August 2nd, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
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’s “Battle 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!
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