Cintron Starts Training At Historic Ali Campby: Jeff Julian on June 20, 2004 ... ... Kermit “The Killer” Cintron started his training camp on June 14th at the site of Muhammad Ali’s fo
Cintron Starts Training At Historic Ali Camp by: Jeff Julian on June 20, 2004
Welterweight contender Kermit “The Killer” Cintron started his training camp on June 14th at the site of Muhammad Ali’s former training camp at Deer Lake, Pennsylvania. For the first time in 23 years, a ring takes center stage in the same rustic gym that saw “The Greatest” work his magic. Once again, the walls echo with the sounds of leather meeting leather and trainers shouting instructions. Cintron becomes the first boxer to use this historic facility since Ali last trained here for his final bout against Trevor Berbick in 1981. “This is what I need – get out of the city and concentrate on boxing, “ commented Cintron. “Nobody bothers me here. The running is harder here, but it’s getting me in great shape. I see what Ali went through in his routine – running 3 to 4 miles – uphill, downhill. There’s a lot of history here and also I can concentrate and relax more.”
Ali started building the camp he called “Fighter’s Heaven” in 1972. Many fans, sportswriters and the just plain curious came here to watch him train. The place was also a magnet for the celebrities of the day. Everyone from Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Elvis Presley to The Jackson Five, Dizzy Gillespie and Andy Warhol came to Deer Lake to call on “The Greatest”. Other fighters who have trained here in the past, some early in their careers as sparring partners to The Champ, included the likes of Larry Holmes, Tim Witherspoon, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Earnie Shavers. Cintron’s trainer and co-manager Marshall Kauffman reflected on being here: “Just to know that we’re here at the same spot that Ali trained, where the greatest fighter of all time trained, makes me feel good and helps Kermit to focus. The environment here makes a big difference. This is our first real training camp and to have it here at this historic site – that’s the biggest joy of all.” Joe Pastore, Cintron’s co-manager and strength conditioning coach adds, “This is a good place for relaxation and focus. Box, eat, sleep – train, train, train! If this was good enough for The Greatest, it’s certainly good enough for The Killer.”
Team Cintron is enjoying the solitude and the atmosphere of this fabled place as they prepare for the upcoming HBO televised bout with Teddy Reid on July 17th in Houston. Besides the hours of training and sparring, they are relaxing, playing basketball and enjoying meals at the huge table in the dining hall where so many famous people sat to share a meal and talk with the most famous man on the planet. Something about this modest plot of land on a mountaintop near the coal regions of Pennsylvania intrigued and revitalized Muhammad Ali. It was at Deer Lake that Ali forged the stamina and honed his pugilistic skills to win two of his and the boxing world’s greatest battles in the ring – the “Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman and the “Thrilla in Manila” against Joe Frazier. Team Cintron hopes to capture some of that energy and magic. We will have updates and constantly be adding photos from this memorable camp in the “Team Cintron” GALLERY section of this website.