NO MORE POSTCARDS
I had this friend who for over forty years and wherever he went in his work, he would never forget . It was always just a Post Card. Nothing fancy, just a note on a simple card without a picture, or description as to where he was. His words in a scrawled hand took care of that. Sometimes, it was simply, I'm in Rome. Copenhagen, Madrid or Manila with so and so, just to say hello."
My friend traveled the world plying his trade and there were so many stops and adventures along the way that it was impossible to keep up with him. . I was fortunate to be with him on these jaunts many times. But today I know there will be no more Post Cards.
Yesterday, I asked Susan what I should write about. Unfortunately when I heard that Angelo had passed away, the decision was easy. I had no choice, but to share with all my readers my story about not only member of his sport's Hall of Fame, but also a great man.
Angelo Dundee whose real name was born Angelo Mirena in 1921. His older brother Joseph a local Philadelphia fighter took the surname of Dundee in order to hide from his father that he was Boxer. Joe was 21 years older than Angelo and Angelo was the eighth of nine children. His older brother Chris was the second of the clan to take the last name and Angelo followed his brothers.
His name, along with his brother Chris would provide the Boxing world with two Hall of Fame brothers.
Even at ninety, his death was too soon and unnecessary. How many times had he taken a plane over the years? I can't count the number. As a matter of fact, I cannot even remember the times I boarded a plane to go to work and on a number of occasions, meet Angelo at the destination... Moscow. Nassau, Pesaro, London, or Scandinavia. They all looked alike!
Angelo would sit in his seat and relax. He never moved around the cabin. As I found out earlier this year, when you are younger and your Blood Pressure is much stronger and steadier, it was not a problem. However, earlier this year while traveling from Los Angeles to Miami, having remained seated for more than 5 hours, my legs had swollen to Piano Stool size.
Fortunately, I was traveling with my friend Dr. Michael Gurvey. He immediately saw my problem. I had edema throughout. It was frightening! Michael, however, lost no time, got me on a salt-free diet and elevated my legs. Upon returning , he had me get a complete workup to make sure there were no clots.
Angelo didn't do that until it was too late and he was loaded with Blood Clots. Finally, one broke off and went into his lungs snuffing out a magnificent life.
The tasks followed a set pattern. On Fight Nite, it was From the Hotel to the Arena to the Press Conference to Dinner... never deviating. In every city, Angie had his favorite steak place and he was always welcomed.
Over the years, Angelo was in the corner of at least 45 World Champions. Yet it was Ali and Ray Leonard that Angelo really came to the forefront. He may have achieved fame as a trainer, as well as a corner and cut man. He was gentle man in a world of anger. He was able to navigate without being a politician the rough seas of deception, chicanery and stealth while always being true to himself.
Many will tell you of his exploits in the world of fisticuffs, but only the fighters and their families can tell of his kindness, generosity and philosophy. As great as many of them, they also fell pretty hard. Angie never forgot and was a soft touch and while plying his trade at the highest level, he instilled desire and pried into his charges. He was both a physician and a psychiatrist helping to heal their wounds. After their careers were over, he still watched over them like a doting parent.
There is much more I could write, but I could not do him justice. Together, at least to me, he and Dr. Ferdie Pacheco were like "Batman and Robin." So to really get an insight into Angelo read the book written by "Robin" (Ferdie), Tales of the 5th Street Gym.