After 6O years in boxing, the 82-year old Eddie Futch, a great grandfather who is as active as ever, commands a kind of awe and respect which has inspired appreciative explicatives such as "...legendary", "creator of champions", "...a boxing treasure", ...one of the best trainers to ever work a fighter's corner". The amicable and dignified trainer, who lives in Las Vegas, continues to mold World Champions, work corners, and hop the globe from arena to arena. , His current project is training the Ex-World Champion. Riddick Bowe, who Futch says"... reminds him of a young Muhammad Ali. He has all the boxing skills to regain the Heavyweight Championship of the world."
He also continues to work with Ex-World Champion, Mike McCallum, who currently has a title match approaching in July in which he expects to gain the light Heavyweight Championship of the world. It is such dedication and enthusiasm that has helped make Futch one of the greatest trainers in boxing history...and history this man has!!
Futch was born in Hillsboro, Mississippi, and was raised in Detroit, Michigan. Had he grown a few inches taller, he might never have discovered boxing. Futch's first love, you see, was basketball. But he was married at age 17, and a father at 19, and for financial reasons, he had to give up traveling as a semi-pro "hoop star."
After an older cousin bought a pair of gloves. Futch began to fool with boxing. Soon after, Futch was the Lightweight Champion of the Detroi1 Athletic Association. In 1933, he won a Detroit Golden Glove title, and a year later, a National AAU crown. His fondest memories, however, are of landing punches against a well-known sparring partner named Joe Louis. "I would hit him with his hook from time to time, "he boasts".
In 1936, Futch's boxing career ended when he was diagnosed as having a heart murmur. But at that point, he was already training fighters. He eventually headed the team of the Brewster Recreational Center and dominated Detroit's inner-city tournaments.
During World War II, Futch worked as a spot-welder at the Ford Motor Company while training his first contender, top-ranked Welterweight Lester Felton. In 1951 he moved his family to Los Angeles where he and his close friend, trainer Jackie McCoy, began to dominate West Coast boxing. In 1958, Welterweight Don Jordan decisioned Virgil Akins, and Futch had his first World Champion. As it stands today, Futch has had a total of 18 World Champions in his career so far!
"I wasn't even in boxing in 1930, when I saw the Welterweight title change hands, young Jack Thompson beating Jackie Fields in Detroit," Futch said. "Twenty-eight years later, I saw my fighter, Jordan, win the title. I never dreamed I'd be there to hear them announce, "...the new Welterweight Champion of the World."
Since the Jordan victory, Futch has added to his scrapbook, which could fi1l a small library. He first gained international prominence in the 70's. Joe Frazier and Ken Norton were the first fighters to defeat Muhammad Ali, and Futch worked with both of them. Norton was relatively unknown before breaking Ali's jaw and out pointing him in 1973. "I've never seen a jab yet that couldn't be taken away, "Futch said". "That was the key to Norton upsetting Ali, and there was no better jab than Ali's."
In 1975, Frazier met Ali for the third time. The "Thrilla in Manilla" was one of the greatest fights in history, with Ali and Futch emerging as winners. Rebounding from a mid-round beating, Ali punished Frazier and began to close his eyes with punches in the 12th, 13th and 14th rounds. Futch, displaying a humanity rarely seen in a brutal business, acted against his fighters wishes and decided not to allow Frazier out of his corner for the final round.
Futch again showed his class in 1985, when he remained neutral for the Larry Holmes- Michael Spinks clash. Futch had trained both fighters, and instead of choosing sides, he watched from a ringside seat. But he was one of the few experts who envisioned success for Spinks as a Heavyweight, "He would put juice into the division." Futch said at the time. "He'll be a 200-pounder and yet not lose any of his punching snap because of the extra weight."
Futch worked with Spinks throughout his Heavyweight career, preparing him for his bouts against Gerry Cooney, Stephen Tangsted and finally Mike Tyson.
Once again, Futch's knowledge and foresight has been an invaluable part of Riddick Bowe's road to the Heavyweight Crown, and will be crucial factor in him regaining the Heavyweight Title again.
In 1994 Futch joined forces with his long-time friend and training partner, Thell Torrence, to form Futch/Torrence International Limited. Their business partnership will enhance their capabilities and provide years of experience, to their current champions and upcoming prospects such as: Ireland's Silver Medallist, Wayne McCullough, Illinois' own Montell Griffin, Uganda's Baby Beast Justin Juuko, and kickboxing's World Champion, Cash McCallum. With the "Old Master" in their corner, they can only be great!!!
Who is Eddie Futch? He is a legend, a library of history and knowledge, a master and a poet to the sport of boxing, "Papa Smurf," daddy, grandfather and great grandfather. He is a talented, caring, loving man who knows boxing like Michael Jordan knows basketball, and a man who can teach us all about the facts of life.