The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 4: Perspective from Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage

The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 4: Perspective from Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage

“So he was not just only a manager, a trainer, a commentator. He was a good man. He was a man that would give you the shirt off his back, and that’s what I will remember about Emanuel Steward.”—Cornelius Bundrage

Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – This is Part Four of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of an extraordinary individual, Emanuel Steward, whose contributions to the world of boxing are simply remarkable. In this installment, reigning IBF junior middleweight champion Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage (32-4, 19 KOs) provided his perspective and shared some of his experiences with the legendary Hall of Fame trainer. Here is a complete transcript from my discussion with ‘K9’ Bundrage:

GEOFFREY CIANI: K9, it was a big loss for the boxing world when Emanuel Steward passed away. As a fighter who had the opportunity to work with Emanuel, can you give us your views on his impact on boxing?

CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE: Wow! You know I don’t know if boxing, as far as the knowledge that Emanuel Steward had in boxing, I don’t know if we’re going to run across a guy like that again. I mean how many guys do you know that came across fighters Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and still have world champions to this day, that knew what he was talking about? I mean I believe he helped Jim Lampley and all of them to know more about boxing, because he was actually a boxer himself. I mean he’s going to be missed by not only just the people in Detroit and the people in boxing, but he’s going to be missed by a lot of people. Emanuel Steward was feeding a lot of people. What people don’t realize or know is he was taking care of a lot of fighters. He once had a house where there were like a lot of fighters who stayed there, and it was fighters from all around the world. It wasn’t just the fighters from the city. You even know Andy Lee stayed in one of his houses, and Andy Lee is from Ireland. But he had a training camp house where I was actually in. It was Johnathon Banks, it was me, and it was another local fighter named John Jackson. He had a whole camp or so. You know there are going to be a lot of people that are going to be really affected by Emanuel Steward leaving, because like I said he was looking out for a lot of people. There were guys at the gym who I know personally that used to go to his house and get a check every week. They’re going to be greatly affected. So you know Emanuel was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He was a real cool guy, definitely a cool guy, and he knew the sport of boxing. He didn’t act like he was too good for anybody, and he was out there. You know people knew who he was all over the world, and he always gave you the time if he had it, and he didn’t treat you like you were a nobody. Even if you were nobody, he treated like you were somebody. That was Emanuel Steward right there. He was like the Michael Jackson of boxing. Or should we say the James Brown of boxing, the Godfather.

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The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 3: Perspective from Naazim Richardson

The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 3: Perspective from Naazim Richardson

“I’m proud to say I knew the man. I’m honored to say I had a personal communication and I’m fortunate to be able to say that I got to see him work.”—Naazim Richardson

Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – This is Part Three of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of a remarkable individual, Emanuel Steward, whose extraordinary contributions to the boxing world spanned sixty years. In this installment, trainer Naazim Richardson provided his perspective and shared some of his experiences with the legendary Hall of Fame trainer. Here is a complete transcript from my discussion with Naazim:

GEOFFREY CIANI: Naazim, it was a sad day for boxing and we lost one of our greatest ambassadors in the sport when Emanuel Steward passed away nearly two weeks ago. I’m wondering if you could share your personal views on the impact that Emanuel had on boxing?

NAAZIM RICHARDSON: Well like you said, Emanuel was a great ambassador for the sport and a very intricate part of the sport as we know it in the last few years, and he touched on all facets of it in that he was, you know a commentator, trainer, manager, promoter. He was just in every detail of the sport, and like I’ve said, it’s a great loss but it’s one of those situations where we lose, but in a sense there’s a piece of Emanuel that’s going to exist forever in the sport from when he sat down and what he let the world share from the Kronk’s Gym on to when he was analyzing the fights as a commentator. So he’ll be with us as long as the sport is around.

CIANI: One of the things I remember that Emanuel said about you once, it was when he was still training Chad Dawson and he was looking forward to the challenge of going up against you, and Bernard, and all of the great boxing minds from your corner. He actually said it reminded him of when he was training Evander Holyfield and he had to go up against the old school corner led by Eddie Futch. One of the things Naazim, you’re known as a great preparer of your fighters, and I’m wondering if you could tell the fans out there how you gauge Emanuel when it came to preparing his fighters to give them their best chance at victory?

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Charles “The Hatchet” Brewer Speaks On His Career: “Joe Calzaghe Had Ridiculous Combinations!”

By James Slater – Philly warrior Charles Brewer, a man who captured the IBF super-middleweight crown in June of ‘97 and held on to it until dropping a controversial points loss to Sven Ottke in October of the following year, fought two greats from these shores – in Herol Graham and Joe Calzaghe – and “The Hatchet” rates both Brits very highly. The 168-pounder from Joe Frazier country was blessed with fine boxing skills, yet he was quite often involved in slugfests; his classic with Calzaghe a notable example.

Having retired in 2005, with a somewhat deceptive 40-11(28) ledger, Brewer has some exciting career to look back on. Here he does so for ESB:

On his best-ever performance in the ring:

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The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 2: Perspective from Iceman John Scully

The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 2: Perspective from Iceman John Scully

“I mean in 1981 as a kid I was reading about Emanuel in a magazine and watching that big fight, and then years later whatever it was, here he was working my corner in the gym”—Iceman John Scully

Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani: – This is Part Two of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of one extraordinary individual, Emanuel Steward, whose contributions to the sport he loved are simply immense. In this installment, trainer Iceman John Scully provided his perspective and shared some of his experiences with the legendary Hall of Fame trainer. Here is a complete transcript from my discussion with Iceman Scully:

GEOFFREY CIANI: John, a week and a half ago was a very sad day for the boxing world, and we lost a remarkable individual when Emanuel Steward passed away. As a trainer, a commentator, and an overall ambassador for the sport of boxing, when you think of Emanuel Steward what do you think of his impact on the sport and his legacy?

JOHN SCULLY: I mean I’ll tell you when I first started boxing, when I first started getting involved in boxing as a fan as a kid, he was one of the premiere trainers at the time. It was the late 70s and in the early 80s. So he had Hilmer Kenty and Tommy Hearns at that time, and the Hearns-Leonard fight was a huge part of my youth in boxing. So I’ve obviously been very, very aware of Emanuel since that time, and what’s funny is it just dawned on me the other day. After he passed away and I read one of his obituaries, it dawned on me one of his amazing feats is that when Leonard and Hearns fought the first time, Emanuel was only in like his mid 30s at the time as his trainer. He was training the beast that was Tommy Hearns in that huge fight, the trainer was only I think 37 or whatever he was at the time. I think he was 37. So putting that in perspective, I mean that’s pretty amazing in itself what he was able to accomplish at such a young age.

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Emanuel Steward 1944-2012

Emanuel Steward 1944-2012By James Slater: The tributes have been coming in thick and fast ever since the tragic, sad news broke of boxing guru Emanuel Steward’s untimely passing at the premature age of 68. Having so much more to give his sport, with so much further wisdom ready to be shared with his star pupils, Emanuel, we all thought, would be around for years and years to come.

The top scribes of boxing have each composed heartfelt tributes to Emanuel – a man they have all correctly written was a genius who had such an easygoing way about him he was able to make everyone who interacted with him feel like a friend – and what more can be said of the man who lived and breathed boxing?

I was fortunate enough to have been able to speak with the great Emanuel Steward on a couple of occasions, and here are some of the hugely interesting things he was kind enough to share with me: –

Emanuel on the best fighters he ever worked with:

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Emanuel Steward, The People’s Champion

Emanuel Steward, The People’s Champion(July 7, 1944 to October 25, 2012)

Written by Damian McCann

Legendary boxing icon, Emanuel Steward passed away peacefully with his loving family present last Thursday at the age of 68.

During his lifetime he amassed a vast wealth of experience and knowledge of the sweet science. He had many roles in the sport as a commentator, manager and promoter, but it will be as a trainer that he will be most remembered in the history of boxing.

As an amateur star he compiled a distinguished record of 97 fights with only 3 losses including winning the 1963 National Golden Gloves Bantamweight Championship in Chicago. He was inducted into both the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles and the International Hall of Fame in New York in 1996 in recognition of his achievements and contribution to boxing.

But he also leaves a legacy as one of the most respected and loved people in the sport; boxing fans around the world loved him and he loved them. No matter how busy or gruelling a schedule he had he always had time for a handshake, a photograph and a conversation.

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The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 1: An Irreplaceable Ambassador of Boxing

The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 1: An Irreplaceable Ambassador of Boxing

by Geoffrey Ciani – The sport of boxing lost a remarkable individual when Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward passed away yesterday at the age of 68. Steward of course was an outstanding world class trainer, a tremendous commentator and analyst, and an overall great ambassador for the sport that he loved. But with Emanuel, his total contributions to boxing were far greater than the sum of its parts. His passion and enthusiasm endeared fans, boxers, and fellow trainers alike. He possessed a very unique gift that enabled him to enhance the entire boxing experience for a whole community dedicated to the sweet science in varying capacities.

With his vast wealth of knowledge, experience, and a proven track record of success, Emanuel Steward was undoubtedly one of the greatest trainers the sport of boxing has ever seen. In fact, he trained and/or managed 41 world champions during his illustrious career, and this included two of the longest reigning heavyweight champions in history: Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko. His long celebrated success was largely the result of his incredible boxing mind. Steward was simply masterful when it came to developing a sound fight plan that would give his boxers their best chance at victory. He also had an exceptional ability when it came to fine-tuning the existing strengths of a given fighter. This was important. Emanuel never tried to implement a complete stylistic overhaul. Instead he worked with what he had in front of him and always stressed the importance of fundamental basics, which included good balance and working behind a solid jab. This was essential to his philosophical outlook as a trainer.

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Where does Juan Manuel Marquez rank in the history of Mexican boxing?

Where does Juan Manuel Marquez rank in the history of Mexican boxing?By Emilio Camacho, Esq. Mexico has an impressive imprint in boxing history. The current most dominant Mexican boxer is Juan Manuel Marquez. Several of you have emailed me asking where does Marquez stand in history.

Experts will argue that Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and Salvador Sanchez rank above Marquez. This is not hard to justify. In addition, I believe that Ricardo “Finito” Lopez should be ranked above Marquez. Lopez was the most dominant force in Mexican boxing and retired undefeated. However, Chavez and Sanchez arguably had the better opposition.

What is important to think about is not how Marquez ranks in all-time Mexican boxing history but rather how he ranks in his own era. This is because there are two other fighters, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, who dominated that era for a long time, and actually overshadowed Marquez for many years while all three had active boxing careers. This is significant because it is rare to have great talent at the same time, though it has certainly happened before (Ali, Frazier, Foreman as well as Leonard, Duran, and Hagler are some examples).

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Arturo “Thunder” Gatti: Hall Of Fame-Worthy Or Not!?

Arturo “Thunder” Gatti: Hall Of Fame-Worthy Or Not!?By James Slater: Sadly, as we all know, Arturo “Thunder” Gatti passed away in July of 2009 (with still no definitive answer as to what happened that tragic day in Brazil), but had he lived, Gatti would soon be very interested in seeing whether or not the boxing writers of the day deem him worthy of being enshrined in The Hall of Fame in Canastota.

Gatti, who retired with a 40-9(31) ledger, is on the 2013 inductions ballot; leaving it to today’s influential and highly respected experts to either vote him in or decline to do so. One such expert, ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, has said it will be a tough call indeed. For while Gatti lost nine times, being stopped on 5 occasions, “The Human Highlight Real” lit up the sport like few other pugilists (the nickname really says it all). Some argue how Gatti is THE most exciting warrior of modern times, if not in all of boxing!

Sure, that’s some praise, but maybe Gatti is deserving of it. Maybe Gatti is also deserving of being voted into IBHOF hands down. And it sure will be tough for anyone who ever saw Gatti thrill to forget the thrills this amazing warrior with a ton of heart and limitless bite-down courage and guts provided his sport with.

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Reggie Johnson Interview

Reggie Johnson InterviewBy Michael R. Cumberbatch — Welcome to the inaugural edition of “Catching up With” — a feature series focusing on former champions. In this edition, I had the privilege to talk to Reggie Johnson, a former three time champion who fought at the middleweight and light-heavy weight divisions. I found Reggie to be quite engaging, extremely intelligent, and passionate about boxing and life.

MRC: Reggie, earlier this year you talked about fighting again. At age 46 is that still a possibility?

RJ: First Michael, let me thank you for this interview and platform to be heard. My return to the ring is in progress and in early 2013 I will announce when, where, and who I will be fighting.

MRC: You’ve also talked about the Boxing Hall of Fame. If you were given the opportunity to state your case for becoming a member, what would you say?

RJ: I was blessed to visit the IBHOF in 2005, 2006, and this year, 2012. If any man is not inspired by that experience as a fighter, trainer, manager, promoter, etc… to take their chosen profession higher, they are working in the wrong field. I read a blog years ago that featured me …… titled “Reggie Johnson wants to be in the Hall of Fame.”

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