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Legendary boxing trainer Futch dies at 90

Oct. 1, 1975

Roach fondly remembers mentor Futch

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Futch was always in Frazier's corner
By Joe Frazier
Special to

Former heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier reflected for on Eddie Futch, the famed boxing trainer who died Oct. 10, 2001.

Considering all the fighters Eddie Futch has dealt with through the years, I consider him a lucky man. The world and the good man above were good to him all through his life. I'm just happy for the guy that he lived as long as he did. Ninety years old, I'd like to have that jug he was drinking out of. The Lord, his friends and the media have been good to him through the years. I don't remember anything bad about this man. Every time you'd see him, he'd have a smile on his face. He was always glad to meet you. He was always glad to see you. If you ever went to a party with him, it was a party. Wherever he was, the job would get done. If somebody has something bad to say about Eddie, give them to me.

Eddie Futch
Futch was first noticed on the world stage when he trained Joe Frazier in the '70s.
We go back to about 1967. Yancey "Yank" Durham, my original trainer, and I were looking for a scout man -- somebody to check out the opponents for us -- that's where Eddie started out for us. Eddie became the lookout man for us in California and he set us up with a couple of boys like Scrap Iron Johnson, Eddie Machen and Chuck Leslie.

Eddie's involvement with us in California played a big factor in my third and final fight with Muhammad Ali. We got into a situation where the eye exams in California became more difficult. So after our last fight in California, with George "Scrap Iron" Johnson, I pulled ship because I had two bad eyes and would never pass the test in California.

As we continued together, Yank Durham started looking at others to find the right opponent, Eddie moved up to the cut-man. He was there until Yank passed away and then he moved back to the training position. He was a fair guy. When Yank died, Eddie came right in and took over, never asking what kind of percentage he was going to get. There was no need to discuss what Eddie's percentage was -- we did the same deal I had with Yank.

Eddie and I made an agreement from the beginning, whatever the trainer or manager decides in the corner, that was it. No question about it. When I reached the 14th round of the "Thrilla in Manilla" against Ali, Eddie knew I could not see out of the left eye. The right eye was closed. Eddie stopped the fight. There was no use in me arguing about it. It all goes to show you that in that fight in '75 when he said "no," he knew the situation and I did too.

Ed was more of a "get-the-job-done, do-what-you-have-to-do" kind of trainer. He didn't come in and try to change your style. He didn't want you fight except the way you wanted to fight. He concentrated on trying to better the conditions. Yank was my first trainer, and Eddie tried to pick up and carry on with it.

Eddie never talked about his past as far as his own fights were concerned. I knew that he had been in the ring with Joe Louis, but he wasn't a guy who would talk about it. He was there to get the job done for you. There was never a question of asking why I have to do this or why he thought I could do it. Eddie always made me want to work for him and make sure I was in the best of shape. He was always there for me.

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