BOXING LOST TRUE HERO IN CHUCK BODAK

August 2nd, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez

Chuck Bodak

Chuck Bodak

OBITUARY OF AN ICONIC FIGURE 

San Bruno, CA- When people die, you tend to look back on your relationship with that person and render an overall opinion of him or her. That being said one of boxing’s “living legends” in Chuck Bodak died Thursday night from a heart attack. Both smart and kind, I can’t imagine anyone having anything negative to say about a man so kind and far ahead of his time intellectually, that he must have gotten lonesome!

BODAK A WISEMAN OF THE HIGHEST ORDER

Besides a brilliant boxing mind, Chuck could talk politics, government, history, in other words it was nearly impossible to sneak a fastball past him. Unique in a plethora of ways, Chuck Bodak was born in Gary, IN on June 3, 1916. Shortly after the Japanese attacked Peal Harbor in 1941, Chuck enlisted in the US Army.

TOUGH TO PUT 92+ YEARS ON PAPER

Incredibly he would survive WW II’sBattle of The Bulge,” this after being shot twice and awarded two Purple Hearts. His involvement in boxing began circa 1929 at Schonfield’s Athletic Club in Gary. Returning from the war, Chuck who would have 100+ amateur fights himself, coached the National Golden Gloves team in the late 1950s and began working with a young teenager named Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali).

WITH MARCIANO JUST BEFORE HE DIED

And while Chuck and Ali would reunite in the late 1970s, what I thought was most intriguing about Chuck, was that in 1969 he was with Rocky Marciano on that fateful July evening just before Marciano was beheaded in a plane crash. And the last photograph Marciano ever took was with Chuck!

MORE THAN JUST A BOXING CULT HERO!

An artist of sorts, Chuck drew cartoons and portraits, and in the early 90s become a bit of a cult hero while working with Jorge “Maramero” Paez. Painting his dome in an array of colors, Chuck was now living in the Los Angeles area and soon became a fixture at big fights. As kind a man as you’ll ever meet, Chuck only held one grudge that I know of and that was with Oscar De La Hoya, this after Oscar abruptly jettisoned him from his role as the Golden Boy’s cut man sans any personal contact.

LIFE OF THE LEGEND ON FILM SOMEWHERE!

Several years ago, trainer/historian Arturo Gastelum and fight publicist Mario Serrano, they were instrumental in getting the Chuck Bodak story on film. Both trainer and publicist, Gastelum and Serrano, they traveled from city to city with Chuck and the film crew. According to Gastelum, who has to be crushed seeing he had such a warm spot in his heart for Bodak and always showing him the respect a man of Chuck’s stature deserved. Turns out, last I heard was the people that shot the documentary have disappeared and he has no idea where the footage is!

WORLD HAS SUFFERED A TREMENDOUS LOSS

In closing, Chuck Bodak was a man who tried to make a positive impact wherever and whatever he did. Trainer, cut man, author, historian, folks Chuck Bodak was all that and so much more. In other words, the world would be a better place if more people were cut from the same cloth as Chuck! He was 92. This article initially ran on February 7, 2009.

SAYING GOODBYE TO A LEGEND!

You can leave your comments regarding the incomparable Chuck Bodak below.

Pedro Fernandez

COMMENTS

  1. A stencil for cutmen in the future. Man loved boxing so much, he wore it not only on his sleeve, but on his head, corner accessories, and car to name a few. Legend.

    Mike on August 2nd, 2013 at 7:05 AM
  2. Nice flashback.

    Tyrone on August 6th, 2013 at 3:31 PM
  3. I met Chuck at some fights in El Paso Tx, and had the honor of talking to him for a good 30 mins. He reminds me of another great I met and that was Jay Edson. They both were very kind people.

    ray ybarra on August 11th, 2013 at 9:03 PM
  4. Had the good fortune to know, as well as work some bouts, where the Magic-Medicine Man, Chuck Bodak, could STOP a Blood flow.. like Hoover Damn. His little magical medicine box, that he Never left out of his sight, was mystical to all, but good remedy to his Fighters in need. A clever, well read man, able to converse with all levels of folk. Had a knack for the RING DRAMA.. and unique Head Dresses to support His Man’. 92 years of leaving good will messages, to those he met-worked with-loved inside the ‘Sweet Science, will be sorely missed. Happy Trails…. Mr. Chuck…

    BAGMAN on August 12th, 2013 at 10:47 AM

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