Subj: The BAWLI Papers No. 89
Date: 99-05-24 19:46:33 EDT
From: email@example.com (J Michael Kenyon)
The BAWLI Papers
(Boxing As We Liked It)
Edited by J Michael Kenyon
Issue Number 89
Wednesday, May 26, 1999
New York City, New York, US of A
IN THIS ISSUE: CONCLUDING THE WIDE RANGING Q AND A WITH CHUCK BODAK
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THOMAS GERBASI INTERVIEW CHUCK BODAK
(this is the third of final part of the Q and A)
TG - Speaking of amateurish, what are your thoughts on Prince Naseem Hamed?
CB - Crude, unorthodox, awkward, but very effective. And a guy with
confidence unimaginable. The guy says he could beat anybody, he's the
greatest, he's this, he's that, and all along he's proved it, right? You
can't contradict it. If you could foresee the future, will he cave in like
some overnight sensation? Will he get better with his unorthodox, crude, and
unethical methods? Who knows?
There are so many question marks in regards to how smart you are, an
analyzing guys. It's like picking a winner. You could be the most
knowledgeable guy in the world and you pick a guy, and some guy who don't
know a left hand from a right hand, will pick out a guy like he knew what
was gonna happen. "This guy can't lose. In fact, I'm betting $10,000 on the
guy" and all he's doing is guessing. Where you know the technology, and it
didn't turn out that way.
TG - Evander Holyfield?
CB - Holyfield? Another one of my great friends. I had to sue him to get
paid one time. One of the cheapest guys in boxing. But a great athlete.
TG - Jorge Paez?
CB - Paez is as smart, as clever as you and I, as normal as you and I. Being
born and raised in a circus environment, he has done so many things on a
circus level, that he brought that into boxing, and became a sensation.
People love him, even today. I worked a show at the Forum last night and
Paez was there. People were lined up for autographs, taking pictures and
everything. And he's on his last lap. Him, like the rest of them too, blew
everything he made, and the only thing he knows is boxing.
And incidentally, he's responsible for my trademark. He was always dreaming
up things to wear, clothing, the face, the head, haircuts and everything
else, and he always used to get on my ass, him and his manager, and the guys
in the entourage, about me duplicating what he does. I said "Bullshit. I'm
no goddamned clown" And Paez was always ribbing me, he says "pendejo", which
is like jerk or character, or something like that. "Whatsa matter? You wanna
be Paez, no?" So then it got to a point where they were so persistent that I
start doing this stuff. And it became a big hit. In this respect, people
accepted it. They enjoyed it, and they got a big bang out of it.
Like a lot of times they come up to me and want to know "what are you gonna
wear?" and stuff like that, or "Let me have what you've got on your head for
a souvenir." I said OK. And it got so popular that I'd work with other
fighters, like basically there are 3 or 4 stables that I work with top
priority and I get hired here and there for different guys and a lot of
times with preliminary fighters, which I never charge, "Yeah, if I'm not
booked, I'll work with you." And I'd be in the dressing room, especially the
Latinos, they'd be saying something in Spanish that I didn't understand, and
I'd ask one of the guys who spoke fluent English, "What the hell is he
saying?" "Well he's kind of perturbed that you're not gonna have anything on
your head for him." "Hell, I don't know. You want me to do something, I'll
do it." And then I'd get a couple of pictures, I use two inch tape, put it
on my forehead and I get tape with his name on it, and he's as happy as a
And the public's the same way. I feel that I'm not a crackpot. Like that
article that was in the paper, he says one of the big screwballs in boxing,
or something like that, Chuck Bodak. And I'm not a screwball, I'm not a
character. I'm doing something that the public wants, the public enjoys. I'm
giving back something that I've taken away from boxing, and that's the
purpose. I could care less about ego. It's like autographs and taking
pictures. A lot of times I take more pictures and sign more autographs than
some of the guys on the cards. And I always thank the individual that comes
up to me, or I have something funny to say to the person, and the guy looks
at me like I'm crazy. He says "No, thank you." "Bullshit" I said, "I'm not
doing you a favor, you're doing me a favor. Plus , if it wasn't for you
guys, they'd pass me up like a dirty shirt." And that's the truth.
TG - Oscar DeLa Hoya?
CB - Oscar is a very, very intelligent kid. Oscar is very talented. His
philosophy is that he can do anything. There isn't anything that's
impossible with him. In reference to confidence, he's not cocky. He's not
abusive. He's so extremely talented.
TG - How do you feel about him changing trainers?
CB - I don't know why that is. Here's a guy that's been talented all his
life. He's been in demand as far as the people are concerned. And you bring
all these guys in, for what? And my philosophy is this: a guy is made,
literally, when he's born. Like a parent, you start teaching this kid, you
start developing mentality and gestures and everything else till he gets to
a point where he matured enough to where he can function mentally. Then he
goes to school. He is being educated by teachers who are professors, in high
school, in college, and everything else. This is where a person is made.
It's like Dundee. Dundee with "My man, Ali, my man this" and shit like that,
well when Ali was an amateur, there was not one guy, there were hundreds of
guys that predicted that he'd be a champion, a great champion one on these
days. It was so obvious, he was so talented. He was made all along, when he
first started with Joe Martin in Louisville, 12,13 years old. And as he
progressed, even in his youth, 15, 16, 17, 18 years old, the guy was
destined to be great.
TG - Where do you see Oscar going in his development? Do you see him going
down as one of the greats?
CB - I think if nothing goes wrong. At the way he's progressed, with the
accomplishments, and everything else, yeah. I think that he's got the
structure, to possibly even be a middleweight or light heavyweight. He's won
four titles already and he could be one of the All-Time greats. Sure. The
big thing in all of them, if you really notice, the type of person they are,
that's the important thing. Anybody can be an athlete. Anybody can perform
as an athlete, but what kind of person are you? That's the big thing.
TG - So that's not an act, the smiling, personable DeLa Hoya?
CB - No. He's a super person, a real terrific kid. Even if he were to fire
me tomorrow, I would never bum rap him. And yet, like I left Chavez. I
worked with him 4 1/2, 5 years. I don't bum rap him, but I don't have
anything nice to say about him, because there isn't. But with Oscar, like I
say, even if he were to fire me tomorrow, I could do nothing but praise the
guy, because he is a good person. And I feel this way.
TG - If you could pick one fighter through history to work with, who would
CB - Well, I worked with one of the greatest, Ali. You can't go beyond that.
Cause the guy was so great, and like I say, not only as an athlete, but as a
person. Unbelievable. There's nobody to compare with him. And that's a fact.
They claim, that besides Jesus Christ and God, he is the most revered, the
most talked about, and the most in demand on earth. And that is the truth.
Cause I've been in situations like when I was with Muhammad Ali Sports. We
made quite a few trips when Ali was with us. Some he done exhibitions, some
he made personal appearances to promote the show because he was affiliated
with the organization, Muhammad Ali Sports. We went to Jakarta, for example,
and there must have been hundreds of thousands of people just around the
airport, and it was all fenced off, they wouldn't let anybody in. And they
were all over the place, chanting "Ali, Ali, Ali". Then he went to the
mosque in downtown Jakarta and they estimated that there were half a
million, three quarters of a million people. I've been on trips to Africa.
For example when I worked with Ali, I'd wear an Ali T-Shirt or cap, and also
when I worked with Muhammad Ali sports, and the peace corps built training
centers, they built schools, and stuff like that in the heart of the jungle.
And as soon as they saw me, here you are, no communication, nothing, you're
in the jungle. These kids were chanting "Ali, Ali, Ali", and practically
ripping the stuff off me. I gave away all the stuff that I wore. When I was
on that tour in Africa, I came home with just the clothes I had on my back,
just ordinary clothes. They chanted. Unbelievable.
TG - Let's use Oscar DeLa Hoya as an example. When you're working with him,
do you have to go to camp with him, or are you just called in for the fight
CB - It's not compulsary, because I have a lot of other work, but I try to
go up as often as I can.
TG - From a technical standpoint as a cutman, have you ever come in contact
with a cut that you couldn't close?
CB - Not really, because sometimes it takes around two or three rounds to
really seal it completely to where you have it under control. And other
times you get a kid that's a bleeder and it's real tough to stop it. In
fact, I had one one time, very small, about a quarter inch cut, and I
couldn't stop the damn bleeding. No two human beings are alike and one guy,
I guess the pressure's so great, blood just squirts out. Even the small
arteries. But the general capilliary cuts, when they open up, are not hard
to stop really.
TG - So there's not one magic formula that will stop any cut?
CB - No, not really. You're not a miracle man, you just know what you do,
and what you're doing, and the time you have to work with and stuff like
that. There are different methods, like I work a lot with freezing, besides
medication, and that helps too because a lot of times you can freeze a cut
and it literally seals itself. But when a cut is too bad, I myself will try
to attract the attention of a referee, so I'm not involved with humiliating
a fighter or something like that, or sticking my neck out, and shake my head
or something that it's too bad or the guy doesn't have a damn chance, you
know, what's the use?
TG - Is this something you picked up over the years, or was there someone in
particular who showed you all this?
CB - When I quit fighting and went into teaching, I made sure that whatever
there was pertaining to working with a fighter, besides teaching them, all
his needs and desires and stuff like that, I've learned. You know like
dealing with doctors. I deal with a lot of commission doctors that I know
real well and I'll discuss different things with them. I read up on
different medications. There's always modification over a period of time
where things change. Some commissions permit you to use it, some don't. And
I check out all kinds of stuff that is new on the market or that they use in
surgery. It's amazing, they even use that super glue for a lot of internal
bleeding and brain surgery and that. They use super glue but you'd never use
it in a fight. It's stupid to even think about it because the jostling in
the corner, one guy pouring water over a guy. I mean you have some very
erratic situations in a corner and it wouldn't be practical to work with the
thing. It's bad enough working with adrenaline, where you have a pad
underneath the cut so it don't drip in the eye where it could cause quite a
bit of irritation. But there's not any miracles to perform, you just have to
know what the hell you're doing, and know the person, that's it.
TG - What are your thoughts on Whitey Bimstein?
CB - During his time he was great. A lot of it too is that you create a
reputation and you're very fortunate in people wanting you for your
reputation, and the publicity you get, and the contacts you make, and
there's a lot of luck involved. A lot of times there's a lot of weird things
that happen too. Like for example, you work with one guy one time and you do
real good work or sometimes you're not even doing anything cause they don't
get cut or something, and the next time they don't call you, they call
someone else. To me that's luck. You got a reputation that you can do the
job. If a guy hires you once or twice and what happens the third,fourth,
fifth time or whatever? Did you lose everything or what? It's weird. Plus I
guess fighters, to a point, are eccentric, and a lot of it deals with
managers, the way the guy feels, or something.
TG - Ray Arcel?
CB - He's another guy that I had a lot of respect for because his philosophy
was "you don't train, you teach". And that's the truth. You refer to
training as working with animals because you can't educate an animal. You
train an animal. When you deal with a human being, boxing is a science,
regardless of what the product is in performing, and if you don't educate a
guy, he's got nothing. Like the old adage "he's got balls", but that's
garbage to me. When I hear that I want to throw up. It's not a question of
balls, it's a question of mentality.
TG - Eddie Futch?
CB - A good teacher. And a lot of it too, besides being a talented
individual, it's the type of person that you are. Your philosophy.How you
sell yourself to an individual.How you can function with him as a unit. He's
in that category, he's a nice person. Because you can be a great athlete,
but what kind of person are you? Which is more important than anything.
TG - Eddie "The Clot" Aliano?
CB - One of the best and a nice person. He's a laid back individual, he does
his job. And Eddie's the type of guy that you would literally have to walk
up and talk to him. He was almost like shy, but a good person. Teriffic guy.
He's a very good friend of mine.
TG - Is there a competitive thing among trainers and cutmen, or is it more
of a camraderie?
CB - Well it all depends on the relationship you have with a person. You
know, if a guy's got a lot of faults in reference to what you're looking
for, for harmony and cooperation and stuff like that, you're sort of
evasive, you walk away from situations and stuff like that because how can
you deal with something like that? It's like I'm not going to go to your
house if I feel uncomfortable or if I know you're an asshole or something
like that. I wouldn't even go there. And it's the same way with people. The
way they are a lot of times, the things that they do, and their whole
philosophy in the business and the way they treat people, you just don't
deal with them. Like a lot of them, I just walk by them, and I can get along
with anybody. But so many of them will screw you, bum rap you, try to hurt
you, why? I could never understand that. If anything, you want to help a
guy, or if he isn't compatible, you just ignore him or walk away from him.
Why get ulcers, why lose sleep over something that's not important.
TG - Are there any good young trainers around today?
CB - There's a lot of them. They ask me questions and tips and I help them
because I feel this way: if I have something you think you need, or advice,
you ask me, I'll tell you. Why be a hog, or why if you have talents or
something of value to someone, why keep it to yourself?
CHUCK ON DREAM FIGHTS
TG - Julio Caesar Chavez vs. Roberto Duran
CB - That would be a tough one because they're both literally in the same
category. They were very talented in different respects. Some of those
matchups are really tough because you have two tremendous talents, it's
almost like flipping a coin.
TG - Barney Ross vs. Oscar DeLa Hoya
CB - Well, at this stage, you'd probably have to say Barney Ross because,
Oscar, as great as he is, with the potential of being greater, you'd have to
give Barney the shade because he was always in tremendous condition, he had
a good philosophy, he was a tremendous person, which I think is a huge asset
in boxing when you deal with mentality in teaching. That would probably be
the answer there.
TG - Tony Zale vs. Marvin Hagler
CB - I'd say Marvin Hagler because he was a greater technician than Tony.
Coming from me, I'm originally from Gary. I was on amateur teams with Zale,
I worked with him at the Chicago CYO for 25 years, and in reference to an
honest opinion, I'd have to pick Hagler. See Tony was tough, but he was not
a great technician. Tremendous condition, desire, devotion, and everything
else, he had all that. And he became a success. But when it comes to great
technology, he didn't have it, not in comparison to Hagler.
TG - Archie Moore vs. Roy Jones Jr.
CB - No question, Archie Moore. At this stage. After a few years of
accomplishments you might change your opinion. But it's nothing to do with
the time that he fought, or the guys that he fought. Like they'll compare
the old timers with the modern day fighters. Look at the difference in
records with a lot of them. Look at the difference in the opponents that
they fought, and not only champions. There were guys in the old days who
never had an opportunity to become champions because of the control and
everything else. Today, if you can't get a break with one organization, you
get a break with another organization, and become a champion, which is
nothing wrong. There's so much to give and they can only give so much and
somebody comes in and adds to it, which is good. The other guys, who are not
in the top three , for example,they have an opportunity to became a
champion,they have the opportunity to make a decent buck in preference to
being nothing or a nobody and just making an ordinary payday. Paying you for
what a promoter thinks you're worth. When you become a champion, you have
some prestige. It demands a little more money.
TG - Evander Holyfield vs. Ezzard Charles
CB - That's a tough one too, because Ezzard Charles was a great, great
fighter. In fact, one of the most underrated fighters that ever lived.
Another guy that was so talented. That would have to be a toss up too.
TG - What do you think about women boxing?
CB - I think it's all right, I'll tell you why. If that's what a woman
desires and she becomes talented, devout and dedicated to the sport, why
not? Look for example, in track. Can you imagine a woman pole vaulting?
Because they're not the muscular type, and it demands a lot of muscular
reaction. Plus today, women that are participating in sports develop
themselves, they have a great desire and determination, they love what
they're doing, they become masters at what they're doing. What's wrong with
that? Maybe not in comparison to the male, but on the other hand, what they
do in performing sometimes amazes you.
TG - What would you say to someone who thinks boxing should be banned?
CB - That's idiotic. Why don't they ban all the contact sports? Because
these detrimental incidents happen in all of them. You can get hurt, you can
get killed. You can do the same thing in your own home. You can fall down
and break your neck, break your shoulder, your arm, your leg, or whatever.
You can walk out of your driveway, get hit by a car and get killed. Those
things are inevitable. They happen. How can you say that it shouldn't be or
they shouldn't jeopardize themselves? So what? It's an individual's choice,
right? And if there's a penalty to pay or there's success involved, it's
yours, you earned it, you're entitled to it.
In a way it's really idiotic. If you feel that way, don't even look at it.
How can you look at something when down deep in your heart you're condemning
it? How can you enjoy it? You've got to be a real hypocrite. And these
things that happen, no one wants to see it happen. It's sad that they
happen, but hell, that's life. There are a lot of things that happen, both
pro and con, in life but who are we to judge or condemn it?
(ED. NOTE -- Again, our thanks to Thomas Gerbasi of the Cyber Boxing Zone
making the Chuck Bodak interview available for readers of The BAWLI Papers.)
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From: "J Michael Kenyon"
Subject: The BAWLI Papers No. 89
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 19:29:58 -0400