Monday, February 16, 2009

Jimmy Lange Remembers Al Gavin

From top Middleweight Jimmy Lange:

To me, Al Gavin was irreplaceable, as a friend and as a cutman. Al had a calming effect that came from his demeanor in and out of the ring. Nothing was gonna be shown to him that he had not seen. And he knew how to handle it."

We would talk for hours about boxing,life,women,you name it. In my time with him,he unselfishly shared a priceless look into the old time way of boxing,and life for that matter. He showed me that his perfection with cuts,was not born,it was BUILT. Built by someone willing to pass up the shortcuts and honor his trade.Respect for his trade was more important to him than money or fame.

The most important thing about Al was his compassion for his,and all fighters.He was a father to many,and fiercely protective of his men. First and foremost was his guys health. Most would say,"well that is how it should be". However, often many other things are given priority."

Never with Al.

He would refer to me as "kid",as he did with most. As I'm writing this,I can hear his voice as if he"s sitting next to me.

"What'll it be KID?","It's just a scratch KID","Now your doin it KID".
Well,we were all his KID,and we all knew it.

Al was a tough man,in the TOUGHEST sport.But his soft heart,compassion and integrity made him loved and respected by so many.

I miss you everyday Al.



"One of the nights that sticks out in my memories of Al was at a fight in New York city.I forget the venue,but it was in Times Square.I was to meet Al there at about 7:00 pm and shadow him for an evening of boxing.
Well I got there a little early and was told that Al had not arrived,however the mention of his name was credential enough,and I was escorted to the VIP pre fight party.

As I walked into the room,it was a small gathering,75-100 at most,but the vibe was that of a very rough crowd.
This was the kind of group who had been on both sides of the law and were proud of it. No nonsense.

Universaly,fighters are embraced in any situation,so I was comfortable.Still I put into practice the one method that is always appropriate.I kept my mouth shut and waited for Al.

So I became part of the scenery and was entertained by the personalities and conversations circulating the room.I remember how the testosterone coupled with anticipation of the fights,and of course add many different opinions on everything from,boxing to The Yankees and back to boxing,brought some the party goers to a boiling point.I felt as if there might be a couple extra,unscheduled,fights taking place that night.
Sure enough a scuffle broke out.This volitale situation was about to become a disaster.

Now,I'm no dummy,I headed for the door.And as I was leaving,guess who was walkin in?
Al saw me and said "stick with me".
The reaction of the room was priceless.
It was as if The Pope walked in.

All these tough guys forgot there beefs,and became like little kids around Al.
They clamoured the get to him,and show there respect.Very nonchalant,he chatted and made his way to the dressing room with me in tow.He denied countless requests to stay and converse.

I was filled with pride because I knew the only reason He came in there was to find me.

Anyway,as far as I know,the rest of the night went off without a hitch.And I got to watch a master at work."

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