One boxing legend never to have won a major world title is New York's Dave Tenny, cutman extraordinaire. Currently one of the best cutmen in the business, with more than 25 world championship fights to his credit, Dave has perfected the art of cut management within the squared circle.
Major titles can be lost or won when a severe cut enters the equation, making the role of the cutman immensely important. In fact, boxing champions often dependent on a good cutman to help them progress to the later stages of a fight. Dave has enhanced many a top champion's chances of winning, with his remarkable skills.
How effective is Dave?
Just ask Jose Rivera, who sustained such a bad cut in the early stages of an 8-round match-up, that he required 42 stitches post-fight. Dave successfully managed to control this cut, and Jose went on to win the fight - a fight he could easily have lost had it not been for Dave's skills.
Such is the nature of boxing; any injury sustained during a fight should be treated seriously. However, it is the cutman's role to use any means at their disposal, to prolong the fight, to help their boxer to win.
The next time you watch a major title fight, keep an eye out for the cutman. Chances are he is the one working overtime to ensure the fight is successful and entertaining. In the following exclusive interview, Dave gives his insights into the fight game, and the importance of the cutman to the success of a fight.
[ Q ] Dave. Please provide some background on yourself. How did you get started in the cut business?
First I was a boxer in the Navy. When I got out, I became a trainer, then a cutman in 1992. Before that, I started working with Al Gavin and he took a liking to me, and the rest is history.
[ Q ] How far did you go in boxing?
I only had 15 fights as an amateur. I never went pro.
[ Q ] What attracted you to the sport of boxing?
The 1-on-1 competition. I don't care much for team sports and that's why I like boxing. It's just you and the other guy.
[ Q ] Explain the influence Al Gavin had on you.
Al Gavin was a true friend. He was considered one of the best cutmen, and he took a great liking to me. He would actually take the time out and show me step by step what to do when a fighter is cut or swollen. He also told me about different things on the business of boxing, and whenever he couldn't do a job because he had a previous engagement, he would always recommend me.
Al Gavin Was A True Friend.
Once, a ring doctor said to me "Man, you work just like Al Gavin." That was when I knew for sure that I had learned my trade well.
[ Q ] Explain exactly what your job involves Dave.
Before the fight, I will prep the fighters face, usually with Vaseline. Then, during the fight, I help to control any swelling or bleeding and use any coagulants if necessary.
[ Q ] What tools do you take into the ring?
For fighting cuts and swelling, my arsenal is Avitene, Enswell, Adrenaline Hydrochloride, Thrombine, lots of gauze pads, Q-tips, cotton and I always wear latex gloves.
[ Q ] How long have you worked as a cutman?
I've been in boxing about 27 years. Of those 27 years, 14 were as a cutman.
[ Q ] What is it about this business that appeals to you?
I always loved what a cutman does, and I happen to be pretty good at it. I take a lot pride in what I do, especially if I can stop a bad cut.
There is no finer moment for a cutman than when you have kept your guy in the bout and he wins.
No Finer Moment.
[ Q ] Where do you currently live Dave?
Currently I'm in New York in Westchester County.
[ Q ] You have been a cutman in 25 World Championship fights. What are some of the biggest you have been involved in?
I had Danny Williams when he fought Mike Tyson. Also Kevin Kelley against Erik Morales.
[ Q ] What has been the most exciting fight you have worked the corner for?
I would say the Danny Williams fight, when he fought Mike Tyson.
| Williams Vs. Tyson
Danny Williams' record stands at:
41 wins, 9 losses and 0 draws, with 31 knockout wins.
Mike Tyson's record stands at:
[ Q ] Who are some of the bigger names you have been in the corner of?
Danny Williams, Kevin Kelley, Jake Rodriguez, Jose Rivera and Dana Rosenblatt are some of the big names I have been involved with.
[ Q ] What are your current plans? Any big fights coming up?
I was supposed to have a title fight on September 3, with Jose Rivera for the WBO Jr. Middleweight title. But Jose got injured. Other than that, nothing right now.
[ Q ] Are their any interesting boxing stories you can share with the readers?
There are so many, but I wouldn't know where to begin. Boxing is full of interesting stories.
[ Q ] Who has been the most injured fighter you have ever attended to? What was the severity of the injuries/cuts?
Jose Rivera. He had a fight in New York, an 8-rounder against a guy named Arturo Nina, where the cut was so bad he required 42 stitches. I was able to control the cut, and he went on to win the fight. For me, it was a rough 32 minutes of extreme
stress - but was well worth it.
[ Q ] How did you control the Jose Rivera's cut?
By applying major pressure, and using 2 different coagulants: Adrenaline and Avitene.
| What Is A Coagulant?
An agent that causes a solution or liquid, especially blood, to coagulate.
[ Q ] What is the most common area of the face to be cut?
Above or below the eye area.
[ Q ] What sort of qualifications do you need to become a professional cut-man?
You don't need a certification, but you need to be licensed in the state you work in, and you get that from the boxing commission.
[ Q ] How important is the cut-man in a professional fight?
Very important. I would have to say that I am the most important guy next to the trainer. But the fighter must also do his best to protect a cut throughout a fight, to stop it from becoming worse.
[ Q ] When should a ring-side doctor stop the fight, when a fighter is cut?
A ringside doctor should stop the fight when the bleeding is so uncontrollable, the fighter cannot finish safely.
[ Q ] Who do you feel is the greatest boxing champion of all time?
Sugar Ray Robinson.
| Sugar Ray Robinson.
Walker Smith Jr. (May 3, 1921 - April 12, 1989), better known in the boxing world as Sugar Ray Robinson, was a boxer who was a native of Detroit, Michigan.
Legend has it that one time during the '70s, Robinson walked into a gym in Miami and he was impressed by a young boxer he saw there. That boxer's name is Alexis Arguello.
Legend also has it that one day, a young aspiring boxer walked into Robinson's restaurant in Harlem and asked for an autograph. When the young child asked for an autograph, Robinson supposedly denied it, and the kid was so frustrated according to the legend, and he swore never to deny anyone an autograph if he ever became a champion. That young kid was Cassius Clay.
Robinson retired from the ring with a record of 179 wins, 19 losses, 6 draws and 2 no contests in 206 professional bouts, with 109 knockout wins, ranking him among the most prolific knockout winners of all time according to The Ring Magazine, which,as a matter of a fact, named him number eleven in the list of all time greatest punchers in boxing history in 2003.
He died in Los Angeles at the age of 68 and was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California.
[ Q ] What is it about Sugar Ray Robinson that you admire?
He was ahead of his time. The way he moved around the ring, and controlled his opponents. He was graceful to watch and a real technician in the ring.
[ Q ] Who among the current pros do you admire, and why?
Bernard Hopkins. He's another true technician in the ring, and that's what I like to see.
[ Q ] Is there a dream fight you would like be part of?
Any major heavyweight title fight.
[ Q ] How do you feel about the future of boxing?
I think the future is good for boxing but I feel it needs to have better promoters.
[ Q ] What is it about promoters that need to change in your view?
I guess some of them just don't care about fighting. It's all about the money to them, and I understand to a degree, but they get too greedy and that kills the sport.
That's why some of your major fighters in the game are their own promoters. People like Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins.
[ Q ] Is there anyone you would like to thank, or pay respect to?
Al Gavin he was my mentor my friend and above all one of the best.
One Of The Best.
[ Q ] Thank you for your time Dave. Is there anything more you would like to add?