The Fight Doctor Joins Ali Once Again
Earlier today another legend in the world of boxing moved on to the big ring in the sky. Dr. Fernando “Ferdie” Pacheco passed away at age 89, his daughter Tina Pacheco said on Facebook;
“It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce to the world the passing of my wonderful Dad, Ferdie Pacheco. He was a pharmacist, a doctor, a boxing commentator, a painter, and a writer. But to me he was just ‘Papa’. It’s a heartbreak to lose a parent but I know he’ll always be with me.”
Pacheco (December 8, 1927 – November 16, 2017) was the personal physician and cornerman for world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, as well as numerous other boxing champions. Known as “The Fight Doctor,” Pacheco worked as an Emmy-winning TV analyst for several television networks beginning in the late 1970s, most notably NBC and Showtime.
After graduation, Pacheco set up a medical practice in the Overtown community of Miami. In the late 1950s, he regularly attended boxing cards arranged by local promoter Chris Dundee. At one of these events, Pacheco met Angelo Dundee, the promoter’s brother, a boxing trainer who ran the 5th Street Gym. Angelo offered the doctor free tickets to matches if he would “help stitch up my fighters”, beginning a partnership that would last many years.
Pacheco met Muhammad Ali in 1960, when Cassius Clay (as he was known at the time) came to the 5th Street Gym to train with Dundee. He became Clay’s cornerman and personal physician from 1962-1977. He the corner for some of boxing’s most iconic fights. Pacheco described Ali as the most physically-perfect human being he had ever seen.
Now Ferdie is up there recanting the old tales of the 5th Street Gym. We’re gonna miss you Ferdie but “The Greatest” needs his “Fight Doctor” in his corner one more time.
By: Chris “C Bone” Henderson