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"It opens doors for you," he went on. "It gets you the plane reservation when all the seats are sold. It gets you the best suite in the biggest hotel in town. And every place you go, people want to do something for you or give you something, like a shirt or a tie or a suit. When they do that they think they're part of the champion, I guess."
At 68, Charley is a vintage veteran of boxing, of course, and he knows that this is how it is. But, as anyone else, he isn't sure why it works that way.
"It's a funny thing. I sometimes wonder where all those people were when he was starting out, like the time he made the first trip down to New York.
"That time, he and that Allie Columbo were going to start out on a Sunday, but then they figured they'd better wait until Monday because that way they'd have a better chance of hitching a ride on a truck.
"And you know what he says to me that first time? 'Charley,' he says, 'they had to give me one of those $1.20 rooms at the YMCA instead of a 90� one. They said maybe today they could change me to a 90� one.'
"Rocky'd never use to dress up.... He's different now, but you used to have to wrestle him to put a shirt on him. Once we were going somewhere on a plane and Rocky has on just an undershirt. 'Who's that?' a lady says to me. 'That's Marciano, the champion,' I says. 'Oh,' the lady says, 'he can't be the champion. The champion wouldn't look like that.' "
Charley saw, sooner than most, the signs that Rocky was losing interest.
"First you got to know he was a tremendous trainer," Charley said. "People ask me, 'How did you help him be champion?' Well, I didn't interfere with his style, but most of all he helped himself. No athlete ever—ever—was as self-sacrificing as he was, even to the point of overdoing it.
"In training, he'd be in bed 15-16 hours. Even if you're his best friend come from California to see him, Rocky still goes to bed right at the dot of 9:30.
"And even when he was not training, every day—I mean every day, too—he'd take a long walk. Even if he comes to your house for a vacation, he'd bring along an old pair of pants and shoes so he could take his walk.