: Angelo does have a website, it’s www.angelodundeeinc.com.)
Q – How do you see the Toney-Jirov fight playing out? And do you think Klitschko can come back from that loss to Corrie Sanders? Can he be champion again? Yevgeny, Russia
Angelo says: "That’s a helluva fight. That’s a murderer’s fight. That Jirov is some banger. He’s a great, great body puncher. I’ve never seen a better body puncher than Jirov. Toney is fighting better than ever now. But it might be too late. He’s in great shape now. It’s going to be a sensational fight. Toney’s a great guy, he’s happy now. I saw him a lot, making the Ali movie. He was smiling for a change. He used to be a miserable guy. Now he’s much happier. I got along with him famously. We – me and Michael Olajide – choreographed him, we had to make Frazier. It was a lot of fun.
(How about can Wladimir Klitschko come back from his devastating loss to Corrie Sanders and be champion again?) "You could throw out the window most first-round knockout losses. If you go out cold, you’re not ready, it means you didn’t warm-up properly…if you get nailed in that first round, your body doesn’t react as well as if it’s warmed up. You had a guy like Emile Griffith (former Welterweight and Middleweight champion) knocked out in a round (by Ruben "Hurricane" Carter in 1963 at the age of 26). It never happened (to Griffith) again. It’s a lesson learned. It’s a tough lesson learned if you get hit on the chin like that. You know what the old axiom is: ‘Don’t take no fight cheap.’ I don’t know what actually happened there in Germany, I wasn’t there. I don’t know if he was warmed up properly. I don’t know if his mind was really on the fight, with all those anthems. I think he can comeback, yes. He didn’t get seriously hurt. He didn’t take no physical beating. He didn’t take no shellacking. He can comeback and be a wiser, smarter fighter."
Another Interview I did with Angelo Dundee…
By Scoop Malinowski
He’s the elder statesman of boxing trainers…a living legend Hall of Famer…Angelo Dundee is always one of the most enlightening and enjoyable interviews in the sport. Here’s the exclusive latest word from one of the premier characters in boxing history:
Scoop: You were in Australia as technical advisor for Russell Crowe in his upcoming movie "The Cinderella Man" about James J. Braddock. First time there?
Angelo Dundee: "No, I’ve been there before, with Jimmy Ellis-Frazier. I was there before that. I was there choreographing Russell. I have an assistant by the name of Wayne Gordon who does the day-to-day stuff. Wayne Gordon’s a former fighter of mine, so he’s a clone. He’s now the coach of the Olympic team. Russell Crowe is the nicest guy I ever met. The nicest. And he’s an athlete, easy to teach."
Scoop: Interesting that they’re making a movie about Braddock.
Angelo Dundee: "I think it’s wonderful. It’s such a great story line. I can see Russell Crowe having a ball with this one. Jim J. Braddock was a guy that was going nowhere, he was fighting for the food on the table, was on welfare, he used to work on the docks. that kind of guy. And he won the heavyweight championship. And his wife is gonna be played by Renee Zellwegger. Russell Crowe is the kind of guy – I went up to his farm, he’s got a big ranch up there, his mother and father are up there. He’s got an Olympic size pool on the property. He’s got a chapel on the property that he married his wife in. Beautiful place. we flew up there two times. I was there a month – Christmas and I was over at new Years."
Scoop: He must be a big fight fan?
Angelo Dundee: "Yes. He’s very buddy-buddy with Kostya Tszyu. And, in fact, I went to Anthony Mundine’s gym there. And I watched. First time I ever saw Kostya Tszyu train. I never saw a guy train like he trains. For two-and-a-half hours he trains…and then he spars. He’s fantastic. he works out at a clip I never saw guys do…bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing…jumping rope, hitting the bag…boom, boom, boom, boom. And he has a little kid beside him, hitting the bag too. He’s something. I didn’t realize what a hard worker Kostya Tszyu was. then the next thing I know was he hurt his shoulder. you know what’s ironic? you know who else hurt his shoulder? Russell Crowe. he did. he missed the punch working out with Wayne Gordon. Wayne slipped (Crowe’s punch)…I said, next time, stop slipping! he had arthroscopic surgery. Gonna be okay. He’s gonna come to Toronto on the 21st. And I’ll be there on the 21st."
Scoop: How do you see the Jones vs. Tarver rematch turning out?
Angelo Dundee: "Good fight. I think Jones’ll beat him better this time. he went down from heavyweight. Moving up and down in weight takes a lot out of you. Now he’ll be a light heavyweight, where he should be. Jones is a helluva fighter. my gosh, he’s got so many tools."
Scoop: What do you think of Emanuel Steward joining forces with the Klitschko brothers?
Angelo Dundee: "The Klitschko brothers are lucky. Emanuel Steward is a good trainer."
Scoop: Could he be the missing ingredient that takes them all the way? To "world domination?"
Angelo Dundee: "The guy’s been all the way already. he was on the way to become champion against Lennox Lewis. The fight shouldn’t have been stopped. But you know, that’s boxing sometimes. The cut wasn’t in a dangerous place. It wasn’t bleeding into the eye. The younger brother, in my mind, is the better fighter. He’s got so many tools. he throws straighter punches. especially that left hand. he must be a converted southpaw."
Scoop: Do you think, mentally, he’ll get over that KO loss to Corrie Sanders?
Angelo Dundee: "oh yeah, he’ll get over that. It was a surprise KO. But don’t forget about that guy Sanders. He’s for real. He’s always been a real good fighter. Tremendous puncher. He’s that kind of a banger. And he’s a southpaw. Southpaws do funny things."
Scoop: Hopkins vs. de La Hoya looks like it’s finally made for September.
Angelo Dundee: "That’s gonna be the fight. they should just on and fight each other next. Because anything can happen. you never think ahead. Something, anything could go wrong. they should just fight each other next."
Scoop: Golota vs. Byrd looks like it could be a very interesting battle. who do you see winning?
Angelo Dundee: "The style Golota fights is terrible for Byrd. Aggressive. Rough. He’s gonna give Byrd ulcers. He’ll take that trickiness of Byrd away with ruggedness. I don’t think Byrd hits hard enough to hold him off. It’s gonna be like he’s throwing pineapples at Golota. Gonna be interesting. Who’s training Golota now?
Scoop: Sam Colonna of the Windy City Gym in Chicago.
Angelo Dundee: "Sam Colonna – I know him a long time. I root for Sam, he’s a good guy. that Golota, he’s a lot of fun. he likes to have fun. he used to train down here in West Palm Beach. I used to run into him."
Scoop: Could be Golota’s last shot at the title. He’s 36.
Angelo Dundee: "I hope he makes it. then it’s like a dream come true."
Scoop: Last question. who was a great fighter that you saw in your career, who couldn’t miss, but did miss, for whatever reason. Like, from your memory, who is the best fighter we, the public, never got to see?
Angelo Dundee: "Back in 1948, 49, 50. a kid from Utah or Kansas City was 40-0. I can’t remember his name. Hank Kaplan would. he was a real 40-0. In that era it was different. he was a real 40-0. they brought him to the Garden. And he got knocked out and that was the end of him. Took a beating, got flattened. by Tony Janeiro, I think. Kid couldn’t miss. he was 40-0. he was a rough, tough, good credentials, good lookin’ kid. Rough…and he wasn’t sloppy, he was smooth. And he got flattened. never fought again. Broke his heart. The guy had never got licked before. Boxing is the toughest profession you can get in. As a fighter, you got to be so careful. It’s like living in a glass house. if they see you walkin’ down the street with a chick, you’re a womanizer. if you have a Coke in a bar, he’s a boozer! Someome said to me, your fighter was seen coming out of the Eden Rock Hotel in Miami with a girl…I said, by the way, that’s his wife! you think it ain’t tough being Mike Tyson? It must be murder! Everything goes wrong.
Scoop: He’s actually been a real gentleman since losing to Lewis. I saw him at the Klitschko fight and in Atlantic City for Hopkins-Joppy and Tyson was a perfect gentleman both nights, taking pictures, shaking hands, time for everybody.
Angelo Dundee: "That loss to Lewis made him a human being. he doesn’t want to fight anymore."