Advertisement
Advertisement

Don Thibodeaux: Kronk Legend Passes Away at Age 69

By Michael Marley

Don Thibodeaux looked more like a sideman in rock icon Jimi Hendrix's band than he did a stereotypical boxing cutman.

But Thibodeaux, a 69 year old Roseville, Mich., resident who had a heart attack about a week ago and died Friday (according to the Detroit Free Press), made a solid place for himself in big time boxing.

With his wild mane of red hair and a shaggy beard Thibodeax stood out, especially in the crowd of fighters, managers and trainers at Detroit's legendary Kronk Gym where the vast majority were African American.

A former Golden Glove champ and an art teacher, Thibodeaux was best known as the cutman for Thomas "Hitman" Hearns, working alongside Emmanuel Steward in many fights including Hearns' tough loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981.

Steward told me all his memories of Thibodeaux are good ones.

"One night Tommy got cut by Bruce Curry and it was Don's big chance to work the cut," Steward said. "But Tommy got mad at himself for getting cut and went out and knocked Curry out straightaway.

"Don and I were amateur teammates at the Brewster Center, I weighed 118 and he was 135. To Don, life and everything about it was fun, he was always laughing. Our corner for Tommy was me, Walter Smith, Luther Burgess and Don as the cutman.

"We went to New York for a fight and Don had a truck carrying his seven foot Ali statue around. We tried to put up at Madison Square Garden but the union complained," Steward said.

"Don mixed with all people, he had a black wife and later an Asian one. His two boys tried some boxing. The bumper shop was his business but he really loved boxing."

"Don was unique," boxing photographer and ex-fighter from Ann Arbor Teddy Blackburn said Saturday. "He looked like a hippie but he handled David Braxton, Duane Thomas and Hector Camacho."

According to boxing expert Lindy Lindell who wrote an epic history of boxing in Motown, Thibodeaux also trained and mansged Roger Mayweather but sold it when he had trouble landing him fights.

In the art world, Thibodeaux constructed some amazing sculptures, including a 6-foot, 9-inch one made from car bumpers in honor of Muhammad Ali. He also did a sculpture of Thomas Hearns and of another Detroit native, Brown Bomber Joe Louis.

Thibodeaux made his place in the art world and at Kronk. He took no short cuts in either field.

He will be missed in the Motown and beyond.

Michael Marley is the national boxing examiner for examiner.com. To read more stories by Michael Marley, Click Here.

Tags:
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Kevin Malone on 10-10-2010

I'm pretty new to boxing but I do know the name. RIP.

Comment by B.U.R.N.E.R on 10-10-2010

R.I.P Don Thibodeaux How the heck does this get no responses?

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (2)
Top Headlines Jorge Linares Hopes To Return in May or June From Injury Artur Szpilka Has Surgery on Left Hand, Wants Charles Martin Arum Wonders if Amir Khan Can Pull Off a Super Bowl Upset Tyson Fury Going in New Direction? Says 'Massive Fight' Coming Dmitry Chudinov Blows Through Marat Huzeeva in Moscow Mariusz Wach's Ring Return Being Positioned For May 14 Adrian Granat Has Two Fights Set; Sprott Faces Hammer on 3/18 Joseph Diaz-Jayson Velez Set For Ward-Barrera HBO Card Lanell Bellows: Nobody Can Match My Work Ethic Hearn, Mayweather To Join Forces For UK Boxing Events Gutierrez Set For Hometown Appearance, Wants Santa Cruz Next Frank Warren Takes Aim at Boxers Having Overgrown Beards Marquez Wants 147 For Cotto, 152/153 Rehydration Clause Campillo: Kovalev Can Beat Ward, Beterbiev a Bigger Puncher Roach: Not Scared of Atlas, Don't Give a Sh*t About His Stories! McGuigan Warns Joshua To Avoid Charles Martin, For Now Frank Warren: British Boxing Showing Strength With Title Fights Promoter: Bradley Should Not Target Pacquiao's Shoulder Deontay Wilder is on a Mission To 'Beat Povetkin, Unify All Titles' Golovkin's Coach: No Catch-Weight For Amir Khan Cano: I Have The Experience To Beat Lucas Matthysse Barrera: With a Good Strategy, Canelo Can Beat Golovkin Arum: Gilberto Ramirez is The Complete Opposite of Chavez Jr. Daniel Roman Continues To Roll Forward, Beats Robles Thurman: Brook Went 12, Do I Stop Porter? I Plan To Hurt Him! Marquez, Sulaiman Disagree on Canelo-Khan Being Mismatch Photos/Weights: Alex Saucedo vs. Clarence Booth, More Roy Jones Jr. To Fight Again - Against a 'Fan' in Odd PPV Event! Gabriel Campillo Explains Decision To Retire From Boxing Eddie Gomez Extends Pact With Golden Boy Promotions Roman Martinez-Miguel Berchelt Lands at Poliforum Zamna, 3/12 Thurman: Khan Took 'Easier' Canelo, Brook Tougher For Him McJoe Arroyo-Jerwin Ancajas Heads To The Philippines on 4/16 Povetkin's Promoter: I Think We'll Reach Wilder Deal Without Bids McWilliams Arroyo Confident He Can Shock Roman Gonzalez Froch: I Think About a Comeback Every Day, But I'm Realistic Felix Verdejo Has April Fight Set For Puerto Rico Willie Monroe Return is Pushed Back After Opponent Snafu Santa Cruz vs. Martinez: Hunter, Mendez, Marrero Added Marquez: Khan Can Win, But Canelo Can KO Him at Any Time
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement