Chuck Bodak

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Vasil "Chuck" Bodak (June 3, 1916 - February 6, 2009) was an American boxing cutman and trainer who worked with over 50 world champions including Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano, Tommy Hearns, Julio Cesar Chavez, Evander Holyfield, Edward Necco and Oscar De La Hoya.[1]

Chuck Bodak's Fiat housed at the Marconi Automotive Museum

Bodak was born June 3, 1916 in Gary, Indiana where his involvement in boxing began circa 1929 at Schonfield's Athletic Club. In 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He survived the Battle of The Bulge after being shot twice and was awarded two Purple Hearts. An amateur fighter himself, Bodak coached the National Golden Gloves team in the late 1950s and began working with young teenager named Cassius Clay who changed his name to Muhammad Ali.[2] Bodak trained Ali for the last four years of his amateur career that culminated with the winning of a Gold Medal for the light-heavyweight competition at the 1960 Summer Olympic Games held in Rome, Italy.[3]

He was known for his trademark headbands with photos of his fighters as well as his handmade jewelry and collages that he liked to give away as gifts.[4][5]

Bodak moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1958 where he was a boxing coach for the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) for many years before moving to California.[6] Even though advancing in age, he continued to work in the ring and was active in the boxing community until he suffered a stroke in 2007 at the age of 90.[7] He died in a motor accident on February 6, 2009 at the age of 92 in Orange County, California.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Bodak was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, "Expanded Category" (Managers & Trainers).[8]

In October 2008, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in person at a WBC Legends of Boxing Museum ceremony.[9]

In 1993, he was honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club.


Bodak co-authored Boxing Basics, a book published in 1979 that outlines the fundamentals of boxing including psychological preparation, physical conditioning, offensive and defensive strategies, and ring psychology.[10]

Acting roles[edit]

Bodak played the role of Cesar's cutman in the 1999 film Play It to the Bone and portrayed himself in two documentaries, More Than Famous in 2003 and The Distance in 2006.[11]


  1. ^ Chuck Bodak passes, February 6, 2009
  2. ^ Boxing Loses True Hero in Chuck Bodak February 7th, 2009 By Pedro Fernandez,
  3. ^ "GODFATHER" OF CUTMEN-CHUCK BODAK SUFFERS STROKE Archived April 14, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. 02 September, 2007 by Pedro Fernandez,
  4. ^ Chuck Bodak 1916–2009 By Thomas Gerbasi, (February 6, 2009)
  5. ^ Chuck Bodak Loses His Final Battle - Legendary cutman passes away at 92 By Michele Chong, Archived 2012-06-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Tribute Event for Chuck Bodak by Michele Chong (March 12, 2009),
  7. ^ Cutman Chuck Bodak Update September 1, 2008
  8. ^ Chuck Bodak,
  9. ^ Cutman Chuck Bodak 2009 Update by Michele Chong (January 10, 2009),
  10. ^ Boxing Basics by Chuck Bodak and Neil Milbert ISBN 9780809272105
  11. ^ IMDb profile of Vasil Chuck Bodak

External links[edit]