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Born This Day Ray Arcel and Angelo Dundee –

“The important part of boxing is not that youngsters realize their dreams, but that they can dream. Every day in the gym they’re something special. They’re a fighter.”  – Ray Arcel

Ray Arcel was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on August 30, 1899. His father was a Russian-Jewish immigrant. His mother was born in Brooklyn. She wanted to leave the Midwest and return to her family and roots in New York, so the Arcels relocated to Manhattan, first to the Lower East Side and then to West 106th Street in Harlem.

Ray’s mother passed away when he was only four years old.  He said that growing up in the older New York days you had to either fight or get beat up.  This was back in the days when street fights were very common and disputes were typically settled with fists.  Ray became a fighter himself but had a short career as he found out that he was much better suited and better equipped to train fighters.  He fancied himself an excellent teacher.

Ray would teach a plethora of world champions across multiple decades, a who’s who list of fighters that included  Benny Leonard, Ezzard Charles, Jim Braddock, Barney Ross, Bob Olin, Tony Zale, Billy Soose, Ceferino Garcia, Lou Brouillard, Teddy Yarosz, Freddie Steele, Jackie Kid Berg, Alfonso Frazier, Abe Goldstein, Frankie Genaro, Sixto Escobar, Charley Phil Rosenberg, Roberto Durán and Larry Holmes.

Ray was best known for his humble, good-natured manners.  Many stories recount his humbleness, as he said time and time again that he didn’t train the champions he taught because they were naturals in the ring that he simply gave pointers to.

“Training fighters is like trying to catch fish. It’s technique, not strength”  – Angelo Dundee

Angelo was born Angelo Mirena in Philadelphia in 1921. He became Angelo Dundee after his brother fought professionally under the name Johnny Dundee, in tribute to a former featherweight champion.  They were of proud Italian heritage.

After serving in World War II as an airplane mechanic he traveled extensively and spent time at New York’s fabled Stillman’s Gym where he learned many of the strategies of a boxer’s cornerman while acting as a “bucket man” to the great trainers that worked  there. His mentors included Charlie Goldman, Ray Arcel and Chickie Ferrera. Later, his brother Chris Dundee opened the ultimately famous Fifth Street Gym in Miami where Angelo worked with many world champions.

In common with Ray Arcel, Angelo would frequently say that many of his famous boxers would have been world champions without him.  He always gave the credit back to the fighters, as the great trainers typically do.  He said guys like Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard were natural ring artists and that he simply guided them at times as needed.

Angelo Dundee is best known for training those two all-time greats.  In addition to Ali and Leonard, Dundee trained world champions Luis Rodriguez, Willie Pastrano, Ralph Dupas, José Nápoles, Pinklon Thomas, Trevor Berbick, Jimmy Ellis, Wilfredo Gómez, Michael Nunn, Sugar Ramos, and George Foreman, as well as others such as Bill Bossio, David Estrada, Douglas Vaillant, Jimmy Lange, Tom Zbikowski and Pat O’Connor.

Born This Day Ray Arcel and Angelo Dundee / Check out more boxing news and videos at The Boxing Channel.

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