Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

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 Crawford Would Favor Keith Thurman to Beat Errol Spence Frank Warren: Billy Joe Saunders is Back in Business! Luis Nery-Shinsuke Yamanaka: Post-Fight Report Card Anthony Mundine Very Serious About Rugby League Comeback Shane Mosley Retiring From Boxing, No Plans To Fight Again Mayweather Sr: Pacquiao Lost Legit, Horn Will Beat Him Worse! Malignaggi: McGregor Fans Adorable - Jump on His Every Word! Jeff Horn vs. Manny Pacquiao Rematch Inching Closer To a Deal Bryant Jenning Embraces Return: It’s Definitely Back To Business Mayweather Sr: Not Sure Floyd KO's McGregor Due To Hand Issue Showtime Start Legal War Over Mayweather-McGregor 'Streams' Joshua's Coach: 8-Ounce Won't Affect Mayweather vs. McGregor Kellerman: Even a 60-Year-Old Mayweather Beats McGregor News: Mason Menard, LaRon Mitchell, Boyd Melson, More Oscar Valdez Aims To Put on a Show in Homecoming Defense Miguel Cotto Talks Career, Margarito Revenge, Golden Boy Deal Jaron Ennis, Brandun Lee Pick Up Victories in Washington, DC Bellew: If Money is Right, I'll Fight Michael Bisbing in Ring or Cage! Photos: Alberto Machado, Carlos Morales - Go Face To Face Mayweather, McGregor Face Opposition To 8-Ounce Glove Request Canelo Won't Skip IBF's Second-Day Weigh-In for Golovkin Fight Arum: McGregor Can't Fight For Sh*t, He Pushed Malignaggi Down! Crawford Noncommittal on Facing Lipinets, Unsure of Garcia Mikkel Kessler vs. Roamer Alexis Angulo in Play For The Fall News: Glowacki, Masternak, McDonagh, Laviolette, More 150 Filipino Boxers Banned For Falsifying Brain Scan Results Luis Nery Stops Shinsuke Yamanaka in Four To Claim WBC Belt Sanchez Expects GGG, Canelo to Hurt Each Other, Maybe Go Down Canelo: Winner Between Me & Golovkin Could Become No. 1 P4P Charlo: Golovkin, Canelo Can't Dodge Me - I'll Clean Out 160! Malignaggi: 'Pinocchio' McGregor Can Hit Floyd With His Nose Roy Jones: Fight Will Be as Competitive as Mayweather Allows Kashtanov Gains Russian Citizenship, Returns in the Fall Roberto Duran Breaks Down Golovkin-Canelo - Expects a War White: Smaller Gloves Definitely Benefit McGregor, Not Floyd Jesus Rojas Pumped To Face Claudio Marrero For WBA Title Legacies Remain Pristine Even When Champs Go on Too Long Malignaggi on McGregor: Bad Blood is There, Now We Gotta Fight! Mayweather: I Want 8-Ounce To Make Him Feel Comfortable David Benavidez vs. Ronald Gavril in Las Vegas, PBC on Bounce
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement