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Boxing Trainer Futch Retires

January 14, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Eddie Futch, one of the boxing’s greatest teachers, has retired.

Futch, not only trained fighters, he trained trainers, and the impact of his teachings will continue to have an impact on the sport he devoted his life to.

``I wasn’t feeling good,″ the 86-year-old Futch said Tuesday from his home at Las Vegas. ``I just couldn’t get things going. Physically, I’m fine, but I’m just not with it any more.″

The last fighter Futch had was Brandon Mitchum, a 20-year-old junior middleweight.

``I told Brandon if the time comes when you need advice, just call me.″ Futch said.

``He’s a great guy and an honest guy,″ said Joe Frazier in what is a high compliment to a man who spent 66 years in boxing, where integrity often is in short supply.

``I want that bottle he has, the one that made him live so long and made him contribute,″ Frazier, who turned 54 Monday, said of Futch.

Futch was asked by the Yank Durham to help train Frazier in 1966. Futch became Frazier’s chief trainer upon Durham’s death and it was he who stopped Frazier’s challenge against Muhammad Ali after 14 rounds at Manila in 1975, although Futch though Frazier was ahead at the time. Officially Ali had the fight clinched when it was stopped.

Frazier was virtually blind because his eyes were swollen nearly shut when Futch halted the bout. ``There isn’t enough money in the world to let him get hurt,″ Futch said.

Frazier was one of 21 world champions trained by Futch and one of six who became heavyweight champion. The other five were Larry Holmes, Ken Norton, Trevor Berbick, Michael Spinks and Riddick Bowe.

The first champion Futch trained was Don Jordan, who held the welterweight title in 1958-60. The last was Wayne McCullough, who lost the WBC super bantamweight title last year.

Some top trainers who worked as assistants to Futch are Thel Torrance, George Benton, Freddie Roach, Hedgemon Lewis, Murphy Griffith and Luther Burgess.

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