5th Street Gym (Miami)
5th St. Gym 305-763-8110 555 Washington Miami Beach, FL. 33139
The 5th St. Gym got its start in 1950 when Chris Dundee began promoting big time boxing in Miami Beach. It quickly became the celebrated University of Boxing, overseen by Chris, the “Wizard of Oz”, and his brother Angelo, the “Prince of Oz”. The gym was also a magnet for a wide range of international celebrities including Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Jackie Gleason, Malcolm X, The Beatles, Sean Connery, Frank Sinatra, Sylvester Stallone, and a myriad of others who were absorbed into the gym’s legendary mystique. Boxing people the world over sent their fighters to be trained at the 5th St. gym. Every possible thing that could be taught about this grim profession of boxing was taught by the Wizard. It originally lasted around four decades and created countless world champions, such as Carmen Basilio, Willie Pastrano and the greatest of them all, Cassius Clay-who then became the ubiquitous Muhammad Ali. He still remains the shining accomplishment of Oz (5th St. Gym).
It helped shape the history of Miami Beach. It is synonymous with the history of Miami Beach for what it was and will become once again. The gym became a tourist attraction in the decayed streets as the money had moved north the Fountain Bleu and Eden Roc. The biggest names and fighters paraded through this magical gym known as 5th St Gym; Ali, Basilio, Griffilth, Arche Moore, Willie Pep, Sonny Liston, Roberto Duran. The list is infinite. As shabby and unkempt the area was, the gym simply belonged.
It has taken many years, but once again the gym has come alive. The Wizard is gone. The original concrete is gone. Ali and Pacheco have aged along with the Prince. However, magic is magic- and the love of boxing goes on. The rebirth of the 5th St. Gym will continue to keep its spirit alive. With perhaps a few more strong years remaining, the energy and legacy of Ali, Basilio, Angelo Dundee, and Ferdie Pacheco will, too, live on.
Tom Tsatas, Dino Spencer and Matt Baiamonte re-opened Oz; with the guidance and blessing of Angelo and his son, Jimmy Dundee, the gym once again is resurrected in its original location at 5th and Washington. Matt Baiamonte, Angelo Dundee’s chief trainer and protégé is the direct lineage for the gym. Dino Spencer, who has lived his life in the gym and trained under current world renowned trainer Freddy Roach, is there side by side to condition, work corners, and teach a new crop and changed generation the art of conditioning, boxing and a new found sport of MMA to youth, women and new-comers. Finally, Tom Tsatas, who coincidentally shares the same birthday with Muhammad Ali (Jan 17th), uses his passion for boxing to take on the insurmountable task of reviving the marvel that is the 5th St. Gym-thus, sustaining the legacy of its predecessor. Although Cassius Clay or The Wizard Chris Dundee can never be replaced, for there can only ever be one of each, the world is sure to see a new line of acomplished fighters emerge from the 5th St. Gym. This new Oz trio will use the surreal energy of the living legends of Angelo Dundee, Muhammad Ali, and Ferdie Pacheco to uphold the memory of some of the greatest individuals in boxing history. The gym has already had celebrities such as Matt Damen and Dave Chepelle training at the famous gym as well as the likes of WBA Heavyweight Champ David Haye, Fres Oquendo, Lucian Bute, George Groves, Anthony and Andre Direll and Melissa Hernandez training there. Visitors have included Muhammad Ali, Shannon Briggs, Nazeem Richardson, Bert Sugar, Glen Johnson, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Emanuel Steward, Floyd Mayweather, Antonio Margarito and many many others. The gym is open to beginners, amateurs, pros, soccer mom's and weekend warriors. On any given day you can see glimpses of the original as Muhammad Ali, Angelo Dundee and Ferdie Pacheco can stroll in there unannounced to live the memories of the magic known as 5th St. Gym.
- Located at 5th Street and Washington Avenue on South Beach 555 Washington (305) 763-8110
BOOKS: Tales from the 5th St. Gym by Ferdie Pacheco