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“I Thought Dundee Would Live Forever”




118 Angelo Dundee  DM31091JPG Doug MurrayI thought he’d live forever.

Over the last few years, Angelo Dundee never seemed to age. He just seemed to grow wiser, maybe a little shorter. He was a bald Italian icon with a million stories to tell and a life expectancy of  about 110. At least that’s what I hoped.

He was boxing’s goodwill ambassador, a guy who was always looking ahead to the future and never paying too much attention to the past. And what a past he had.

“Eighty-eight and never been late,” he told me one afternoon at a training camp in Tampa a couple years ago. “And I’m doing great.”

That was Dundee, always sharp and alert, always willing to talk if you asked him a question.

In his last few years, he kept popping up at boxing shows, at boxing gyms and at boxing functions in the Tampa Bay area, a 90-year-old legend hanging around the fight game, drawing a crowd and bringing a little life to everyone’s party.

The trainer of 15 world champions, the list includes Carmen Basilio, Jose Napoles, Ralph Dupas, Willie Pastrano, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard and his most well-known work of art, Muhammad Ali.

Dundee was a major player in all of Ali’s fights, including the “Thrilla in Manila” against Joe Frazier and the “Rumple in the Jungle,” against Foreman.

Even at 90, Dundee would talk about finding a new heavyweight contender and taking him to the heavyweight championship of the world. He never stepped away from boxing, but lived as close to it as he could get, always looking for prospects and bragging up the game.

His giddyup had slowed down over the years and his heart took a beating  in December  2010 when Helen, his wife of 58 years, died at the age of 85. But his wit and humor weren’t gone for long.

“Ninety years. He had a helluva ride,” said legendary boxing matchmaker Johnny Bos, who lives in Clearwater, FL just a few miles down the road from where Dundee lived in Palm Harbor. “I saw him at his wife’s funeral over a year ago and I wouldn’t have given ten cents for him to last another month. He had the bad hip (from a slip) and he was hunched over in a wheelchair and his wife had just died. But he made a tremendous comeback. I had lunch with him about a month ago in Clearwater and he was walking around and seemed fine.”

Dundee, who died Wednesday night in Tampa Bay with his children and grandchildren close by, recently traveled to Louisville, KY to celebrate Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday. And Bos wondered if that hadn’t taken a little out of him.

“He always looked forward to the future and you never heard him say a bad word about boxing or anyone in boxing,” Bos said. “I think he was the greatest spokesman boxing has ever had.”

I remember calling him a day after his 90th birthday in  August to tell him happy birthday. He wasn’t in, so I left a message wishing him the best. The next day, he called me and apologized  for not getting back to me right away and to thank me for remembering his birthday. I didn’t tell him, but his birthday was one of the fight game’s worse-kept secrets.

Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009, Dundee had a favorite saying he lived by and would repeat every time it needed to be said.

“It don’t cost nothing to be nice,” he’d say.

He practiced what he preached.

I guess I was right. In a way, he will live forever.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura



The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.



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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score



This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.


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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland



On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda


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