Hall of Fame boxing trainer Angelo Dundee was reunited with a piece of his glorious past thanks to boxing fan Ken Drodvillo. Turning 90 this Tuesday August 30, 2011 Angelo Dundee was all smiles as Drodvillo presented Dundee with an early birthday gift. The gift was a mounted red brick from the old 5th Street Gym that will serve as a link between old and new 5th Street Gym which opened last September in Miami Beach.
The legendary 5th Street gym in Miami Beach which produced Muhammad Ali and countless other champions under the watchful eye of Angelo Dundee was no more. It was thought that nothing was saved except for the iconic window that was painted with the gyms name which is now mounted on the wall at the recently reopened 5th Street Gym. Ken Drodvillo an avid boxing fan and current Miami resident kept the spirit of the old gym alive as he one day drove past the site after it was demolished back in 1994 and noticed the rubble. Drodvillo a huge fan of Muhammad Ali says that looking at the recently demolished site made him think, “What a shame, all that history gone in a flash”. Drodvillo grabbed one of the bricks and mounted it as a reminder of boxing memories past and gave it to his attorney and fellow boxing fanatic Tim Agagnost.
Fast forward 17 years and a new modern 5th Street Gym is reopened at the same address on 555 Washington Ave. Angelo Dundee is part owner but spends much time with family as his partners and head trainers Matt Baiamonte and Dino Spencer oversee day to day operations. Ken Drodvillo, now a consultant for Capt. Jimmy’s Fiesta Cruise Boat in Miami one day walks in to speak to Baiamonte about a cruise promotion when naturally they shift their conversation to the old 5th Street Gym. Drodvillo who arrived to Miami in 1963 when stationed at the Homestead Air force Base shared with Baiamonte his memories of the old gym. It was at this moment when Ken had the idea to ask his friend Tim Agagnost to donate the brick to Dundee for his birthday.
Matt Baiamonte arranged the meeting between Ken Drodvillo and Dundee at the gym for the brick exchange. The still spry Dundee was grateful as he took out time from mentoring a young boxer to receive the brick. The always engaging Dundee chatted with Ken about years past as he posed for pictures and signed autographs for everyone that asked.
Ken Drodvillo said,” What a pleasure it was to meet a living legend and to present him with a part of the 5st Gym for his 90th birthday. I felt like I was part of boxing history, and that Angelo appreciated that we donated the brick. I am sure people who visit the 5st Street Gym, will get a kick out of seeing the brick”.