The Rundown

Magnificent Seven: Boxing’s greatest ever trainers

The Rundown

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Emanuel Steward

Emanuel Steward

The sport of boxing lost a legend Thursday with the death of renowned trainer Emanuel Steward.

The Hall of Famer, widely known as the Godfather of Detroit boxing, worked with Thomas Hearns, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya and many more world champion fighters.

In honour of Steward, and in no particular order, here is our pick of the best trainers the sport has ever seen.

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Emanuel Steward (1944-2012)

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Heavyweight title holder boxer Vladimir Klitschko of Ukraine chats with his coach Emanuel Steward (Reuters)

Heavyweight title holder boxer Vladimir Klitschko of Ukraine chats with his coach Emanuel Steward (Reuters)

Born in West Virginia, Steward spent his formative years in Detroit after moving to the Motor City at age 12. Following an extremely successful amateur career, Steward began training at the Kronk Gym in his mid-20s.

While at Kronk he transitioned from boxer to trainer, and began developing amateurs in Detroit. In 1977, Steward's protege, Thomas Hearns, went professional. "The Hitman" would go on to win six world titles. In addition to Hearns, Steward worked with numerous world champions throughout his career, including Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko.

Eddie Futch (1911-2001)

Futch came up as an amateur boxer in Detroit in the 1930s, and even trained with Joe Louis at the Brewster Recreation Center Gym. Soft-spoken but a brilliant coach, Futch's first breakthrough came in 1958, when his pupil Don Jordan won the welterweight title.

Futch began working with Joe Frazier in 1966, two years after Frazier had won an Olympic gold medal. Futch coached Frazier through all three of his bouts with Muhammed Ali, and the Mississippian actually coached four of the five men ever to beat Ali: Frazier, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick.

Late in his career Futch also worked with a young fighter from New England: Freddie Roach, who appears at number three in this list.

Angelo Dundee (1921-2012)

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Celebrated boxing trainer Angelo Dundee, Muhammad Ali's cornerman in his greatest fights, has died at the age of 90. - 2

Dundee is perhaps best known as the man who made Muhammed Ali legendary. The two began working together in 1960, when Ali was just a teenager. They stayed together for more than two decades, forming one of the most formidable partnerships in the history of the sport.

Dundee also worked with Sugar Rey Leonard and George Foreman, among others. Dundee's Fifth Street Gym in Miami became a haven for boxers and celebrities alike.

Ray Arcel (1899-1994)

A pioneer of the profession, Arcel started training fighters in his early 20s and had his first champion at age 24. Kind to a fault but strong-willed with his proteges, Arcel had a style that has been described as "part psychologist, part warden, part boxing savant."

In total Arcel had upwards of 20 champions, including Benny Leonard, Larry Holmes and Freddie Steele.

Cus D'Amato (1908-1985)

D'Amato was so dedicated to the sport that after opening the Empire Sporting Club at the Gramercy Gym in New York, he lived at the gym for several years. He began training Floyd Patterson at the Gramercy Gym when Patterson was just 14. D'Amato was an innovator of the "peek-a-boo" stance, which Patterson used throughout his career.

In addition to training Patterson and Jose Torres, D'Amato began working with Mike Tyson towards the end of his life. While D'Amato died in 1985, he is credited with moulding Tyson into the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

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Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao - 0
Freddie Roach (1960-Present)

Roach had the most successful professional career of anyone on this list, going 40-13 as a pro. But after showing signs of Parkinson's disease, Roach retired in 1986 at age 26.

He currently trains some of the best boxers in the world, including Manny Pacquiao and Julio César Chávez Jr., as well as UFC champion Georges St-Pierre.

Jack Blackburn (1883-1942)

The 135-pounder's promising boxing career was derailed in 1909, when he killed three people in a shooting spree. Blackburn, known as "Chappy," spent nearly five years in jail before returning to the ring and eventually retiring in 1923. When Blackburn first met Joe Louis in the early 1930s, he was skeptical about how an African-American man would fare in the heavyweight division.

It didn't take long for Louis to prove himself. With Blackburn in his corner, Louis won the heavyweight title and defended his crown more than 20 times. Blackburn became ill during Louis' 21st title defense in 1942 and died shortly thereafter.

"I guess I thought I'd be heavyweight champion forever and Chappie would always be with me," Louis said. "Chappie had been another father, a teacher, and a friend, so when you think about it, I lost three people, not one."

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