The historic 5th Street Gym reopened and found familiar faces Angelo Dundee and Muhammad Ali back inside.
Dundee said he was glad that the old gym was reopened but that you can’t live off nostalgia and that he was ready to get a young American heavyweight back into the game.
The word is that the 89-year-old trainer will be training a 14-year-old heavyweight very soon. The focus wasn’t on any young heavyweights though, as it was clearly on the former heavyweight champion Ali.
He and Dundee frequented the South Florida gym when Ali was still an active fighter. The gym was originally opened in 1951 and ran by Dundee’s brother Chris Dundee.
It was torn down in 1993, five years before Chris Dundee died. The gym was a popular destination for top fighters for many years.
Greats such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, and of course Ali trained there at some point in their stored careers.
The gym has been worked on for three years and originally was going to be placed on 7th Street and Washington in Florida, but the plans were changed when they saw that the 5th street gym location was open.
The new gym is nothing like its predecessor at all. It is a polished gym that will cater not only to boxers but to MMA fighters as well.
The hope is that the gym will boost interest in boxing and get the sport back on its feet in Florida. The gym will have regular clientele, including pro boxers and MMA fighters.
This will give a boost to boxing no matter how you look at it, and this is a great thing for the game. Reopening a gym that has a ton of history while boxing gets the spotlight, even if just for a moment.
Dundee has his head trainer Matt Baiamonte in charge of most of the big clients in the gym. There were familiar faces all over the place.
Fighter Shannon Briggs was there, as well as boxing historian Bert Sugar. Emmanuel Steward found time in his busy schedule to make the trip down.
The gym will officially open tomorrow with a VIP ribbon cutting.
Such luminaries as Ali and his wife Lonnie, Don King, Lou Duva, Ferdie Pacheco, Emmanuel Steward, Gerry Cooney, Pinklon Thomas, Bert Sugar, and Dundee will be on hand.
As a diehard boxing fan, this is great to see, and who knows, some great American fighters may come out of this gym. It sure worked that way in past years.
Even if no world-class champion ever comes out of the gym, it is always nice to take a walk down memory lane and remember what boxing used to be like.
Any event that gives me the excuse to look up Muhammad Ali highlights is a good event to me.