Tampa: Angelo Dundee, the brilliant motivator who worked the corner for Muhammad Ali in his greatest fights and willed Sugar Ray Leonard to victory in his biggest bout, died aged 90.
The genial Dundee was best known for being in Ali`s corner for almost his entire career, but those in boxing also knew him as an ambassador for boxing and a figure of integrity in a sport that often lacked it.
He died yesterday with his family surrounding him, said son, Jimmy Dundee, but not before being able to attend Ali`s 70th birthday bash in Louisville, Ky, last month.
"It was the way he wanted to go," Jimmy Dundee said. "He did everything he wanted to do."
Jimmy Dundee said his father was hospitalised for a blood clot last week and was briefly in a rehabilitation facility before returning to his apartment.
"He was coming along good yesterday and then he started to have breathing problems. My wife was with him at the time, thank God, and called and said he can`t breathe. We all got over there. All the grandkids were there. He didn`t want to go slowly," the son said.
Promoter Bob Arum said he had been planning to bring Dundee to Las Vegas for a Feb 18 charity gala headlined by Ali. He called Dundee a legend in the sport, someone who worked the corner for some of the greatest fights of the times.
Arum credited Dundee with persuading Ali to continue in his third fight against Joe Frazier when Frazier was coming on strong in the "Thrilla in Manilla." Without Dundee, Arum said, Ali may not have had the strength to come back and stop Frazier after the 14th round in what became an iconic fight.
Dundee also worked the corner for Leonard, famously shouting "You`re blowing it son. You`re blowing it" when Leonard fell behind in his 1981 fight with Tommy Hearns, a fight he would rally to win by knockout.
Chautala also said that WSB will help the boxers to gear-up for the tougher challenge ahead.
"Normally there are three rounds in a bout, but here (in WSB) they have to fight five rounds, which will help them to raise their stamina. Besides the competition is also very tough."
He also revealed that the boys will travel to Cuba after the qualifiers for training.
"Currently we have a camp going on at Patiala. We have engaged 12 coaches including two foreigners to train our wards. The boys will also travel to Cuba after the qualifiers for the training," he said.
The president also reposed faith in the women pugilists.
"Three of our girls will participate in the upcoming qualifiers, and two of them are certainly medal prospects, that brightens our chances," he said.
The Indian girls will compete in the World Women Boxing Championship to be held in Qinhuangdao (China) in May with an aim to seal a berth for the London Games.
Chautala hailed the players for their effort in bringing the country on the boxing map and said the boys really "worked hard" to attain the status.