By: Sean Crose
Several weeks back, colorful fight trainer and manager F. Mac Buckley passed. Although Buckley never attained the fame of other cornermen, those who knew and worked with him, particularly in the state of Connecticut, will find him hard to forget. Buckley was most well known for guiding a good portion of the career of stellar welterweight Marlon Starling, who went on to become a two time world titlist within the division. Another known fighter connected with the colorful Buckley was notable light heavyweight turned analyst and trainer John “The Iceman” Scully. An engaging and passionate player in the contemporary fight game, Scully took some time to speak about his former mentor.
“Even as a young kid in boxing, I always knew who he was,” Scully says. “Mac was really as big as Marlon was” in those early days. After working with Buckley during his impressive amateur career, Scully decided to team up with the man when he decided to turn pro. “It was just the natural choice to go with him,” says Scully. Indeed, Buckley appeared to the young Scully as having a considerable amount of gravitas.
“Mac was in his mid-forties when he was managing me,” Scully says. “To me, he was much older…I would have thought late fifties.” No matter what his age was, Scully remembers Buckley as a man who wore a variety of different hats. “He was a family guy,” says Scully, “a briefcase guy, the suit and tie guy, the bigtime lawyer.” According to Scully, Buckley was nothing if not passionate. “He practiced boxing the same way he practiced law,” Scully says. “He was a showman. He was part of the show.”
Although Scully eventually parted ways with Buckley, as Starling eventually did, he credits Buckley with giving him some notable opportunities (four main events in a year and a half is no small number for an up and coming fighter). “We had our ups and downs,” Scully admits. “He only believed in the original eight weight classes….I was a solid 165.” Still, Buckley proved to be an individual set in his ways. “He wanted me to go, and I did go, to 160,” Scully ads. “He believed in either middleweight or light heavyweight…that was the reason he and I broke up.”
As those who know their boxing know, Scully made out quite well for himself, and today operates at the highest levels. He’s busy right now training Artur Beterbiev for Beterbiev’s upcoming fight against Joe Smith in June. The colorful and controversial Buckley, however, remains fresh in Scully’s mind – as well as the minds of those who knew the man, or even knew of him.