Dave Wolf

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Dave Wolf (far right) with Ray Mancini in 1983

Dave Wolf was a boxing manager best known for managing Ray Mancini, Donny Lalonde, Duane Bobick, Louie Espinoza and Ed (Too Tall) Jones. He died of leukemia on December 23, 2008.

Wolf was born in Manhattan and attended the University of Wisconsin. He was the sports editor of the student daily and covered the State Legislature for United Press International. In 1964 and 1965, while still in school, he covered the civil rights movement in the South and went to Montgomery, Alabama. He became well versed in the problems of blacks and how those problems pertained to sports.

He earned his master's degree at Columbia University and, in 1966, was hired as a sports reporter by Life magazine. He eventually became the sports editor. His biggest accomplishment was writing an article about Connie Hawkins, the New York City high school basketball star who had been kept out of the National Basketball Association because he reportedly acted as an "intermediary" in introducing gamblers to college basketball players. Wolf's six-month investigation cleared Hawkins, who eventually played in the NBA, and led to a successful book titled Foul! The Connie Hawkins Story, which award-winning author Thomas Hauser called "one of the best sports books ever written."

"I was doing a lot of freelance work for True and Sport magazines at the time, also," Wolf said. "I did a lot of boxing and I enjoyed it. The characters are larger than life, and they come from all walks. The fighters usually are less educated and that makes them more interesting because you can get below the surface easily. Except for a few of the champions, there are no carefully manufactured reputations."

Wolf met Joe Frazier in the mid-1960s. They agreed to write an autobiography of Frazier's life that made Wolf privy to a lot of the inside workings of boxing. "I didn't know it then," he said, "but I was serving my apprenticeship. I was with Frazier during the disaster in Jamaica when he lost to George Foreman. I saw how terribly he and his camp had underestimated Foreman. They were using George as a tune-up for Muhammad Ali. I saw how Frazier didn't prepare well."

The book was never written, Wolf said, because he and Frazier perceived events during that time differently, and he could not write what he did not believe. But Wolf had received a different type of boxing lesson. He became intrigued with managing.

Wolf's first fighter was 1972 Olympic bronze medalist Duane Bobick, whose career seemed just about over when they teamed in 1978. Bobick won eight of nine fights under Wolf's management.

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