Trainer Gil Clancy dies at 88
Trainer Gil Clancy, who helped lead Emile Griffith to welterweight and middleweight titles, has died. He was 88.
Clancy died early Thursday at an assisted living facility on Long Island, according to his daughter, Patricia Houlahan.
”He lived a good life,” Houlahan said. ”I’ll take it.”
Born in Rockaway Beach, N.Y., Clancy boxed in college and in the Army. He earned a master’s degree in teaching at New York University and paid tuition by training fighters.
Eventually, Clancy rose to prominence as a corner man and also worked with Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Oscar De La Hoya and Ken Buchanan. But he’s best known for his 20-year association with Griffith.
Griffith captured the welterweight title from Benny ”The Kid” Paret in April 1961 with a 13th-round knockout. Six months later, Griffith lost the title to Paret in a narrow split decision, then regained it in a controversial rematch with Paret in 1962.
With Clancy shouting encouragement from the corner, Griffith knocked Paret unconscious, and Paret stayed propped against the ropes while Griffith hit him repeatedly for several seconds before referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the fight. Paret never regained consciousness and died 10 days later.
”It was on my birthday,” Houlahan recalled. ”That was obviously a really hard thing that they went through. That was very bad, a tragedy. Dad didn’t talk about it that much because it was so bad. My father was the type of man who kept that stuff inside.”
Clancy, elected in 1993 to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, also was a matchmaker for Madison Square Garden from 1978-81 and an award-winning boxing analyst from 1988-2006.
”We are deeply saddened today with the passing of our friend,” said Dan Ronayne, executive vice president and general manager, MSG Networks. ”His passing leaves a hole in the boxing community and with the Madison Square Garden family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
The Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., lowered its flags to half-staff in Clancy’s honor.
”Gil Clancy was one of boxing’s truly great minds,” International Boxing Hall of Fame executive director Edward Brophy said.
Clancy is survived by five children, 18 grandchildren, and 19 great grandchildren. His wife, Nancy, died 16 months ago. Funeral arrangements were incomplete, the family said.
Donations can be made in honor of Clancy to the Veteran Boxers Association of New York, Inc. in Long Island City, N.Y. (www.ring8ny.com).