Eddie Mustafa Muhammad

  • April 14th, 2008
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Status: Former WBA Light Heavyweight champion. Currently a world class trainer based in Las Vegas.

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 200-something.

DOB: April 30, 1952 In: Brooklym, N.Y.

Childhood Heroes: “Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Sugar Ray Robinson.”

Childhood Ambition: “I always wanted to make something of myself to make my mother and father proud. When I took up boxing I knew I was going to be a world champion because of the type of person I am. I can’t take defeat. I’d will myself to win. I knew what my capabilities and desires were and what I had to do to get there. Can’t is not even in my vocabulary.”

Nicknames: “Flame, Cool Hand, Smooth. I never let anything bother or rile me. If I got hit I kept the same expression.”

Favorite Movies: “James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart movies. Angels With Dirty Faces, White Heat, The Roaring Twenties, High Sierra.”

Musical Tastes: “All, really. Classical, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, R&B, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, old Blues.”

Favorite TV Shows: “Wildlife documentaries – very educational. I order those wildlife tapes. If my friends in New York saw them they’d think I lost it. I’m kind of refined and laid back now.”

Hobbies/Interests: “Shooting. I own a vast collection of guns. Target practice. It lets off a certain release from the rigors of the gym, or from life. I also play a little basketball.”

Best Books I Read: “Holy Qur’an. The second best book is Prayer and Al-Islam.”

Early Tyson Memory: “I remember Mike when he was eight-years-old. Little big kid. He was always big, strong, tried to intimidate you. (Even back then?) It was the environment where we came from, that’s all. (When did you realize he’d be a good boxer?) It happened when he went away to reform school. Then you started hearing about Mike. A gentleman by the name of Bobby Stewart was training Mike at the time. They kept ranting and raving about Mike. But we all knew in Brooklyn what type of fighter he was. Those things happen. A lot of good athletes come out of, not just Brooklyn, in Brownsville, that area – myself, Willie Randolph, Sly Williams, World B. Free, Ron Hagler – he used to play for the Detroit Pistons. We all came up in the same radius of two blocks.”

Greatest Career Moment: “When I won the 1971 New York Golden Gloves in Madison Square Garden in front of 20,000 people. I beat big favorite Vito Antuofermo.”

Most Painful Moment: “When they said I didn’t make the weight for the second Michael Spinks fight in Washington D.C. in 1982, when I know I did. Michael never wanted to fight me in the first place. I had to go to court to get him to fight me.”

Toughest Opponents: “Mario Rosa, my fourth 10-rounder at the Felt Forum. He knocked me down in the sixth and seventh rounds. I knocked him out in the eighth. I had that will, wouldn’t lose, couldn’t lose, refused to lose. Also Marvin Johnson and Matthew Saad Muhammad. Saad, then Matt Franklin, knocked me down in the first. But I got up and wore him out.”

Hardest Punchers: “Saad, Victor Galindez.”

Favorite Boxers To Watch: “Ray Robinson of course. Buddy McGirt. Ali. Jose Napoles. Carlos Zarate. Frankie Randall.”

Favorite Fights: “Bruce Curry-Monroe Brooks. Give and take till that last round when Curry unloaded that left hook. Foreman-Lyle, oh man, that was another one. Foreman down twice, Lyle down twice. Lyle had the edge until he got hit. Saad Muhammad-Richie Kates. Saad-Johnson I, II.”

Funniest Boxers Encountered: “Hector Camacho, he’s crazy in a great way. Keeps me laughing all the time. Renaldo Snipes, another one. He was crazy, gone! Just makes you laugh. Renaldo was cool.”

Pre-Fight Feeling: “I let my fighter know the guy in the other corner is trying to stop him from his livelihood, stop him from achieving his goals. Trying to take away his goal of having a big house.”

Interesting Fact: “I try to be a good person, friend and good American Muslim to everyone.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “People of strength and conviction who believe in themselves. Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Iman Warithuddin Muhammad. They played a big part in my life. That die hard image. These people showed me the way to go, the way to live. There’s so many people I admire.”

Extra: Sparring with Tyson: “I boxed with Mike when he was about 19. I was at the tail end of my career. Boxed for three rounds. Just spent one day up there. I wasn’t doing anything that day so I drove up. I was living in Woodbridge, N.J. And went back home. After the sparring session was over he asked me, How did you do I do that? I said, I’m not gonna tell you because I may have to box you again [laughs]. (What did you do? Can you tell now?) Boxed his ears off. I’m not gonna let this man hit me. I was like 180 pounds. We had a big ring. I knew how to use the ring. When he got close I tied him up. (What about his power?) It’s funny you should ask. The sparring partner before me, Mike knocked him out. Crushed him with a right hand. He was already warm. (I heard some gusy went up to spar and took one look at him and left the gym.) Mike was that sort of intimidating person. A ton of muscles with a mean look. He had an animosity in his face, from the jump start.”

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