- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Welterweight contender David Estrada admits he's not much of a boxing historian, but he's learning, which is no surprise given he has a living legend working in his corner.
As a novice professional, Estrada didn't really know much about Angelo Dundee when he moved from Chicago to South Florida to begin working with the Hall of Fame trainer about three years ago.
Now, with the nurturing of co-trainers Luis Lagerman and Dundee, Estrada (18-1, 9 KOs) has climbed the welterweight ranks. He'll face former three-division champ Shane Mosley (39-4, 35 KOs) in a 10-round fight Saturday night at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on ESPN's first pay-per-view card (9 ET, $29.95).
"I knew who he was but I wasn't really a boxer who knew a whole lot about the sport," Estrada, 26, says of Dundee. "I'm learning more and more. I know a lot more now than I did then, and I respect what he has done."
What Dundee, 83, has done in his storied 60-plus-year career is work with more than a dozen world champions, most notably a trio worthy of a boxing Mount Rushmore: Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman during his improbable 1990s comeback.
"We talk about all that stuff," Estrada says. "We'll be in a limo on the way to a fight and he'll start talking about the old days. Everyone will sit around and just listen. I love it."
There were other champions, too, for Dundee, including Carmen Basilio, Sugar Ramos, Willie Pastrano and Jose Napoles. Along the way, Dundee became one of the sport's most beloved figures.
"He's the greatest living ambassador for the sport because of his personality he's fan friendly, media friendly and fighter friendly. He radiates a lot of warmth in and out of the ring," says Bruce Trampler, the Top Rank matchmaker who got his first job in boxing from Dundee in the early 1970s. "If you had a son in boxing, you couldn't do better than to have Angelo working with him."
Saturday's bout is Estrada's biggest yet, and it will bring Dundee back into the spotlight he hasn't had since Foreman left the ring in 1997.
Since then, Dundee has remained involved in boxing by "messing with" a handful of young prospects at his Miami gym, doing some TV commentary, making appearances and working as a consultant on Hollywood boxing flicks such as "Ali."
"Look at the fun I had," Dundee says. "I've been working on the movies, doing a lot of appearances. I'm busier now than I ever have been. I'm doing a lot of things. I've got half a dozen things in the fire."
Dundee says he still follows boxing very closely and watches as many fights on TV as he can. "I don't miss a fight. I know every fighter on the horizon," he says. "I put 'em in the memory bank."
However, Dundee's main interest is Helen, his wife of more than 50 years. Still, he's enjoying his return to the big fight atmosphere.
"I love it. What's better? We're here at Caesars Palace and I'm seeing all of my friends," Dundee says. "I am having a ball out here. It's a big thrill for me to be back."
The fight Saturday is at a place Dundee might as well call home: an outdoor arena at Caesars Palace, where he was a part of so many major fights. Among them: Leonard's wins against Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Wilfred Benitez and Ali's resounding defeat by Larry Holmes.
Dundee serves as a sort-of CEO for Team Estrada. While Lagerman handles the day-to-day training regimen, Dundee oversees things.
"Angelo comes into the gym about three times a week and watches everything we do," Estrada says. "Then he'll tell us what we need to do and not to do. He adds to what we are doing. He never tried to change my style. He just tries to add to it to make it better. He's just Angelo. Everything he says is right."
Foreman understands exactly what Estrada means.
"Without his voice in the corner, becoming heavyweight champion again wouldn't have happened," Foreman said in 2002. "I have a special appreciation for the guy."
Although Estrada hasn't been with Dundee as long as Foreman was, he's got a similar appreciation for him and his remarkable career.
"For me, Angelo was some guy who wanted to help me out," says Estrada, who met Dundee through a friend of his father's. "I didn't appreciate [Dundee's career] as much as I do now. It's like someone who likes basketball and likes Michael Jordan. Once they meet him and get to know him, they will appreciate him a lot more."
Dundee, of course, hopes Estrada can become his next and perhaps last champion.
"It would be a kick for me to get one more champion. It's something I'd really love to do," Dundee says. "This kid Estrada, he has the stuff to do it. If David fights the fight we've got figured out, then he's the winner. Then we're going to fight for a title and that's what I'm here for."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
Even at 83, Angelo Dundee is building boxing champions. He thinks he might have the makings of another in welterweight David Estrada, who fights Shane Mosley on Saturday.