January 26, 2021
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most effective I educated: Pepe Correa

foremost I expert: Pepe Correa

by way of Anson Wainwright

Jose “Pepe” Correa was one of the most good trainers in boxing all over the Nineteen Seventies- through Nineteen Nineties. He labored with a handful of desirable fighters, together with Sugar Ray Leonard, who shone right through their time collectively.

Correa became born in the early Forties in Puerto Rico. he is from a big household.

“I left when i used to be a child, i used to be taken to new york city, where I grew up,” Correa instructed The Ring. “Then I went to Florida, we went far and wide. I went from grandmother to aunt to aunt to grandmother and returned to aunt. I believe it had a lot to do with my fogeys and what they were going through.”

Correa got into boxing and put the experience of touring round to respectable use.

“I did a lot of boxing,” he talked about. “I boxed in each gymnasium which you can consider of. I did loads of boxing after I took a ‘vacation’ for just a few years. Boxing saved my life on account of the subculture I had.”

within the late Nineteen Sixties-early 70s, a reformed Correa moved to Maryland and began his boxing event.

“i was riding down the street and i saw some guys down by way of the Palmer Park exercise center going at it with their fists,” he explained. “I had my boxing gloves in the back of my automobile, i ended and talked about, ‘howdy man, you wish to do it, why don’t you do it the correct method, why don’t you do it with these?’ They referred to, ‘Who the hell are you?’ I talked about, ‘I’m a man who with some boxing gloves who may whoop your ass.’ The man put the gloves on and that i proceeded to beat the hell out of him.

“I walked into the gym and there turned into a man named Ollie Dunlap, I referred to, ‘Man I’m going to be down here awhile, I see guys throwing punches down right here, why don’t you let me open a membership down right here so that they have whatever to do?’ He mentioned, ‘extraordinary conception.’ And that’s how the total element started.”

quickly afterwards an come across with a teenager modified each their lives.

​”in the future after I’d been there a month or two, Ray Leonard walked in, he wanted to understand if he can field,” Correa stated recollecting their first meeting. “I noted, ‘Yeah child you can container however go domestic and get a note out of your mother.’ Unbeknownst to me, he lived a half block away, next element i do know he’s standing there with this note asserting it changed into ok for him to field. That’s how Sugar Ray Leonard received started.”

Correa essential a helping hand and enlisted the features of Dave Jacobs and Janks Morton. Leonard went on to win gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and become a celeb as a professional.

“After practising he would come to me and say, ‘How did I do?’ I’d say, ‘you probably did high-quality, just work on this…’ I’d show him tapes of Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali and this boy would come to the gymnasium day after today and emulate them and do it to perfection,” gushed Correa.

Pepe Correa and Sugar Ray Leonard.

the trainer and the tutored square off. Pepe did so lots of the everyday foundational work with Ray.

“i can’t say enough of Ray Leonard. He had a granite chin, he had pace, one of the most quickest to ever reside. i might stand ringside and inform him what to do however i’d be in awe, just looking at him. He turned into striking.”

while Angelo Dundee changed into the recognizable face within the corner of Leonard’s battle, Correa become the man at the back of the scenes charged with getting Leonard ready.

“No disrespect to Angelo, I obtained Ray capable for fights and Angelo worked the fights,” referred to Correa. “That’s the way Mike coach desired it achieved. After a while Ray steps up and talked about, ‘good day Pepe, you’re doing all this work, you’re taking the lead? It’s no longer correct so you might now not get your props.’

“I took the lead with the 2nd [Roberto] Duran combat.”

both would work collectively for an awful lot of Leonard’s corridor of repute profession.

“Ray Leonard became a workaholic,” noted Correa. “With lots of guys after six or seven rounds they are saying, ‘I’m tired, that’s ample.’ With Ray Leonard, you say, ‘That’s adequate.’ and he stated, ‘provide me two extra.’ He not ever bought uninterested in boxing. He’d do roadwork and he become all the time the primary guy to conclude.

“I had astounding nights towards Duran, [Thomas] Hearns and [Marvin] Hagler. I relive them over and over in my head.”

Correa later worked with Simon Brown and Maurice Blocker, who enjoyed considerable success and claimed world titles. When the biggest fight both might make become towards every different, the ultimate pals agreed to face off in a welterweight unification in March 1991.

“I had each of them, I stated, ‘[I’m] now not going to work with both of you guys.’They went about their company,” noted the venerable coach. “a man spoke of to me, ‘who’s going to win the fight?’ I referred to, ‘Maurice Blocker’s going to outbox him but Maurice Blocker’s going to get greedy.’

“After about 4 or 5 rounds, he pointed out, ‘What do you consider?’ I spoke of ‘Blocker’s winning the fight but he’s getting greedy and Simon’s going to cease him.’ bound adequate Simon stopped him within the later rounds.”

The Puerto Rican trainer began working with rising heavyweight famous person Lennox Lewis in early 1992 and changed into indispensable to him becoming the first British-born heavyweight champion in over a hundred years.

Correa parted approaches with Lennox after Oliver McCall blasted out the lengthy, tall pugilist on Sept. 24, 1994.

“You don’t see guys 200+ kilos run like he ran,” mentioned Correa. “After roadwork he’d have breakfast and he’d go into his room and that i’d go confer with him and he’s sitting there watching tapes. He studied the video game, he realized so an awful lot by using gazing distinct warring parties.”

Correa became requested through Hector Camacho to educate him for an upcoming fight in 1997 that left him in a clumsy place.

“I didn’t comprehend who he became going to battle unless the closing 2d, he tricked me, he referred to, ‘hey Pep, I’ve bought a fight coming will you get me in a position for it? I pointed out, ‘Who you combating?’ He spoke of, ‘No, I asked you a question, will you get me capable for the combat?’ I talked about, ‘good enough.’ he talked about, ‘supply me your note.’ I observed, ‘ok, my note is my bond.’ a pair weeks later, I discover it became Ray,” recalled Correa.

“one of the most effective causes I began working with him is as a result of he’s regarding my wife. So, I got him in a position but during practicing camp, I noted, ‘I’ve got to find a means out of this.’ And one day, Macho made a mistake, whatever I did not like and that i noted ‘hello, I’m out of here. He talked about, ‘good enough, you gained’t receives a commission.’ I pointed out, ‘I’ll get paid.’ and that i bought on a plane and left. Did I get paid? yes, as a result of there’s such aspect as legal professionals.”

He labored for Michael King’s All-American Heavyweights and turned into a lead coach in tv reality exhibit, The Contender, in 2007.

Correa lives in Maryland along with his wife of 42-years. The historical sage has a huge household, although tragically recently lost one for his sons in a motorcycle accident. he’s at present practising former Contender participant Jimmy Lange’s twin sons.

“I slowed it down and desired to are living my existence for a long time,” he observed. “i used to be going from vicinity to location, nation to nation. I on no account retired – I simply step away every as soon as in ages.”

He kindly agreed to speak with The Ring concerning the ultimate opponents he has trained all over his illustrious profession.

most efficient JAB
Sugar Ray Leonard: The most useful jab I labored with become Sugar Ray Leonard. It became snappy. Most guys throw a very good jab and knock you off steadiness. Ray Leonard’s jab became at all times adopted via a short right hand. once Ray Leonard bought you in drawback, you didn’t recover. If he received you in trouble, he took your ass out. I had a man who got here in the back of him who had a helluva jab and his name changed into Maurice Blocker.

Ray posted this pic of him and Pepe on social media in 2015.

gold standard defense
Maurice Blocker: He become tall and rangy however what made his defense so good turned into his jab was so good. He would hold you off stability with his jab, you didn’t be aware of where it turned into going to come from. Ray Leonard and that i’ve got to add Hector Camacho, he had a helluva defense.

ultimate HANDSPEED
Leonard: He turned into a helluva puncher, who had velocity. Camacho had good handspeed. What made him so respectable changed into he put so many angles on you and the fact he changed into a left hander.

most advantageous FOOTWORK
Leonard: He would sit down over the weeks, months and years that we got equipped for fights and we watched tapes of Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Ray took whatever from all those guys in terms of their capacity to circulate. now not best that Ray took faucet dance type, so he would make his footwork greater.

Leonard: You ought to go right again to Ray Leonard and Hector Camacho. those two guys were so smart because they knew a way to set traps. Ray and Hector would bait you into position where they may counterpunch you. not only were they decent offensive fighters, they were decent counterpunchers. that they had first rate footwork to go together with it, you feel you have got them lined up and they’d take a half step backwards and have you ever attaining, the subsequent component you be aware of you’re getting up off the canvas. What I told them in the gymnasium, it stayed there with them. Out of both, I’d say arms down, Ray Leonard. Ray Leonard changed into the neatest fighter to ever placed on a pair of damn gloves.

Lennox Lewis: Lennox was robust as a bull.

top-quality CHIN
Leonard: He changed into a tough guy, he had what we name a granite chin. He didn’t should obstacle except later in years and in case you knocked him down, he’d nonetheless rise up and kick your ass.

most suitable PUNCHER
Lewis: Lewis was heavy-surpassed however he was a heavyweight. if you’re speaking the lighter divisions you’ve acquired to claim Ray Leonard.

superior BOXING capabilities
Leonard: He might do every thing however at the back of Ray Leonard got here Maurice Blocker and Hector Camacho.

best standard
Leonard: [Laughs] The choicest fighter I ever worked with changed into Sugar Ray Leonard. He changed into the quiet assassin. He may get your ass out of there. When he turned into a welterweight, we had to herald guys who had been mild heavyweights since the little guys couldn’t hang with him. We had a revolving door for Ray Leonard’s sparring partners.

Questions and/or comments can also be sent to Anson at [email protected]……and you’ll follow him on [email protected]