It was formally announced this past weekend at the Boxing Hall of Fame inductions that The World Famous 5th Street Gym, which was first opened in 1950 by Chris Dundee and his brother Angelo, is once again going to reopen in its original home. Although the original building was torn down on the corner of 5th and Washington, it was rebuilt with a beautiful new design in 2002. A plaque commemorating the 5th St Gym and Angelo Dundee adorns the wall of the building today. Angelo Dundee,Tom Tsatas, Dino Spencer and Matt Baiamonte (Angelo’s chief trainer and protégé) are going to finally resurrect the famous gym that closed in 1992.
The building and location will be the same which technically was on Washington, on the 2nd floor. Although Dundee, now 88 years old, will not be the day to day guy, he will be as much a part of the gym as he is able to be.
Jimmy Dundee (Angelo’s son) will also be involved in the licensing and memorabilia which he has donate to the famous gym and landmark. Along with his father, Jimmy Dundee spent his youth around the greats his father trained and mentored; Willie Pastrano, Carmen Basilio, Muhammad Ali. The stories his dad and him tell of people like Sean Connery, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and Jimmy having lunch downstairs with Malcolm X as a little 8 year old boy are priceless. The gym is not only rich in history but is one of the major aspects of Miami Beaches’ (South Beach) heritage.
The Dundee’s and of course then Cassius Clay who became Muhammad Ali made the gym literally, “World Famous.”
“We wanted to get Angelo on board first and get his and his son Jimmy’s blessing before we did anything” says Tsatas who managed and trained Fres Oquendo along with Dino Spencer( his partner at the 5th St. Gym) for 6 years. “Matt Baiamonte, who has trained Attila Levin, Timor and Sultan Ibragamov and David Estrada along with actor Academy Award winner Matt Damon, was Angelo’s Chief Trainer, student and protégé (along with Luis Lagerman). We wanted to keep the lineage of Angelo with the gym and Matt is a purist and loyalist. He was the piece that brought the puzzle together. He phoned Angelo and Mark (Angelo’s manager) and they were extremely receptive. We waited 8 years for this moment and it all finally came together, the timing was perfect.”
“We met with the group and it was absolutely one of the best days of my life hearing stories from Jimmy and seeing all the original photos of the history in the gym. Angelo’s team is a class act and number one in my book.”
Dino, Matt and Tsatas hope to maintain the legacy of the gym and even more importantly Angelo Dundee’s good name. “We have the highest standard to maintain and we will” Tsatas continued. “Our motto will be simple. Like Angelo Dundee says, “It Don’t cost nuthin to be nice.” And that will be our motto at the 5th St Gym.” Check out the web site www.5thstgym.com or angelodundee.com for info.