Cus D'Amato

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cus D'Amato
Cus D'Amato, Boxing Icon.jpg
Personal information
Birth name Constantine D'Amato
Born (1908-01-17)January 17, 1908
The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died November 4, 1985(1985-11-04) (aged 77)
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Boxing manager and trainer
Years active 1933–1985, his death
Sport
Sport Boxing

Constantine "Cus" D'Amato (January 17, 1908 – November 4, 1985) was an American boxing manager and trainer who handled the careers of Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson, and José Torres; all went on to become members of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[1] Several successful boxing trainers, including Teddy Atlas, Kevin Rooney, Joey Hadley and Joe Fariello, were tutored by D'Amato. He was a proponent of the peek-a-boo style of boxing, in which the fighter holds his gloves close to his cheeks and pulls his arms tight against his torso. The style was criticized by some because it was believed that an efficient attack could not be launched from it.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

D'Amato was born to an Italian family in the Bronx, on January 17, 1908.[4] His father Damiano D'Amato delivered ice and coal in the Bronx using a horse and cart.[5] At a young age Cus became very involved and interested in the Catholic church, and at times during his youth he even considered becoming a priest. Cus had a brief career as an amateur boxer, boxing as a featherweight and lightweight, but was unable to get a professional license because of an eye injury he had suffered in a street fight.[5]

Career[edit]

At age 22, he opened the Empire Sporting Club with Jack Barrow at the Gramercy Gym.[4] D'Amato lived in the gym for years. According to D'Amato, he spent his time at the gym waiting for a "champion", but his best fighters were routinely poached by "connected" managers. One fighter discovered by D'Amato was Italian-American Rocky Graziano, who signed with other trainers and managers and went on to become middleweight champion of the world.[2]

D'Amato also confronted boxing politics and decided, along with his friend Howard Cosell, to thwart the International Boxing Club of New York (IBC). Suspicious to the point of paranoia, D'Amato refused to match his fighter in any bout promoted by the IBC.[4] The IBC was eventually found to be in violation of anti-trust laws and was dissolved.[4][6]

Floyd Patterson[edit]

Under D'Amato's tutelage, Floyd Patterson captured the Olympic middleweight gold medal in the 1952 Helsinki games. D'Amato then guided Patterson through the professional ranks, maneuvering Patterson into fighting for the title vacated by Rocky Marciano. After beating Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson in an elimination fight, Patterson faced Light Heavyweight Champion Archie Moore on November 30, 1956, for the World Heavyweight Championship. He beat Moore by a knockout in five rounds and became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history at the time, at the age of 21 years, 10 months, three weeks and five days. He was the first Olympic gold medalist to win a professional Heavyweight title.

Patterson and D'Amato split after Patterson's second consecutive 1st-round KO loss to Sonny Liston, although his influence over the former two-time champion had already begun to diminish.[5]

José Torres[edit]

D'Amato also managed José Torres who in May 1965 at Madison Square Garden, defeated the International Boxing Hall Of Fame member, Willie Pastrano, to become world Light Heavyweight champion.[7] With the victory Torres became the third Puerto Rican world boxing champion in history and the first Latin American to win the world Light Heavyweight title.

Joey Hadley[edit]

Joey Hadley was one of the lesser known boxers D'Amato trained who fought both in amateur and professional bouts in the 1970s. Hadley won various awards as an amateur boxer, being a six-time Golden Gloves of the Memphis and Mid-South, Three-time Southeastern AAU champion, and United States and North American champion.[8] Hadley also knocked out future world champ Leon Spinks as an amateur in 1973.[9] He also gained fame in 1976 for having fought one of the earliest mixed martial arts bouts in history against Arkansas Karate champion David Valovich.[10] He used D'Amato's style prominently in these fights. Unfortunately, Hadley's career ended after an eye infection while working in New York. [8]

As a former student of D'Amato, Haldey is one of the only boxing coaches to train people in the authentic peek-a-boo style of boxing. [8][9]

Mike Tyson[edit]

After Patterson and Torres' careers ended, D'Amato worked in relative obscurity. He eventually moved to Catskill, New York, where he opened a gym.[4]

There he met and began to work with the future heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, who was in a nearby reform school.[2][11] He adopted Tyson after Tyson's mother died. D'Amato trained him over the next few years, encouraging the use of peek-a-boo style boxing, with the hands in front of the face for more protection. D'Amato was briefly assisted by Teddy Atlas, and later Kevin Rooney, a protégé of D'Amato, who emphasized elusive movement. It is unclear at exactly which age (11 or 12) Tyson first became seriously interested in becoming a professional boxer. Bobby Stewart, a former Golden Gloves Champion, was approached by Tyson while working as a counselor at the Tryon School For Boys. Tyson knew of Stewart's former boxing glory and specifically asked to speak with Stewart who immediately took on a gruff attitude of the subject after witnessing Tyson's terrible behavior in his first days at the school. Bobby Stewart introduced Mike Tyson to D'Amato when Tyson was around 12 or 13 years old, after Stewart stated he had taught Tyson all he could about boxing technique and skill.[12][13] D'Amato died a little over a year before Tyson became the youngest world heavyweight titleholder in history at the age of 20 years four months, thus supplanting Patterson's record.[5] Rooney would later guide Tyson to the heavyweight championship sixteen months after D'Amato's death.

Footage of D'Amato can be seen in Tyson, a 2008 documentary. Tyson credits D'Amato with building his confidence and guiding him as a father figure.[14]

Death[edit]

Cus D'Amato died at Mount Sinai Hospital of pneumonia in November 1985. He was 77 years of age.[3]

Tribute[edit]

From October 26, 2017 through November 4, 2017, an international, online "Science of Victory" marathon was dedicated to the memory of Cus D'Amato. Journalists and boxers from Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Spain, Germany and the U.S., including Silvio Branco, Patrizio Oliva, Dr. Antonio Graceffo, Avi Nardia, and Gordon Marino.[15] The marathon promoted the book "Non-compromised Pendulum" by Tom Patti and Dr. Oleg Maltsev, which reviewed Cus D'Amato's training style.[16][17][18]

Legacy[edit]

In 1993, the 14th Street Union Square Local Development Corporation named part of 14th street, where D'Amato's Gramercy Gym was located, "Cus D'Amato Way."

KNOCKOUT: The Cus D'Amato Story, is a stage and screenplay based on the life of Cus D'Amato, from a concept by boxing trainer Kevin Rooney and written by Dianna Lefas.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Brozan, Nadine (1993-10-29). "CHRONICLE". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c Heller, Peter (1995). Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story. Da Capo Press. pp. 17–20, 26, 51. ISBN 0-306-80669-X. 
  3. ^ a b "Boxing Manager Cus D'Amato Dies at 77". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Roberts, James (14 March 2003). The Boxing Register: International Boxing Hall of Fame Official Record Book (3rd ed.). McBooks Press. ISBN 978-1590130209. 
  5. ^ a b c d Weiss, Scott (1 August 2013). Confusing The Enemy - The Cus D'Amato Story. Acanthus. ISBN 978-0989000123. 
  6. ^ "D'Amato Misses on Long Shot". The New York Times. 8 January 1982. 
  7. ^ "Hall of Fame Friday: Jose Torres". The Ring. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c Local boxing legend turns to coaching
  9. ^ a b Boxing trainer with impressive connections operating in Atoka
  10. ^ Kelley, Steve. Karate's Prestige Takes a Nosedive (June 22, 1976). Press Scimitar Sports
  11. ^ Tyson, Mike (30 May 2017). Iron Ambition: My Life with Cus D'Amato. Blue Rider Press. ISBN 978-0399177033. 
  12. ^ Heller, Peter(1988). "Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story," p. 13. Da Capo Press, New York, 1988.
  13. ^ Anderson, Dave (3 August 1987). "Sports of the Times; 'Time for the New Trainers'". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ Graham Bensinger (3 March 2016). "Emotional Mike Tyson on trainer who made him champ". Retrieved 2 July 2017 – via YouTube. 
  15. ^ Guests of the project noncompromisedpendulum.com
  16. ^ Online marathon dedicated to memory of legendary trainer Cus D’Amato www.worldboxingnews.net
  17. ^ Internationales Projekt «die Wissenschaft des Sieges» www.boxen1.com
  18. ^ Unique International Project “Science Of Victory” worldofmartialarts.pro

External links[edit]