They say that legends never die, that’s true for people like late Muhammad Ali, whose prowess in the boxing ring remains unmatched.
It’s without a doubt that such legends didn’t make it alone. In Ali’s case, he couldn’t have dominated the ring without the help of a ringside physician. Fernando “Ferdie” Pacheco, “The Fight Doctor” served as Muhammad Ali’s ringside physician, unfortunately, he’s gone.
Pacheco has died at the age of 89-years-old. His daughter, Tina Louise Pacheco, told The Associated Press that he died on Thursday morning at his Miami home following prolonged ailment.
The profound doctor was born in Tampa before he started practicing in Miami shortly after earning a medical degree from the University of Miami. He met Cassius Clay, who would later become Muhammad Ali, in 1960 when the fighter began training with Angelo Dundee at the 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach.
He also worked as Ali’s cornerman from 1962-1977, which included three successful title bouts. Pacheco revealed that he left his position after suggesting that Ali retire because of serious injuries. However, Ali fought four more matches but lost three.
He went on and became a television boxing analyst, as well as a painter and author. Pacheco was one of many members of Ali’s colorful entourage, traveling the world with the heavyweight champion as he fought the biggest fights of his career.
The efforts earned him the title of “The Fight Doctor” but Pacheco he later revealed that he never got a penny for his efforts. However, he got a gig in the 1980s as a color commentator due to his association with Ali in network TV fights.
At that time Ali had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and Pacheco gave an account about how he tried to get Ali to stop boxing after the brutal “Thrilla in Manila” fight against Joe Frazier in 1975.
He, later on, left Ali’s camp in 1977 after Ali signed to fight Earnie Shavers. Pacheco would later say that he told Ali he would stick around if he fought a boxer, who couldn’t hurt him, however, Shaver's was known as a vicious puncher and that’s why he was greatly concerned over Ali’s safety during the fight.