By Ty McTier: I look down at my wrist and see that I am wearing a wristband that says “Angelo Dundee Family.” A smile beam across my face as I remember back to when I first met this gentle giant of the sport of boxing.
I met Angelo Dundee, boxing’s greatest ambassador and trainer two years ago when I attended the grand historical re-opening of the 5th Street Gym in Miami, Florida with my brother Jace McTier. Jace displayed his recent paintings of the master trainer and his fighters featuring this historic trainer. Angelo made me feel welcome and talked to my brother and I like we had known him for years, but that was Angelo- when you met him he treated you like you were wearing something that said, “Angelo Dundee Family”.
Angelo, through the eyes of Jace McTier, was on display at the funeral service in Clearwater Florida. On the stage behind his casket were five paintings chronicling the history that Angelo was so much responsible for making happen. Special thanks to the Dundee family for all of the young careers that Angelo continued to mentor. His love and care that he exhibited in his life were clearly evident through every conversation that echoed in the auditorium before, during and after his funeral. Angelo has brought one of the honored guests, Matt Baiamonte and Dino Spencer alongside him to continue his legacy of training elite fighters at the 5th Street Gym. Past students of Angelo’s in attendance included Muhammad Ali, Pinklon Thomas, David Estrada and Kristina Swanson among many others. Angelo’s family was so gracious to share their dad and grandfather with so many “adopted” family members around the world. The paintings of sports artist, Jace McTier, were displayed at the funeral and throughout the events of the day.
Jace McTier had this to say about what Angelo has meant to him:
“It was an honor to be able to know Angelo. He made me feel like part of his family and opened up many doors for me. It was a blessing for me to be able to participate and show through my artwork, in part the rich legacy that Angelo was such a huge part of. When he first saw my paintings he said,
‘I love your colors, they are great, fantastic! You’ve got the right boxing technique in your paintings; everything is where it needs to be,” Angelo said pointing to a painting of Ali throwing his great straight right. “Listen, I helped another artist get started in boxing…You ever hear of an artist by the name of Leroy Neiman?’
“Yes”, I replied, knowing he was talking about the great Leroy Neiman. ‘Well I helped make him famous and I’m going to do the same for you, kid.’ Angelo said with a smile. And that’s exactly what he did- the doors he opened for me helped me to start doing work for middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and gave me the opportunity to meet George Foreman and his family as well as countless others. Aside from Angelo helping further my career in the sports world, he has truly left an impression on me by the life that he lived. Just in the short time that I knew him, I have been influenced for the better. Having witnessed him at private events with only his family and with everyone else on the streets of Miami and Tampa I can truly say that Angelo treated EVERYONE like family. Family is his legacy, in and out of boxing, and I am blessed to have known the great Angelo Dundee and his entire family. God bless you Angelo, and thank you for everything.”