The “rawness”, if you will, is one of the major attractions most people have about the sport of boxing. The individual grind of a fighter, along with the scientific brutality of this combative sport, are the main reasons we hold these warriors in such high regard. Only a true “boxing profiler” is able to actually tap into the psyche of a fighter to add clarity to clouded judgement.
“NO ONE” understood that more than Fernando “Ferdie” Pacheco. Pacheco was without a doubt one of the more colorful personalities in the sport of boxing over the last 60 years. Known to most as “The Fight Doctor”, Pacheco served as Muhammad Ali’s personal physician for the better part of 15 years. Pacheco, along with Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee and Drew “Bundini” Brown formed the most well-known trio of cornermen in boxing history. Let’s not confuse his dry sense-of-humor with his ability to critique a fighter’s performance and health. That was never more evident when Pacheco urged Muhammad Ali to retire because of several health and motor-skill issues that were in decline. As with alot of things in life, history has a way of revealing a certain belief or judgement. His assessment of Ali proved prophetic.
His blunt, pull-no-punches attitude transferred well as an expert boxing commentator on various networks. I remember watching fights as a kid and I would hear Pacheco just blister a fighter or trainer for what he thought was an egregious error in judgement. The truth of the matter is Pacheco seemed to genuinely care about every fighter who stepped in the ring. His passion for the well-being of fighters could be felt through the television screen. Along with Howard Cosell and Don Dunphy, Pacheco was one of the more unforgettable broadcasting figures that I remember from my childhood.
Fernando “Ferdie” Pacheco passed away this week at the age of 89. Rest In Peace Champion.