Cus D'Amato - A "Legendary Trainer Even Among Legends" - Boxing Daily (2023)



Birthday:January 17, 1908
Died:November 4, 1985 (age 77)
Birthplace:New York, USA
gyms:'Empire Sporting Club - Gramercy Gym'. D'Amato's Catskill NY Gym.
location:New York
boxing background:Amateur boxer, boxing trainer
notable fighters:Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres and the 'Badest Man on the Planet!' 'Iron'Mike Tyson
Notable Mentee Trainers:pelúcia atlase kevin rooney


  • 1 The early life of Cus D'Amato
  • 2 Cus D'Amato the Trainer
  • 3 famous wrestlers from Cus D'Amato
  • 4 The Gramercy Gym and the 'peek-a-boo' style
  • The personal life of 5 Cus, also linked to boxing!
  • 6 other Cus D'Amato fighters
  • 7 Reject Ali and find 'Iron Mike'!
  • 8 Cus D'Amato's - Legado
  • 9 Fun Fact
(Video) When An Old Man SHOCKED Muhammad Ali - The Legendary Cus D'Amato

The Early Life of Cus D'Amato

Constantine D'Amato, the son of Italian-American parents, was born in the New York neighborhood of the Bronxon on January 17, 1908. 'Cus', as he would come to be known, had a very interesting youth and not necessarily associated with someone who would become a legendary boxing trainer. In fact, from a very young age, Cus became very involved and interested in Catholicism to the point where he considered becoming a priest. Ultimately, he didn't go that route, choosing instead to become an amateur boxer, where he fought at featherweight and lightweight. However, Cus was unable to obtain a professional license due to an eye injury. An injury that allegedly occurred as a result of his involvement in a street fight. That said, Cus was a victim of routine beatings by his father and confirmed this in an interview by stating that "he held no grudge against his father beating him and that, in fact, it made him a better and more disciplined man."

*Please note that the above is not literal but was documented in the biographical novel 'Confusing the Enemy: The Story of Cus D'Amato'by Scott Weiss (2013).

However, it added weight to many people's claims that the injury occurred during one of the brutal beatings Cus suffered at the hands of his father.

Cus D'Amato the Trainer

In 1939, aged just 22, Cus and partner Jack Barrow opened the Empire Sporting Club; The Gramercy Boxing Gym located at 116 East 14th Street was aimed at developing the potential of young fighters.

The academy launched the careers of some of the greatest boxing legends of our time. Cus, by his own admission, literally lived there for years, hanging out at the gym in his words, "just waiting for a 'champion'". Unfortunately, during the early years, Cus lost many of its best boxers as they were routinely ripped off by "connected" managers, and in particular the International Boxing Club of New York (IBC). A corporation that allegedly had known ties to the Mafia and ties and connections to the 'Lucchese crime family'. Renowned for his uncompromising integrity and honesty, Cus refused to allow any of his fighters to participate in any IBC-sponsored fights. A decision vindicated when the group was later found guilty of conspiracy, racketeering and violation of antitrust laws and subsequently disbanded in 1960.

One notable fighter that Cus encountered but unfortunately lost was 'Rocky Graziano', who during this time signed with other trainers and managers and became the World Middleweight Champion.


Cus D'Amato - A "Legendary Trainer Even Among Legends" - Boxing Daily (1)

The famous fighters of Cus D'Amato

It took ten years of waiting before Cus was finally able to find the "champion" he was looking for, when a 14 year old named Floyd Patterson walked into Gramercy Gym.

Under Cus's tutelage, Patterson would win the Olympic middleweight gold medal at the 1952 games in Helsinki. In the same year, Floyd also won the National Amateur Middleweight Championship and the New York Golden Gloves Middleweight Championship. After that, Cus guided Patterson through the notoriously difficult pro rankings and into a position for him to challenge for a title vacated by Rocky Marciano. Patterson first beat Tommy 'Hurricane' Jackson in an elimination match before facing World Light Heavyweight Champion Archie Moore on November 30, 1956 for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Using his unique "peek-a-boo" style developed by Cus D'Amato, Patterson knocked out Moore in five rounds to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history at the tender age of just 21 years and 10 months. Notably, he would also become the first Olympic gold medalist to win a professional heavyweight title. However, Cus and Patterson unfortunately parted ways after Patterson's second straight KO of Sonny Liston.

The Gramercy Gym and the 'peek-a-boo' style

Cus's academy for young fighters in New York was a tough place to get into. Literally! The front door on East 14th Street was heavy and, when opened, led to a dimly lit staircase and a dark climb to a landing with another door. Many children would come to that door and feel unable to open it. It was by design, not by default. Cus once opined, "The first thing I want to know about a kid is can he open that door." If they did, they would enter the tough, tough, disciplined Cus D'Amato school.

Here, fighters were trained in a style that Cus had invented: "peek-a-boo" boxing. In essence, it was a style in which the boxer's hands were placed in front of the face and punch patterns 3-2-3, body-head-body, or 3-3-2, body-body-head.

Cus' personal life, also linked to boxing!

In the early 1970s, Cus began looking for a mansion large enough to accommodate about 12 of his most talented apprentices, with the capacity to serve up to another 50. D'Amato (then 60 years old) met his future wife Camille Ewald, who was thinking of selling her home, a 14-bedroom Victorian mansion. D'Amato came and made him an offer! He would be solely responsible for all the training and management of his fighters, while she would be responsible for all the housework and cooking! It was a relationship that worked!

Cus D'Amato'sother fighters

After Patterson, Cus would go on to coach José Torres, who won the World Light Heavyweight Championship by defeating International Boxing Hall of Famer Willie Pastrano. However, it was Torres' 1967 rematch against Dick Tiger inMadison Square Garden(in which an all-out riot broke out) and the loss of Torres to a referee decision that had a profound effect on Cus. A sensitive and caring man by nature, Cus often couldn't stand violence in the ring, let alone outside. And although this event saw him move to Athens, NY and open D'Amato's Gym in Catskill the following year, Cus, while still in the game, became reclusive.

(Video) Teddy Atlas on Cus D'Amato - Boxing Legend & Trainer to Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson - PART 2

Reject Ali and find 'Iron Mike'!

In 1970, after serving his 3-year prison sentence for refusing to serve during the Vietnam War,Muhammad Alihe called Cus D'Amato and asked him to train him. D'Amato declined; the enduring opinion that he had no patience for Ali's circus!

In 1980, however, he was introduced to a young man named Mike Tyson, who was in a nearby reformatory (who by the age of 14 had been arrested 38 times) and began training at D'Amato's Gym. Cus developed a special bond with Tyson and legally adopted him when his mother died in 1984. Tyson began using the famous 'Peek-a-boo' style and was also assisted in training by Cus' famous protégé trainers Teddy Atlas and Kevin Rooney , which emphasized the elusive movement. There began the story of the 'baddest man on the planet'.ho

However, this is the story of Cus D'Amato and, admitting a bit of cliché, Tyson's appearance on the scene ensured that, after some 20 years operating on the sidelines, Cus was back in the "Big Time of Boxing". D'Amato drew attention when he announced that within two years he expected to match Tyson "with all the marbles", meaning he wanted to ensure that Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history. What followed was, indeed, an epic story.

Cus D'Amato's - Legado

Tragically, Cus D'Amato would not live to see his goal fulfilled when he died of pneumonia at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan on November 4th.a1985. However, Tyson would supplant Patterson's legacy and fulfill Cus's prophecy by becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in the world by winning the title at the age of 20 at 22.Dakota do NorteNovember 1986, destroying Trevor Berbick via TKO in two rounds.

Cus D'Amato was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995.

Two years earlier, at the demolition of his gym, Cus D'Amato had a plaque erected in his honor with part of 14th Street renamed "Cus D'Amato Way". Floyd Patterson, José Torres and Vinnie Ferguson were present at the ceremony.

(Video) Teddy Atlas on Cus D'Amato - Boxing Legend & Trainer to Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson - PART 1

fun fact

Cus D'Amato didn't really have any real formal boxing training. He grew up as one of five siblings and learned to fight on the streets of New York!



(Video) Cus D'amato - Discover and Uncover Tribute


1. Muhammad Ali And Cus D'Amato Behind The Scenes, Rocky Marciano , Jack Dempsey ( rare 1970 )
(Fights And Rap Media)
2. How Cus D'Amato made Floyd Patterson Champion - Documentary Early Career COLORIZED PART 1
(Legends of Boxing)
3. PEEK-A-BOO: A documentary on Cus D'amato (PART ONE)
(Nick “Fin” Finlayson)
4. Muhammad Ali Left Cus D'Amato Speechless
5. Mike Tyson on What Cus D'amato Taught Him | Joe Rogan
(JRE Clips)
6. Cus D'Amato Quotes; Mike Tyson's Legendary Coach
(LiVe Simplified)
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