Training the Greatest: The Story of Ali and Dundee

The Contract

Photograph and caption courtesy of the Courier-Journal, October 27, 1960.

The Contract

A few years and an Olympic gold medal later, Muhammad Ali (then still known as Cassius Clay) announced that he would become a professional boxer. This decision prompted several offers for management, most coming with great sums of money in exchange for signing a contract. The chosen team of management was the Louisville Sponsoring Group, a syndicate of 11 businessmen from Louisville, Kentucky that wanted what was best for the hometown boxing hero. The contract was signed on October 26, 1960, three days before Ali's first fight as a professional boxer. This group would fund Ali's training and living expenses, arrange his fights, and of course, hire a trainer.

Ali's first choice, however, was not Dundee.

In fact, after Ali had returned from 1960 Rome Olympics, he and Dundee crossed paths once again in Louisville, and Ali told him he was upset that Dundee had not reached out to offer to train him, subsequently rejecting his offer when Dundee suggested he come down to his gym in Miami Beach, Florida.

Instead, Ali found his way to San Diego, California to train with former light-heavyweight boxing champion Archie Moore. This arrangement did not last very long, however, as Ali did not like the way that Moore wanted to "change his lifestyle". Ali went back home to Louisville shortly after Moore had asked him to sweep the floors, to which Ali responded, "I don't do that for my mother, and I'm not going to do it for you."

It was back to the drawing board for the Louisville Sponsoring Group to find Muhammad Ali a new trainer. They landed on Angelo Dundee of Miami Beach--and the rest is history.

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