Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cus D'Amato (b. January 17, 1908, d. November 4, 1985) was a boxing manager and trainer, who handled the careers of Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres, and initially that of Mike Tyson. Many modern day boxing trainers, such as Teddy Atlas, Kevin Rooney, and Joe Fariello , were tutored by D'Amato.
When D'Amato was 22 he opened the Empire Sporting Club with Jack Barrow at the Gramercy Gym. D'Amato lived in the gym for years, waiting for a champion to walk in. He came close several times, but would always lose his fighters to the "connected" managers. One fighter "discovered" by D'Amato, but who went on to become middleweight champion of the world under the helm of other trainers and managers was Rocky Graziano.
After years of waiting, and hoping to discover a great boxer, a shy, reclusive boy walked into his gym one day and announced he wanted to be a fighter. The boy was Floyd Patterson. Under D'Amato's training and guidance, Patterson captured the Olympic middleweight gold medal in the 1956 Helsinki games. He then guided Patterson through the pro ranks. Patterson gained weight, and ultimately became a heavyweight.
D'Amato skillfully manuevered Patterson into fighting for the title vacated by the legendary Rocky Marciano. In an elimination bout against Archie Moore, D'Amato's fighter won the heavyweight championship of the world. D'Amato then proceeded to turn the world of boxing on its ear by taking on the IBC, which controlled boxing at the time.
D'Amato continued to skillfully handle Patterson's career and carefully selected his opponents to earn the most money with the least amount of risk. This resulted in title defenses against the likes of Roy "Cut N' Shoot" Harris , Brian London , Tom McNeely and Olympic champion Pete Rademacher, in his very first pro bout. Meanwhile legitimate challengers, like Eddie Machen , Zora Folley , Cleveland Williams were by-passed. D'Amato also avoided matching Patterson with Sonny liston, citing Liston's underworld connections, until Patterson finally overruled him and accepted the match.
D'Amato also remembered the seamy side of boxing politics, and decided to thwart the International Boxing Club (IBC). The suspicious, to the point of paranoia, D'Amato refused to match his fighter in any bout promoted by the powerful but corrupt IBC. The IBC was eventually found to be in violation of anti-trust laws and was dissolved.
Patterson and D'Amato split after the Patterson's second consecutive one round KO loss to Sonny Liston, although his influence over the champion had begun to greatly diminish before then.
D'Amato also handled the career of Jose Torres. Torres won the light heavyweight championship of the world.
After Patterson's and Torres's careers had ended, D'Amato worked in relative obscurity. He eventually moved to Catskill, New York, where he opened a gym. It was there that he met and began to work with Mike Tyson, who was in a nearby reform school. D'Amato died before Tyson became the youngest world heavyweight titleholder in history.
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