Published: June 23, 2008
Former trainer Baranski remembers better times
By Tim Wilkin
A lot of people thought of Baranski as Tyson’s cut man (not that he needed one back then). Baranski bristles at that. He says he was an assistant trainer.
“Those were the good old days,” Baranski said. “From August 1986 to August 1987, we spent 27 weeks in Las Vegas. Hell, that was 21 years ago.”
Baranski now is 86, but you wouldn’t know it. He spends little time in the recliner watching old fights on tape. He moves as fast as he did when he founded the old Trinity Institute Gym in 1963.
He is pictured here in 1987, the year before he stopped running the gym.
PICTURES GO HERE
Baranski, an accomplished middleweight fighter in the 1940s, hasn’t forgotten how to work out. Four times a week, he is at Albany’s Quail Street Gym. He goes four rounds on a speed bag, four more on a heavy bag. He goes through a rigorous routine of calisthenics. He rides the bike. Oh, and he does 300 sit-ups.
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People half his age don’t exercise as much as he does.
“That’s their own damn fault,” Baranski said. “They are lazy. I have just always worked out. I was a welterweight and I weighed 148 when I was fighting. That is what I weigh now. I can’t believe how many people don’t work out. I go to Wal-Mart, it’s the land of the fat people. Unbelievable.”
Baranski still was training some female fighters up to about a year ago, but he has given it up. He is content to work out, cook dinner for friends and live the good life.
During the Tyson years, he said he made about $1.2 million.
“But, hey, that was 20 years ago,” Baranski said. “I didn’t just sit on it. I bought a house, paid cash. We lived, but I didn’t blow it all. I’m OK.”
In the past two years, his wife of 60 years, Kate, passed away. And he had to go through a full knee replacement. But he keeps going, working out and talking about boxing with whoever cares to ask about it.
And, right now, he’s not a big fan of the game.
“It stinks,” he said. “There are no good fighters around. I will tell you it’s because there are a lack of trainers. There just aren’t any around. Those that are trainers don’t know their (rear ends) from their elbows. I am a firm believer that you can’t teach someone to do something if you can’t do it yourself.”
He softens when the conversation comes back to Tyson and the 1980s.
“I miss those days,” he said. “I had everything I wanted. We would go to Las Vegas for five weeks and the only thing I missed was my wife. I had a Lincoln to drive around, all my expenses were paid and I was making money. You can’t help but miss days like that.”