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Famed boxing trainer Angelo Dundee dies

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
updated 7:38 AM EST, Thu February 2, 2012
Angelo Dundee helped a young Cassius Clay transform himself into the world heavyweight champion. Here he tapes the renamed Muhammad Ali's hands at a training session ahead of a 1966 bout with British champion Henry Cooper. Angelo Dundee helped a young Cassius Clay transform himself into the world heavyweight champion. Here he tapes the renamed Muhammad Ali's hands at a training session ahead of a 1966 bout with British champion Henry Cooper.
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Ali's cornerman
Ruling the world
Old foe
Presidential approval
Silver screen
Ball game
Helping De La Hoya
Old times' sake
A good cause
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dundee was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992
  • He trained Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard
  • 'Dad lived a great life, and he did a great job living it," his son told CNN affiliate WFTS

Read more about this story from CNN affiliate WFTS.

(CNN) -- Legendary cornerman Angelo Dundee, the man who helped motivate Muhammad Ali and many other boxing champs, died Wednesday, a source close to Ali said.

He was 90. Dundee died Wednesday in Florida from natural causes, Dundee's son Jimmy Dundee told CNN affiliate WFTS.

Dundee, known for being a supreme motivator, was inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992. His biography on its website reads like a who's who list of boxing royalty.

He was hired to be Ali's trainer and cornerman in 1960 back when the brash-talking, quick-jabbing boxer went by the name Cassius Clay. Dundee was there through Ali's historic name change, his brawls with George Foreman, "Smokin" Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and Leon Spinks.

Cassius Clay, later to become known as Muhammad Ali, rose to prominence at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where he claimed a boxing gold medal in the light heavyweight division. Cassius Clay, later to become known as Muhammad Ali, rose to prominence at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where he claimed a boxing gold medal in the light heavyweight division.
Golden moment
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Muhammad Ali: \'The Greatest\' at 70 Muhammad Ali: 'The Greatest' at 70

He was there all the way toward the end of Ali's career in his punishing loss to Larry Holmes in 1980. After watching Ali get battered for round after round, Dundee stopped the fight after the 10th round fighting off objections from others in the corner and the bruised and puffy-eyed Ali.

Loquacious sports analyst Howard Cosell described the scene in the corner this way.

"This fight should be stopped. Angelo is telling the referee to stop it. He would not give in. Angelo Dundee. He cared about his fighter too much."

Dundee was also in the corner of Sugar Ray Leonard giving sage advice during some of Leonard's most memorable fights.

During Leonard's 1981 battle with Tommy Hearns, Dundee uttered the emphatic phrase that some say spurred the listless boxer to a dramatic comeback. Sensing that Leonard was behind on the judge's scorecards before the 13th round, Dundee leaned close to Leonard and said in a fatherly tone: "You're blowing it now son! You're blowing it."

Leonard snapped out of it and knocked Hearns out in the 14th round to gain another welterweight championship.

Dundee started his career training Hall Fame boxer Carmen Basilio and also trained champs Jimmy Ellis, Luis Rodriguez, Sugar Ramos, Ralph Dupas and Willie Pastrano.

"Dad lived a great life, and he did a great job living it," Jimmy Dundee told WFTS.

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