Angelo Dundee passed away this week. World Champion Boxer Vinnie Curto trained at Angelo’s famous Fifth Street gym in Miami for 17 years, and recounts his stories & his take on the reasons for Angelo’s unparalleled success at training champions.
I’ll never forget as long as I live, the man who seemed to have invented, ‘’Don’t argue with success.” He was a full of life, no nonsense type of individual, a big giver in sports and business. Everyone who trained at the famous Fifth Street Gym enjoyed interacting with people from all over the world to meet the man, the myth, the legend, and the slew of Champions that he personally developed.
I arrived at this highly-regarded “School of Hard Knocks” in the world in 1972 fresh out of the Navy. Although I did not win my World Championship belt until I was 41 years old, when I made a comeback out of Los Angeles, I have to give him some credit. But there were another dozen world champions who Angelo was personally responsible for developing their wares — a feat that can never be duplicated. From Carmen Brasilio to Muhammed Ali… it’s not what they did it’s how he made them do it and made them believe.
If Angelo Dundee had me just two years more I would have been the undisputed Supermiddleweight title holder. If you did a move like let’s say a lead right hand and it worked you would go back to your corner and Angelo knew well that a right hand lead, without first dictating with a jab, you are asking for problems. But if it was working, when you were about to go out and fight again for the next round, he would mention that lead right hand again right before the bell rang.
I’ll never forget the time in 1976, at the Fifth Street Gym Angelo said, ”Hey kid, ride with me to Miami; the amateur nationals are being held there.. I want your opinion on a new kid.” We went and watched this kid put on a boxing clinic. He won, and advanced to the finals but he got a cut in his mouth got him out, although he’d already qualified for the Olympics. Angelo introduced me to the kid.” Angelo said, Vinnie Curto I want you to meet my new fighter from Maryland. Ray, this is one of my future champions, he’s a great middleweight. I stuck my hand out and he warmly accepted and said ”Hi Vinnie, my name is Ray Leonard.” Sugar Ray went on to be another of Angelo’s great success stories.
Vinnie Curto is a world champion boxer/trainer and screenplay writer. From writing hit movies, to acting in movies and worldwide commercials, to training the neighborhood kids at risk at his home gym, Vinnie gives his heart and soul to the world.