R.I.P.: Esteemed Boxing Trainer, Correspondent, And Boxing Enthusiast ‘Emanuel Steward’ Dies At 68!
You will be missed brother:
Emanuel Steward, revered as one of the best trainers in boxing history and whose Kronk Gym symbolized Detroit’s gritty, blue-collar boxing scene and produced numerous world champions, died Thursday after a short illness. He was 68.
Steward, who also managed many of the fighters he trained, worked with more than two dozen champions during his decades-long career. A younger generation of boxing fans knew him as an expert analyst on HBO’s boxing telecasts.
Victoria Kirton, Steward’s executive assistant, told The Associated Press that Steward died in a Chicago hospital Thursday afternoon.
Often called the Godfather of Detroit boxing, Steward was a beloved figure because of his outgoing personality, seemingly endless energy to talk about boxing with anyone who would approach him and his dedication to his fighters. As a cornerman, he commanded respect because of his strategic genius and for having the knack of saying the right thing at the right time during the heat of battle.
Fighters also loved him for his generosity and for the father-figure role he often played in their lives. Training fighters was not just a job for Steward. He often took fighters in to live with him in his Detroit home, training them by day and parenting them by night.
Steward was most closely identified with his work with three superstar fighters: multi-divisional world champion Thomas Hearns, who was with Steward from the beginning; former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis; and reigning heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
“He brought the very, very best out of me,” Hearns once said of his trainer.
Steward kept his usual busy schedule through the summer, training middleweight contender Andy Lee — who lived with Steward — for his loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on June 16, and Klitschko for his title-retaining sixth-round knockout win against Tony Thompson in their July 7 rematch. But he had been hospitalized since September, causing him to miss two HBO broadcasts, and underwent surgery. His sister, Diane Steward Jones, said the surgery was for the stomach disorder diverticulitis, although many others who knew Steward said it was for advanced cancer.
“There are no adequate words to describe the enormous degree of sadness and loss we feel at HBO Sports with the tragic passing of Manny Steward,” HBO Sports president Ken Hershman said. “For more than a decade, Manny was a respected colleague who taught us so much not only about the sweet science but also about friendship and loyalty. His energy, enthusiasm and bright smile were a constant presence. Ten bells do not seem enough to mourn his passing. His contributions to the sport and to HBO will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Born in West Virginia on July 7, 1944, Steward became interested in boxing at age 8 after he was given a pair of boxing gloves. When he was 12, he moved with his mother to Detroit and began training at Brewster’s Gym, the famed gym that produced the great Joe Louis.
Sympathies go out to his friends and family. R.I.P.