Advertisement: IBO Boxing
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com
Advertisement

Ali Trainer, Hype Man Bundini Brown's Life Bestowed With Book, Documentary

The poetic prose “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” personified and perpetuated the myth of Muhammad Ali.

The phrase was uttered when Ali was then known as Cassius Clay and was a brash 22-year-old underdog on the cusp of beating Sonny Liston.

Ali was trained by head coach Angelo Dundee throughout his career, and in the background, assistant trainer Drew Bundini Brown served as both an instrumental cornerman and hype man.

Many of the rhythmic soliloquies Ali dished out with bravado was Brown’s brainchild, a figure in the sport who never boxed, not even as an amateur. Yet, he leveraged his skills and lyricism to work alongside Sugar Ray Robinson for seven years before latching onto Ali.

bundini

To further shine light on one of the key figures who shaped Ali, boxing book purveyor Hamilcar Publications is releasing “Bundini: Don't Believe The Hype” in August. The book is authored by Todd D. Snyder and will be available wherever books are sold. It will be complemented with a 20-minute film produced by Patrick Green. The multi-platform story is commissioned by publishers Kyle Sarofeen and Andy Komack, the principals of Hannibal Boxing Media.

Snyder spent 14 months working on the book, working closely with Drew Brown III, Bundini’s son, as well as other living members of the Brown family documenting the entire span of Bundini’s life, including his childhood in Florida, his time in the Navy and Merchant Marines, his biracial marriage as well as his days as a nightclub owner, all the way to his years working alongside Robinson and Ali.

“Boxing and hip-hop are the two loves of my life. Bundini, in some aspects, has a place in both worlds,” Snyder told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “For any writer, however, Bundini is a dream subject. You couldn’t make up a character like him if you tried. He was a true original. He lived an amazing American life. It was tragic, beautiful, complex and contradictory.”

Outside of boxing, Bundini worked with iconic filmmakers such as Gordon Parks and Stephen Spielberg. He appeared in a SuperMan comic book. His name is mentioned in a Waylon Jennings country song, and he was friends with literary greats such as James Baldwin and George Plimpton, all of which Snyder dives into with the book.

“I’d always been intrigued by Bundini and thought he deserved more recognition. Todd was born to write the book,” Sarofeen told BoxingScene.com in an interview.

Snyder, the son of small town West Virginia boxing trainer Mike “Lo” Snyder, has also authored “12 Rounds in Lo's Gym: Boxing and Manhood in Appalachia” and is separately working on the upcoming Hamilar book “Beat Boxing: How Hip Hop Changed The Fight Game.”

Snyder, also an associate professor of English at Siena College, had unlimited access to a treasure trove of Bundini artifacts. To tell the Brown story all the way through, Snyder also interviewed the likes of Khalilah Ali, Gene Kilroy, George Foreman, Jim Dundee (Angelo’s son), Larry Holmes, Marvis Frazier, Earnie Shavers, Tim Whitherspoon, Gerry Cooney, Montell Griffin and James “Quick” Tillis for the book.

“From the beginning, we’ve been clear about our need to publish crossover titles,” said Sarofeen. “At this point, we more or less own the boxing book niche, but it’s just that — a niche. To make money as a publisher, the kind of money we want to make, we need to target a broad audience. Bundini was a great fit because it’s much more than a book about boxing.”

To further broaden its reach, Komack reached out to Green, a filmmaker who created a short documentary on Edwin Valero, the subject of the Hamilcar book “Berserk: The Shocking Life and Death of Edwin Valero.”

Green has previously made “For Your Consideration,” a film on Harvey Weinstein. He said Bundini and his “street poet” philosophy had a made-for-movie life, and that was a precursor to sports psychology or Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Mentality.

“Bundini has always been the man behind ‘the man’ so I wanted the audience to see and hear him as much as possible,” Green told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “Bundini was a Zelig-character who would insert himself into major points of the 21st Century. The Ali part is just one part of it. But for me, this is a story about mentorship. It’s about finding people in your life that motivate you to be the best version of yourself.”

For the doc, Green and his editor Alvin Reyes went on a chase of playing “Where’s Bundini?” throughout time, trying to find the trainer among the Ali entourage, or to hear his voice yelling ringside during a fight.

Snyder and Brown’s son narrate the piece.

“We’ve already made inroads into Hollywood to option our books for TV and film, and that is one of our primary goals in publishing ground-breaking original material,” Komack told BoxingScene.com in an interview.

Green said that much to Hamilcar’s credit, they view the Bundini documentary as its own piece of art.

“They let me do my thing and the story took its own course as all the good ones do,” said Green. “What we ended up with is a visual companion piece to the biography. It touches on a lot of the major elements in Bundini’s life that are explored more deeply in Todd’s book. If you like the documentary you will love the book and vice-versa.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Rapscallion on 05-17-2020

How much responsibility does Brown bear for having Ali fighting far longer than he should have? Or is this issue even addressed?

Comment by hitmanjosh on 05-17-2020

As Bruce Lee would have it, it’s the man and the myth. I can’t wait to get a copy; he was the man I believe brought out the best in the greatest. Almost like Jesus, you still need those disciples…

ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (2)
Advertisement
Top Headlines
Johnson-Zumbano Added To Don King's PPV Card on January 29 Sparrow: We're Not Gonna Box Romero; Walking Straight To Him, Going For Knockout Conor McGregor: Jake Paul Is A Confused Little Kid, Boxing Him Is Not On My Radar Manager: Canelo, Media Are Underestimating Avni Yildirim Fury Promoter: Usyk Will Not Be Able To Get in The Way of Joshua Unification Ra'eese Aleem, Victor Pasillas - Set For WBA Title Fight Angelo Leo, Stephen Fulton - Ready For WBO Title Fight Topps Commemorates Muhammad Ali With 100 Piece Card Set To Be Dropped Over 50 Weeks IBF Refused To Recognize Xu Can as WBA Champion Romero To Face Sparrow In Non-Title Fight, Overweight Pauldo Fails Pre-Fight Physical Aram Avagyan Wants Jose Nunez Rematch - But With Different Officials Estrada-Chocolatito II Heading To Dallas; McCaskill-Braekhus II, Kyoguchi-Aragon Vega Added To Bill Ronnie Shields: Pauldo Cannot Fight Romero The Same Way Marinez Boxed Him Teofimo Lopez Jr. and Sr., Zepeda-Baranchyk Among 2020 BWAA Awards Honorees Stephen Fulton-Angelo Leo/Showtime Weigh-In Results From Mohegan Sun Martin Bakole Inks Advisory Deal With MTK Global Ra'esse Aleem: I'll Stop Pasillas, Prove That I'm True Threat In 122-Pound Division Claressa Shields: I'll Make MMA Debut In Mid-June; Excited To Prove All Doubters Wrong! Sor Rungvisai-Sithmorseng Clash Set For March 13 In Thailand Haney: Loma Acted Like I Didn't Exist When I Was His Mandatory; Does He Deserve Shot Now? Josh Warrington Explains Why He Took Big Risk in Vacating IBF Title Efetobor Apochi: I'm Here To Resurrect The Cruiserweight Division Wes Capper vs. Fano Kori Set For February 26 in Metro City Claressa Shields: Marshall Using My Name To Sell Fights, I'll Smoke Her! Arnold Barboza Eager To Face Jack Catterall, Willing To Fight in UK Ricards Bolotniks Would Love Lyndon Arthur or Anthony Yarde Rolando Romero: Jackson Marinez Is The Biggest Bitch In Boxing! Tim Bradley: Canelo Not Facing The Best Right Now, Yildirim is a Punching Bag, I'm Not Paying! Joseph Parker: After Fa, I'd Love The Opportunity To Face Joe Joyce Gilberto Ramirez: Canelo Fight Would Be a Classic, He Knows I'm Not Kovalev or Smith Smith-Vlasov, Berchelt-Valdez Cards To Be Held At MGM Grand In Las Vegas Pauldo: Romero Got Out-Boxed In Last Fight; I’m The Better, Smarter, Faster Boxer Pasillas: I Didn't Give A Sh-t About Encarnacion's Record, Same Goes For Aleem McGregor-Guerfi, McKenna-Turarov Get Dates, Donnie Nietes Return Set Josh Taylor: I Really Do Believe I'm Going To Knock Jose Ramirez Out Beterbiev vs. Deines on March 20 at Megasport Arena in Moscow Canelo vs. Yildirim, Two-Fight Matchroom Deal Made Official Yildirim Will Use His Golovkin-Style Against Canelo, Says Promoter Josh Warrington Vacates IBF Title, Looks To Gary Russell or Xu Can Rios vs. Negrete, Quigley vs. Mosley Added To Diaz-Rakhimov Card
Advertisement
Advertisement
Latest Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement