The Lives Of Great Men: Cus D'Amato, The Teacher That He Is

John Louie RamosSenior Writer IFebruary 24, 2009

"Greatness is not a measure of how great you are but how great others came to be because of you"

Cus D'Amato was a great trainer, a great manager but above all he was a far greater person.

He also dreamt of becoming a professional prize fighter but those dreams were derailed when he was just 12-years-old, he engaged himself in a street fight which resulted to permanent blindness in his left eye.

Still he remained active in boxing. He opened up a boxing gym and started to train young and most of the time, troubled and alcoholic fighters.

Perhaps the Vince Lombardi of boxing, D'Amato well-exemplifies the meaning of the word "Teacher" He was more than a trainer, he's more like a father.

His connection with his fighters were much more personal than professional. 

His gym was open 364 days a year and on the 365th he always hold a Christmas party for the kids. There'd be food and drinks, not to mention Christmas presents, for each and every kid on the gym.

He bought a two story, 13 room mansion that served not just a house for him and his wife. It also served as a home for all his fighters.

"He said if I wanted, I could come up there and live for free room and board. All I had to do was to train and do chores around the house" - Kevin Rooney

His name was associated with the likes of Floyd Patterson, Teddy Atlas and Jose Torres. However, he is best known as a saviour and creator of the most destructive heavyweight champion ever, Mike Tyson.

He legally adopted Tyson and served as a father figure to several young fighters living in his house.

He taught Tyson everything a fighter has to know, teaching him all the techniques and movements that were all instrumental for Tyson to win a world championship.

Sadly, a year before Tyson claimed that most coveted world championship, D'Amato was comatose and later died, Nov. 4, 1985.

D'Amato's calling were simple yet touching—to help troubled kids straighten up their lives through boxing.

He opened his home for kids. He molds not only a person's boxing skill but as well as a person's character. He has a tradition in his boxing gym, to train anyone that comes through the door for free.

If there would be more Cus not only in boxing but also in life, in general perhaps that would make a big difference.

Que en paz descanse..

"A boy comes to me with a spark of interest and it becomes a flame. I feed the flame and it becomes fire, I feed the fire and it becomes a roaring blaze" - Cus D'Amato, 1908-1985