Updated Info - Sugar Ray Robinson's trainer:

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by Sinister, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I can't recall if we clarified this or not because some were under the impression that Jack Blackburn trained Robinson. In fact it was an understudy of Blackburn in Harry Wiley:

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    Wiley is very unsung as a trainer, probably due to being outshone by Blackburn's fame and name, which is double harsh considering very few people know who Blackburn was nowadays. But Wiley worked with both Robinson and Henry Armstrong (when he was an Amateur). Anyhow, here's an interesting article on Wiley penned by his Son Harry Jr.:

    (This is for all of you guys who always ask me for info on trainers.)

    http://www.saddoboxing.com/16987-harry-wiley.html

    Now the interesting thing for me to read about was the connection to Jamaica. Mike McCallum's favorite fighter was Robinson, but I wondered how he came to admire specific things about Robinson. I always knew Mike was a sparring partner in his Amateur days for, at that time, Jamaica's best fighter in Bunny Grant. Turns out Grant was trained by none other than Harry Wiley. So of course, Mike would see the things Robinson was taught to do in someone he had to be in the ring with. There's no footage of Grant in circulation (probably in private collections it exists), but you can tell he was a classic boxer:

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  2. fightingrabbit

    fightingrabbit Banned Banned

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    So where did Gainford in all of this? Just a manager?
     
  3. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Yes. I mentioned in another thread that one of the reasons trainers are so difficult to track down is because many of these great fighters come to feel like they don't need them, or they disagree with managers and get fired (and the fighter is good enough to proceed on his own), or the manager simply fires the trainer to keep more of the money. When that happens, managers will sometimes do the cornering themselves.

    Robinson was also, in part, forged by another veteran in Horace "Soldier" Jones:

    [​IMG]

    But he's another one where info of his existence as a trainer is hard to come by. But here's an account of his career as a fighter:

    http://www.harrygreb.com/soldierjones.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  4. a guy

    a guy Black Belt

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    Awesome, thanks. Gonna read the article tomorrow.
     
  5. Discipulus

    Discipulus Black Belt

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    What an outstanding article. It's a shame, really. Boxing has, probably more than any other art except perhaps Muay Thai, maintained its viability as a self defense and fighting system through competition; as a combat sport, it's pretty much unmatched. But as a martial art, boxing has lost a lot of its lineage and respect for tradition. There are so many great trainers that we'll probably never know of except through chance mentionings. Others are probably forgotten entirely.

    This is why it warmed my heart yesterday when I stepped into the local boxing gym and got a little tour from the coach, who proudly showed me not only his championship belt, but the plaque commemorating the achievements of his trainer and the other fighters brought up by him. History is important.

    Thanks for the article. Sounds like Wiley is more than deserving of a HoF spot.
     
  6. SaiWa

    SaiWa Black Belt

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    fun and educational read...

    thanks...

    I do hope Harry Wiley Sr gets in into the IBHOF eventually...

    Does he even get mentioned or nominated or is he not even put up for consideration?
     
  7. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I don't know if he's ever been brought up for contention. But he should be.
     
  8. Jhf884

    Jhf884 Orange Belt

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    Here's an interesting article from Harry Wiley's son: http://theboxingmagazine.com/2009/09/06/the-forgotten-trainer-of-sugar-ray-robinson/

    Don't know if you all have seen that. Also, another guy who helped train Ray was the enigmatic Pee-Wee Beale.

    As an aside: I like the lineage stuff, but I feel like getting too caught up on it is a mistake--Martial arts where lineage is celebrated usually end up developing an attitude that one shouldn't learn from anyone BUT the Sensei/shi-fu/whatever. It is better if people learn from everybody they can as well as from their own observation and experience. Just b/c A trained B doesn't mean that all A's knowledge was passed down OR that everything B learned he learned from A.
     
  9. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    That article is linked in the article on main article in the opening post, it IS a very good one.

    Beale is also credited as a trainer of Henry Armstrong. My guess would be he took over main duties when, for whatever reason, Wiley stepped aside. Wiley and Beale worked quite a bit together. The other interesting character in Armstrong's career is cutman Al Silvani. Al was a fixture at Stillman's Gym in New York, and he was in one of the Rocky movies, I can't remember if it was 1 or 2, but he's the cutman Mick got for Rocky who looked at Rocky's face and said "Eh, I've seen worse."

    This thread is not about focusing on lineage as much as it is giving credit where credit is due, and stating the correct info on who Robinson's trainer actually was.

    EDIT: - Wiley trained Ali for one fight, against Jimmy Ellis. The reason is because Dundee was loyal to Ellis. Here's the bout with Wiley vs. Dundee in the corners:

     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  10. Jhf884

    Jhf884 Orange Belt

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    Sorry for the repost--I missed the main article somehow.

    And I agree totally--lineage is fascinating and a lot of these shadowy figures deserve the credit they never really received.

    I knew about Ali & Wiley. Ali was supposedly very complimentary of Wiley too.
     
  11. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Yes, he even said Wiley taught him new skills, particularly how to roll his shoulders. Which is interesting considering that Ali always boxed like a Cuban, and the Cubans aren't very big on doing that. It's more of an American thing.
     

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