“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.