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Ex-Boxing Trainer Arcel Dies at 94 : Obituary: He handled 19 champions, ranging from Goldstein in 1924 to Holmes in '82.

March 08, 1994

NEW YORK — Ray Arcel, who trained 19 boxing champions and worked in fighters' corners until he was 82, died Monday at 94.

His wife, Stephanie, said she took him to Beth Israel Medical Center in the morning because he was feeling ill, The New York Times reported Tuesday. He died there several hours later.

Arcel started his boxing career as a club fighter in New York and finished it as a cornerman for Larry Holmes in his 1982 heavyweight title victory over challenger Gerry Cooney.

Arcel's first world championship as a trainer came in 1924 when Abe Goldstein outpointed Joe Lynch for the bantamweight crown.

"That was great because he and I ran around," Arcel said. "We played together, laughed together and wept together."

In the next decade, Arcel worked with lightweight champion Benny Leonard and heavyweight champions Jimmy Braddock and the late Ezzard Charles.

Charles became one of the most important fighters in Arcel's career--the only one of 14 fighters Arcel sent in to face heavyweight Joe Louis who emerged victorious. Charles defeated Louis on Sept. 27, 1950, when Louis was attempting a comeback from retirement.

After training the likes of Barney Ross, Tony Zale, Jackie Kid Berg, Freddie Steeler, Ceferino Garcia, Lou Brouillard, Jackie Fields and Sixto Escobar, Arcel began a career as a matchmaker and producer for television's "Saturday Night Fights" from 1953 until 1955, when the series went off the air after Arcel said there was a lack of money and interest.

He took a 17-year leave from the sport and finally returned at the request of Carlos Eleta of Panama to work with Alfonso (Peppermint) Frazier, who won the title under Arcel's training from Nicolino Loche on March 10, 1972.

The relationship between Arcel and Eleta blossomed and the Panamanian used the veteran trainer to hone the skills of a young fighter, Roberto Duran, who went on to hold titles in four weight classes.

It was Duran who figured in one of of the most striking moments in Arcel's career.

With 16 seconds left in the eighth round of his WBC welterweight rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard, Duran quit. Arcel said at the time he thought the bell had rung. Then, he discovered Duran had yelled, " No mas. "

"He was like my son. I don't think he let me down," Arcel said two years after the fight. "I don't blame Duran. Duran was never a quitter. Duran brought glory to boxing and glory to Panama. . . . This was one of those things that happen. Who knows what happens to a human being from one moment to the next? These things are incidents. There is more to life."

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