Remembering a true champion: Macka Foley

Photo by Gil Ortiz

Photo by Gil Ortiz


“I wasn’t that great a fighter but I just wouldn’t go away. I just loved boxing. I owe my whole life to it.” – Macka Foley


The boxing world was saddened by the news that Los Angeles-based trainer and former heavyweight fighter Macka Foley passed away in his sleep last Monday.


Foley spent a full life in boxing as a fighter and trainer. He turned pro in Spring of 1969 and, over the following 10 years, fought 54 times. An accomplished pro, Foley won 33 fights (with 21 stoppages) with one draw, against 20 losses. Foley fought predominantly on the East Coast in Maine and Massachusetts. His career also took him to Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, South Africa and New York, culminating on the West Coast.


After his pro career ended, Foley started working with fighters as a trainer in California, where he settled upon retirement. Foley would connect with another former East Coast fighter in Freddie Roach, who was also training fighters at his Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood. Foley knew the Roach family well as Roach’s father had trained Macka years earlier. Roach was happy to have the experienced ex-pro working with him and bringing a lifetime of fight knowledge to the gym.


When former heavyweight Justin Fortune (who also worked with Roach at the Wild Card) left to start his own gym, Foley faithfully followed suit. UCNLive caught up with Fortune, who graciously shared his thoughts and memories about his friend.


“I connected up with Macka at Freddie’s gym. Freddie knew him very well as Freddie’s dad had trained Macka years ago. I knew Macka when I was still fighting. He was a real boxing guy. He had such great stories. He was like the ‘Bible of Boxing,’ Fortune said with a chuckle. “He was so well-liked. Everybody loved being around him, hearing his stories, having a laugh. He didn’t need to train guys for the money; he had his VA [Veterans Administration] pension. He was in the gym because he liked working with fighters and everybody liked him. He trained some actors as well. He just loved boxing and being around the gym.”


Asked how he would remember his friend, Fortune said, “Macka was a real character, his stories. He loved to have a laugh. A real solid, dependable guy. He was a real boxing guy and there aren’t many of them left anymore. He was just a real solid guy.”


Gone but not forgotten. Rest in Peace, Champ!



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