Cassius Clay’s first meeting with Angelo Dundee (boxing trainer)

Cassius Clay with Angelo Dundee

1958 was Cassius Clay’s (Muhammad Ali) first meeting with Angelo Dundee. It was suppose to be a brief introduction about 5 minutes; they talked for about 3 1/2 hours and became lifelong friends.

Angelo Dundee was in Cassius Clay’s hometown (Kentucky) in 1958 with light heavyweight Willie Pastrano. They were sharing a room at the Sheraton Hotel in Louisville Kentucky when Cassius Clay called their room from a hotel phone to ask if he could talk for 5 minutes. Cassius called saying “Hey my name is Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., I’m the, and I won the Golden Glove Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. I won the Golden Gloves in, ah, Washington State and I won the Chicago Golden Gloves.” This was 1958 mind you. And he said, “I want to win the Olympics in 1960.” I said, “That’s great. Glad to hear it.”

So Angelo Dundee invited him up to their room.

“Cassius Marcellus Clay, with his brother Rudy walk into the room and we proceeded to have some of the finest conversation I’ve ever had with a human being, ah, who was then a student of boxing. He was very, he wanted to know how I trained my fighters, what they do, when to eat, when not to eat.”

Cassius went into detail asking questions like “How many miles do your fighters run? Why do they run? What do they eat? Do they eat once a day, twice a day, three times a day?”

“He knew what direction he wanted to go. We proceeded to talk for three or four hours and that was the beginning. That was the beginning of a friendship that I nurture to this day because he’s one of my best friends. Cassius Marcellus Clay was the nicest thing that ever happened to my life and I think the nicest thing that every happened to boxing.”

from Angelo Dundee’s autobiography, “My View From the Corner: A Life in Boxing.”