Mike Tyson fans will instantly recognize the name Bobby Stewart. It was Stewart who offered a helping hand to an incarcerated, teenage Tyson – with Mike seeking him out when he found out Bobby was a former fighter.
Most fans would expect Stewart to say Tyson was the hardest puncher he ever shared a ring with, having sparred the young, still-developing teenager. But no, Bobby – who enjoyed a good amateur career, winning the Nationals in 1974 – points to one man when it comes to who hit him the hardest: Eugene “Cyclone” Hart.
As fans may know, the Philly middleweight legend’s son, Jesse Hart, last night came up short in a super-middleweight title challenge of Gilberto Ramirez; Hart showing real guts and courage in losing a 12 round decision that saw both men go to war. But Stewart, who sparred “Cyclone” in the 1970s at Cus D’Amato’s gym in the Catskills, knows first-hand how tough the Hart dynasty really is.
“I tell you, Eugene Hart, pound-for-pound, he could punch as hard as anyone,” Stewart told this writer during a recent interview.
“He was vicious in the ring. He hit me one time and I totally forgot! I went home and I thought I’d been knocked out. The next day at the gym I asked what happened, and they told me, no, I’d had a great workout with Eugene! That was quite scary. I had absolutely no memory of the spar; he hit me that hard. I won the Nationals in 1974 and I have to give Eugene Hart credit for that as he got me ready. He would come to the Catskills to spar and he’d be around 185-pounds and he’d work his way back down to 160. I also sparred Dave Zyglewicz, who fought for the world heavyweight title (losing to the great Joe Frazier). I sparred lost of gym guys, some of whom never had any actual fights.”
An interesting tale from Stewart. Now, can Jesse Hart bounce back the way his father did on a number of occasions? “Cyclone” never managed to win a word title, but his son gave it his all in trying to do so in a great action fight last night.
Let’s hope this young warrior can indeed come again.