The Greatest trainer: Ali's legendary cornerman Angelo Dundee dies at the age of 90
Angelo Dundee – the man who trained Muhammad Ali to glory – has died at the age of 90.
Dundee is believed to have died of a heart attack on Wednesday evening after suffering from a blood clot in recent weeks which saw him hospitalised in Florida before being moved to a healthcare centre.
Perfect pairing: Angelo Dundee played a key role for Muhammad Ali
Dundee will be largely remembered as Ali's trainer, guiding the heavyweight from his early days as a professional right through a career which saw the boxer become 'The Greatest' by winning the world heavyweight three three times and engaging in numerous epic fights.
'Angelo died surrounded by family and friends,' his family said in a statement.
'He was very happy that he got to celebrate Ali's (70th) birthday earlier this year and also that he got to go to the Hall of Fame. He still had much to do, but, led a full and extraordinary life.'
His son Jim told the Miami Herald: 'He was recuperating and coming along quite well. He was already making plans to (go) to Las Vegas for another event in two weeks.
'Thankfully, the whole family was with him. We have lost a great man. My dad led a wonderful life. Sadly, many of the great people from that generation are gone. This is the end of an era.'
Dundee will be remembered in England for his role in Ali's defeat of British icon Henry Cooper at Wembley in 1963.
Farewell: Dundee during a recent interview at 5th Street Gym in Miami
floored Ali – then still using his birth name of Cassius Clay – at the
end of the fourth round in London with a trademark left hook which
scrambled the American's senses. Ali was saved first by the bell,
however, and then by Dundee, who breached the rules by helping him to
Dundee then illegally used smelling salts to help his fighter regain his senses and made a small tear in one of Ali's gloves, forcing a welcome delay while a new pair were sought.
Ali then went out and beat Cooper on a cuts stoppage in the very next round.
Philadelphia-born Dundee's achievements were not limited to Ali's glory, though.
He played a significant role in the
successes of the likes of Willie Pastrano, Jose Napoles, Jimmy Ellis,
George Foreman and, famously, 'Sugar' Ray Leonard. Dundee trained 15
world champions in total.
Deadly duo: Dundee with Ali before his fight with Trevor Berbick in 1981
One of the more indelible memories of Dundee's career came in 1981 when he loudly exhorted Leonard in the late stages of a world championship unification fight against Thomas Hearns.
After famously telling the fighter 'You're blowing it, son,' Leonard came back out to register a thrilling knockout after having been dominated in preceding rounds.
'He saved Ray Leonard in the Hearns fight. He saved Ali (against Joe Frazier) in Manila,' said boxing promoter Bob Arum, who worked with Dundee countless times over the years.
'To motivate (a fighter) takes a special skill and there aren't many people that can do it. In the (more than 45 years) I've been in boxing, he is the greatest cornerman by far of anyone that I've ever witnessed.'
Dundee's work spanned six decades and he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992, cementing his legacy as an invaluable asset to some of the most decorated boxers of all time.
'Ali was this unbelievable figure, and a guy who symbolised an entire era of American culture and was idolised around the world,' Arum added. 'And through all those times, the person at his side was Dundee. For that, he will always be remembered.'
Dundee, whose wife died in 2010, is survived by a son and daughter, six grandchildren and a great grandchild.
How Dundee became a legend in boxing circles
1921: August 30 – Born Angelo Mirena in Philadelphia.
1955: Helps Carmen Basilio win the world welterweight title against Tony DeMarco.
1960: Begins training one-fight novice Muhammad Ali, then still using his birth name Cassius Clay.
1964: Plays a crucial role in Ali avoiding defeat to Henry Cooper in London, illegally helping his fighter to the corner and using smelling salts after he was knocked down by a left hook. Allegedly tears a hole in one of Ali's gloves to buy more time for his fighter to recover.
1965: Ali defeats Sonny Liston to become world heavyweight champion.
1971: Ali, back from boxing exile, loses for the first time to Joe Frazier at New York's Madison Square Garden.
1974: January 28 – Helps Ali avenge Frazier defeat, winning points decision in rematch.
October 30 – Ali shocks George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle, playing 'rope a dope' before stopping the heavy-hitting younger man in the eighth.
1975: Ali beats Frazier in the 'Thrilla in Manila' with an epic 14th-round stoppage victory.
1977: 'Sugar' Ray Leonard turns professional with Dundee in his corner.
1979: Leonard wins WBC welterweight title by beating Wilfred Benitez.
1980: Leonard loses to Roberto Duran.
1981: Leonard beats great rival Thomas Hearns in 'fight of the year', stopping the Detroit man in the 14th round. Dundee famously rallies his charge, warning him “You're blowing it, son!” before Leonard scores the knockout.
Ali retires following ignominious defeat by Trevor Berbick.
1987: Leonard returns to the ring to beat Marvin Hagler for the WBC middleweight belt.
1988: Dundee and Leonard split for the fighter's latest comeback, against Donnie Lalonde.
1992: Inducted into prestigious International Boxing Hall of Fame.
1994: Works Foreman's corner as the veteran knocks out Michael Moorer to regain the world heavyweight title.
2012: January – Attends Ali's 70th birthday celebrations in Louisville, Kentucky.
February 1 – Dies of a heart attack in Florida.