Jackie McCoy, longtime Southland boxing trainer who developed five world champions in a 46-year career, died Monday at 73 after a long fight with cancer.
He is perhaps best known for bringing a popular Long Beach teenager named Mando Ramos to the world lightweight championship in 1969. But he also made world champions of welterweights Don Jordan (1958-'60) and Carlos Palomino (1977-'79); plus featherweight Raul Rojas (1968) and lightweight Rodolfo Gonzalez (1972-'74).
In recent years he worked with South African heavyweight Gerry Coetzee, who once owned a piece of the heavyweight championship.
Longtime Southland boxing promoter Don Fraser hailed McCoy.
"In all my years in boxing, I never heard anyone say one bad word about Jackie," Fraser said Monday. "He was known as a guy who treated his boxers fairly, and the guys who fought for him were lifelong friends after their boxing days were over."
Guys like Ramos, an electrifying fighter who filled the Olympic Auditorium numerous times with fans who set up chants of "Mando! Mando! Mando. . . ."
Ramos won the world title at 20, knocking out Teo Cruz in Los Angeles in 1969.
He became such a big draw his 1972 match with Chango Carmona was held in the Coliseum. Before 25,000, Carmona stopped Ramos in the eighth round.
Ramos was an indifferent trainer and quickly succumbed to the distractions of wine, women and song and, later, worse.
"Ramos was a dream fighter, but it all became a nightmare after he won the title," McCoy years later. "Half the time, I couldn't find him."
Ramos went into an even deeper tailspin years after his boxing days, but McCoy and others helped rescue him from drug and alcohol abuse.
"I idolize the guy," Ramos said in 1987. "If my son ever wanted to box, Jackie would be his trainer. That's what I think of him."
McCoy, small and slender, looked more like a librarian than a fight trainer.
For most of his boxing years, he had a day job as a San Pedro longshoreman. He also was recognized as one of the sport's best cut men and worked many corners when his own fighters weren't booked.
Jordan's story was similar to Ramos': a champion at 24 and former champion at 25.
Said McCoy of Jordan: "He had great natural ability but abused it. Right after winning the title [in 1958], he was arrested for drunk driving. He wouldn't train much."
But Palomino was different.
"Carlos was the easiest guy I ever managed," McCoy said in 1987. "He had good ability and he was super dedicated. If you wanted him to run five miles, he'd give you seven."
After he retired, Palomino--now a member of the State Athletic Commission--said of McCoy: "The first four-round fight I had, I got $80. But Jackie didn't take a cut of my purse until I got to main events.
"He never gets a lot of credit because he's so quiet. He wants his fighters in the limelight, not him."
Services for McCoy are pending.