One of boxing's all-time greatest trainers, Angelo Dundee, has skilled-up 15 champions throughout his career, including Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman, and the great Muhammad Ali. We caught up with him at the re-opening for South Beach's famed 5th Street Gym, where Angelo trained "The Greatest of All Time"...sorry LL Cool J.
How old are you?
Age is a mind thing. You're as old as you want to be. I stay young because I work with young people.
No really, how old are you?
The first time you met Ali, did you know he was gonna be great?
No. The time I knew he was gonna be a great fighter was when he got hit on the chin one night, and he was out on the way down. But when his butt hit the canvas his eyes popped open and he woke up. That's when I knew.
What're your thoughts on the fragmented state of boxing today?
It's got its highs and lows. It'll come back. Once we get a couple kids where the public recognizes their names, and they don't have to speak Russian, then we'll be alright.
Who was the hardest puncher you ever saw?
There's [Sonny] Liston, [Bob] Satterfield. I had a pretty good banger in Florentino Fernandez. He hit Foreman on the arm and he broke his arm.
Who had the fastest hands?
Oh, Muhammad, Muhammad. Then there's Willie Pastrano and Willie Pep.
How incredible was it to train Mark McGrath?
But seriously, who was the better fighter, Ali or Sugar Ray?
Oh, they're both great in their own rights -- they were different weights, different styles, different people. There's not two alikes in this business.
How did it feel to totally be a better actor than Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man?
I didn't outshine him. He kissed me on top of the head. We're friends.
Have you ever cooked on a George Foreman Grill?
I got one! But I didn't get it from George.
And what do you cook?
Steaks! Of course.
Did you or did you not loosen the ring ropes to help Ali rope-a-dope during the Rumble in The Jungle in Zaire? Don't worry, we'll only tell tens of thousands of people.
No no no, the ropes were loose.
So that story's bs?
I tightened the ropes at 4 in the afternoon and didn't take into consideration that the ropes would get loose from the heat. So it was 4 the next morning [when the fight occurred].
Is it upsetting when people call you "Alligator" instead of "Crocodile"?
No son, I'm not Crocodile. Crocodile Dundee was a unique man from Australia.
How do fighters not get distracted by the ring girls?
The ring ropes?
No, the girls, the hot girls that walk around with the cards.
Yeah yeah yeah. No, I don't let them look at 'em. I look at 'em. I'm harmless.