ARCEL, RAY


ARCEL, RAY
ARCEL, RAY (1899–1994), U.S. boxing trainer. Arcel is considered the greatest trainer in the sport by virtue of having helped guide 20 boxers to 23 world championships from 1923 to 1982, and was called "the first gentleman of fist fighting" by sportswriter Red Smith. Arcel trained 1,500–2,000 fighters and was the first trainer inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. His mother died when he was four years old and his father moved the family to New York's Lower East Side and then to East Harlem, primarily an Italian neighborhood. "You had to fight in those days," Arcel said. "We were the only Jewish family there." After Arcel graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan in 1917, he began his boxing career as a club fighter and trained at Grupp's Gym, where he learned the trade from old-timer Dai Dollings and veteran Frank "Doc" Bagley. It was Bagley who taught Ray to be a successful "cut man," teaching him how to close the cuts of fighters during the one-minute break between rounds. After professional boxing was legalized in New York City in 1920, Arcel became one of the city's top trainers, and developed his first world champion, flyweight Frankie Genaro, in 1923. Arcel teamed up with whitey bimstein in 1925 to form the most successful training tandem in boxing, a partnership that lasted nine years and handled a number of champions, including Jackie "Kid" berg . Arcel was known as a tough disciplinarian, but a trainer who showed concern for his fighters like a caring father. His strictness was put to the test in 1925, when he had to make Charley Phil Rosenberg lose 37 pounds in 10 weeks to make the 118-pound weight for his bantamweight title challenge. "He hated me," said Arcel. "He used to scream at me, 'You copper\!' But he made the weight and went 15 tough rounds," capturing the world bantamweight crown on March 20 by beating Eddie "Cannonball" Martin, to whom he had twice lost previously. Arcel worked with his hero, benny leonard , when he attempted a failed comeback in 1931, but was otherwise highly successful during that time. In 1934 alone, five of his fighters were world champions. Arcel's first heavyweight was James J. Braddock, whom he trained for his bout with Joe Louis. Braddock lost the fight on June 22, 1937, and became the first of 13 heavyweights Arcel trained who would fall to the Brown Bomber. It earned Arcel the nickname "The Meat Wagon" from Louis, for having to drag each of Louis' victims from the ring. Finally, on September 27, 1950, the Arcel-trained Ezzard Charles won a decision over Louis, who was attempting a comeback. Arcel was considered a genius for concocting a fight plan and was in great demand, but he dropped out of sight after being hit on the head with a lead pipe in front of a Boston hotel in September 1953. Arcel had been arranging fights for ABC television, but the matches competed with other network television fights run by an organization reputed to have underworld ties, and it was believed the assault was to send Arcel a message. He returned in the early 1970s and showed he had not lost anything, training Alfonso "Peppermint" Frazier to the junior welterweight championship on March 10, 1972. Arcel then began an eight-year association with Roberto Duran. Arcel trained this Panamanian to the WBA lightweight title on June 26, 1972, and the WBC welterweight championship in his first meeting with Sugar Ray Leonard on June 20, 1980. But Arcel broke with the Panamanian after the famous second bout five months later, on November 25, 1980, when Duran suddenly quit with 16 seconds left in the eighth round by uttering his infamous "no mas\!" ("no more"). "Duran was never a quitter," Arcel said two years later. "This was one of those things that happen. Who knows what happens to a human being from one moment to the next?" Arcel worked his last championship bout on June 11, 1982, assisting former student Eddie Futch in Larry Holmes' corner in a successful title defense against Gerry Cooney. In 1982, Ray became the first trainer inducted into Ring Magazine's Boxing Hall of Fame. His world champions were Frankie Genaro (flyweight, 1923), Abe Goldstein (bantamweight, 1924), Charlie Phil Rosenberg (bantamweight, 1925), Jackie "Kid" Berg (welterweight, 1930), Lou Brouillard (middleweight, 1933), Teddy Yarosz (middleweight, 1934), Barney Ross (lightweight and junior welterweight, 1933, and welterweight, 1934), Sixto Escobar (bantamweight, 1934), Bob Olin (light-heavyweight, 1934), James J. Braddock (heavyweight, 1934), Tony Marino (bantamweight, 1936), Freddie Steele (middleweight, 1937), Ceferino Garcia (middleweight, 1939), Billy Soose (middle-weight, 1941), Tony Zale (middleweight, 1946), Ezzard Charles (heavyweight, 1950), Kid Gavilan (welterweight, 1951), Alfonso "Peppermint" Frazier (junior welterweight, 1972), Roberto Duran (lightweight, 1972, and welterweight, 1980), and Larry Holmes (heavyweight, 1982). (Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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