“So his selflessness—that’s what I’ll remember most is his selflessness. I remember that most, and he always made us feel like we were something, and we always wanted to impress him as kids.”—Tarick Salmaci
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – This is Part Six of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of an remarkable individual, Emanuel Steward, whose contributions to the world of boxing are simply extraordinary. In this installment, former Kronk fighter Tarick Salmaci shares his views and some of his unique experiences growing up in the Kronk Gym throughout his childhood. Here is a complete transcript of my discussion with Tarick:
GEOFFREY CIANI: Tarick, it was a big loss for the boxing world, especially the Kronk community, when we lost an exceptional individual when Emanuel Steward passed away. As someone who had the opportunity to work with Emanuel, what are your personal views on his personal impact on the world of boxing?
TARICK SALMACI: Good question. I think he’ll always be a part of boxing. He’s part of the game. He’ll always be part of the game. He helped make boxing what it is as far as training world champions, being involved in all these mega fights he was involved in throughout the 70s, 80s, 90s, and current. It’s just when it comes to boxing he’s a legend. That’s a given right there.
CIANI: Can you tell the fans out there a little bit about what it was like the first time that you worked with Emanuel?
SALMACI: Let me start by saying that Emanuel, I mean I first met him when I was 11 years old. So I kind of grew up around Emanuel, and from the first time meeting him as a kid he always made you feel important. You know what I mean? That’s one thing he always did, and I noticed that as a kid. He made us feel important, and we always tried to impress him. I mean we were like 11 and 12 years old, here we are, kids from the ghetto, and this man would take us. We were young kids! And with Emanuel this was like the 80s. So he was already on top of his game. He would pick us up and take us to the most expensive restaurant in Detroit. There was a steakhouse called “Carl’s Chop House”, and he’d take about 14 or 15 of us there randomly. Every month, every couple of months, he would take us all there to experience something we never experienced before.