Inducted on November 11, 2010
“I’ve seen so many cuts, I’m an expert. I’m the coldest guy in the corner.”
Fred (Freddie) Brown, born January 13, 1907, was the youngest child of six in a Jewish family. He was born and raised on the Lower East side, on Forsythe Street. Fred’s mother died when he was very young; his father re-married and worked as a deliveryman using a horse and wagon. He attended P.S. 7 but quit school in the eighth grade to be a pattern boy in a shoe firm.
Freddie’s passion for boxing began when one of Brown’s brothers took him to a local boxing gym. Brown became an amateur featherweight; he estimated he won 68 fights and lost 4. Eventually, the gym was the second job that his father discouraged. Freddie stopped fighting when he had a nose injury. He went to a local clinic to treat it but the physician removed the bone in his septum giving Freddie his signature flat nose. Brown refused to undergo cosmetic surgery because he believed his nose was good for one purpose…breathing.
After his early retirement in fighting, he decided to become a trainer. He trained amateur fighters while working in the shoe trade in the 1920s. Brown trained his fighters at Seward’s Gym on Hester Street. The first five years of his training career, he worked as a patternmaker for I. Miller manufacturing ladies’ shoes while training amateurs. He soon retired from the shoe trade and moved on to the professionals. Boxing became a full time career for him. One of the first fighters he trained was Lew Farber. Using connections (such as Jimmy Johnston), Brown was able to train one of his earlier favorite fighters – Bob Pastor. Freddie Brown trained a number of contenders and champions like Vito Antuofermo, Harold Green, Larry Holmes, Gaspar Ortega, Bob Pastor, Abe Simon, and many others.
Freddie Brown became an expert cut man. Known as an uncertified ring doctor, Freddie helped fighters between rounds using products from his “toolkit.” One of his famous “patients” was Rocky Marciano. Brown said Rocky “bled like a faucet.” Brown was on his corner the night Marciano took the heavyweight title from Jersey Joe Walcott in 1952. He was also in Rocky’s corner when he fought Former Champion Ezzard Charles in the return match. Rocky’s nose was split down the middle and the bout was close to being stopped and if it weren’t for Freddie’s experience as a cutman, they would have stopped it.
One of his highly publicized fighters was Roberto Duran. He trained Duran at Gleason’s gym in the 1970s. Brown worked with Ray Arcel, a full time purchasing agent who trained Duran periodically. The partnership dissolved on the night of November 25, 1980, the rematch of Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. Duran quit the fight in the eighth round yelling “No mas!” That night, Freddie retired from boxing. He had had several offers to renew his license for free and to train Sylvester Stallone but refused.
Freddie came out of retirement for one day to receive the Cus D’ Amato Award for “outstanding service in the field” on August 16, 1986. He died on December 4, 1986 leaving behind his wife, Muriel, and his two daughters, Arlene and Jerilyn.