Angelo Dundee’s a legendary boxing trainer, and he’s earned all the respect in the world, deservedly, for coaching the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman — 15 champions in all. But I’m underwhelmed by the big “surprise” announcement today that he’ll be lending his assistance to Oscar De La Hoya in advance of his Dec. 6 super-fight with Manny Pacquiao, if the idea is to bolster De La Hoya’s chances of victory.
I’m sure Dundee, even at age 87, will have a few things to offer. Per the Golden Boy Promotions news release, Dundee “will review fight tapes, consult with Team De La Hoya regarding technique and strategy, visit training camp in Big Bear, California and attend fight week events,” leaving the main training job before and during the fight to Nacho Beristain.
But the last thing De La Hoya needs is another trainer. He’s already had a billion, a billion five. He’s worked with all the best, however briefly: Emmanuel Steward, Freddie Roach, now Beristain, just for starters. I think there’s a case to be made that this excess of trainers has hurt him more than it has helped him. At times, for all his ability, skill and experience, De La Hoya seems a little unsure what he ought to be doing in the ring.
Besides, the fight is going to turn on a lot of things far more significant than any pointers Dundee comes up with. On the main two questions, nobody can do anything about ’em: Is Pacquiao too small to be fighting at 147 pounds? And is De La Hoya so old he would get beaten by a much, much smaller man? Dundee once answered the first question “yes.” Not so long ago, he said Pacquiao had “no chance” of beating De La Hoya, per a paraphrase of the man from a recent interview. A couple quotes, though: “Oscar has fought and sparred with so many smaller guys, and Oscar has knocked them all over the ring.” And: “Can Manny win that fight? I don’t think so, I really don’t. I love Oscar to win that fight, I really do.” Today, though, Dundee reversed himself and said the size difference won’t be a factor. “The weight thing is a bunch of baloney,” Dundee said, per AOL’s Boxing FanHouse. “Weight won’t be a problem.” Hmmm. (He says he still strongly expects De La Hoya to win, but just ‘cuz he thinks he’s better.)
Now, if the idea is to add to the already considerable publicity, rather than affect the fight’s outcome, it’s gold. See: The fact that I’m writing this.
Full release after the jump, for the curious.
LEGENDARY TRAINER ANGELO DUNDEE JOINS TEAM DE LA HOYA AS SPECIAL CONSULTANT FOR PACQUIAO SUPERFIGHT
As the architect for some of the greatest fighters of all-time, including Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman, Angelo Dundee’s name is synonymous with excellence. Now, the legendary trainer will look to impart his wisdom on boxing’s reigning superstar – Oscar de la Hoya – as a special consultant for the “Golden Boy” for his December 6th super-fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Dundee joins world-renowned trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain on Team De La Hoya for the showdown, which will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tickets for the bout are sold-out, but the event will air live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9pm ET / 6pm PT and closed circuit tickets are available at MGM-Mirage properties in Las Vegas.
“I am honored to have Angelo Dundee on my team for the biggest fight of my career,” said De La Hoya. “His knowledge of the fight game is second to none, and along with Nacho Beristain, I feel like I have an unbeatable team in my corner for this fight against Pacquiao.”
Dundee will review fight tapes, consult with Team De La Hoya regarding technique and strategy, visit training camp in Big Bear, California and attend fight week events. While he will consult with De La Hoya and Beristain regarding fight strategy, he will not be working the corner during the fight, leaving Beristain as the lead strategist and sole voice in the corner on fight night.
“After working with Ali and Leonard, I think it’s only fitting that I now get the chance to work with the most important fighter of this era,” said Dundee. “This fight against Pacquiao is the biggest fight boxing has seen in years and I’m excited to be a part of it and to help lead Oscar to victory.”
A 1994 inductee to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Angelo Dundee has been a fixture in the boxing world for most of his life and is one of the game’s most revered ambassadors. In the ring, he has worked with 15 world champions, including Ali, Leonard, Foreman, Carmen Basilio, Jose Napoles, Luis Rodriguez and Willie Pastrano. Now he will take “The Golden Boy” under his wing.
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, Inc., presented by Tequila Cazadores and sponsored by Ceverza Tecate, DeWalt Tools, Full Throttle Energy Drink, and Southwest Airlines, the fight sold out in hours, making it the second largest grossing gate in boxing history. This exciting and intriguing 12-round, 147-pound welterweight battle pits two of the most recognizable and popular talents in the sport in what will surely be the grand finale of the 2008 boxing calendar year.