Legendary cutman passes away at 92
By Michele Chong
Our friend cutman Chuck Bodak passed away this morning at age 92 from long-term effects of a stroke he first suffered in August 2007. The feisty Bodak managed to hold off his biggest foe, “Father Time”–time and time again before the final bell rang. Born June 3, 1916 in Gary, Indiana, he was a renowned cutman for more than 60 champions.
Well-known in corners, Bodak had worked with many elite fighters including Muhammad Ali, Tommy Hearns, Julio Cesar Chavez, Evander Holyfield and Oscar De La Hoya. He continued to work in the ring–still active in the boxing world right up until the time of his stroke. The cutman was famous for his unique headbands, his handmade jewelry and for his colorful collages that he liked to give away as gifts.
Chuck’s two loves were the military and boxing. And he spent decades giving tirelessly to the boxing community as a fighter, trainer, cutman, author and even as an unlikely movie star. His generosity was endless to anyone and everyone who met him.
The last year and a half of his life were spent in private care residences in Orange County, California. The Marconi family, close friends of Chuck, is appreciative of everyone who had called, written or visited the popular cornerman throughout his illnesses.
Steve and I bid a final farewell to our friend Chuck Bodak. There is a collage he made that was hanging in his room that I always noticed when we visited him. It said “The Heart and Soul of Boxing” and Chuck had pasted photos of himself at fights and in the ring around this phrase. That certainly says it all–he had a great life, a great career and was the heart and soul of boxing for a lot of people!
Always wearing crosses and deeply religious, Chuck credited “the Big Guy” upstairs for his longevity. Now I know for sure he is up there with “the Big Guy.”
Boxer, trainer, cutman, author and artist can certainly describe Chuck. But for us, and for many fighters, friends, family and fans he was a mentor and hero to all.
A cutman to legends–boxing will never forget him.
Bodak is survived by relatives in his native Indiana including his sister, Mary, nephew, Bob Bodak, and close family friends the Marconis.
Planned memorial services are pending. Please check this column for future notices.
Photo courtesy of Michele Chong/ Collages by Chuck Bodak