Monday, October 29, 2012

IN MEMORY OF: Emanuel Steward (July 7, 1944 – October 25, 2012)

RIP Emanuel Steward

Here are 3 vidclips and a NY Times article follows:


Emanuel Steward Dies at 68; Trainer of Boxing Champions

Emanuel Steward, one of the most eminent boxing trainers of the modern era, whose stable of fighters included Lennox Lewis, Tommy Hearns, Evander Holyfield and Wladimir Klitschko, died on Thursday in Chicago. He was 68. 

His companion, Anita Ruiz, confirmed the death, saying only that Steward had been hospitalized in Chicago for several weeks. 

A coal miner’s son from West Virginia, Steward was known in particular for his long association with the Kronk Gym in Detroit. A basement boxing gym in a down-at-the-heels neighborhood, it became famous for the string of marquee names it produced under his supervision. 

Steward, who eventually owned the gym, trained more than 30 world champions there and elsewhere, among them Julio César Chávez, a six-time world champion in three different weight classes; Oscar De La Hoya, who won 10 world titles in six classes; the former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks; and, most recently, Klitschko, the reigning heavyweight champion. 

Among Steward’s crowning achievements as a trainer were Holyfield’s upset of Riddick Bowe to regain the world heavyweight title in 1993 and Lewis’s eighth-round knockout of Mike Tyson in 2002 for the heavyweight crown. 

Steward was also a longtime commentator for HBO Sports. 

A genial, fatherly presence in a sport not known for soft speech, Steward had an eye for up-and-coming fighters and a Balanchinian skill at molding movement. 

“I keep things simple, and I give everybody their own individuality,” Steward told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis in 2007. “You never see all my fighters fight the same way. I find the best punches and movements that are the most natural for the coordination of their body types.” 

Steward was by his own account as interested in what made a fighter tick outside the ring as in it. He typically visited boxers in their homes or took them to live in his. If he determined that they were not eating well enough, he cooked for them. 

He even tried to confer a sartorial advantage on his fighters. When Lewis first came to him, one of the changes Steward made immediately was to jettison the black shoes he wore in the ring. 

“You can’t feel quick in black shoes,” Steward told The Orange County Register in 2000. 

Emanuel Steward was born on July 7, 1944, in Bottom Creek, W. Va., and began boxing at 8 after receiving a pair of Jack Dempsey gloves for Christmas. When he was about 11, his parents divorced, and he moved with his mother and sisters to Detroit. 

Fighting as a bantamweight, Steward compiled a 94-3 record as an amateur boxer, winning the national Golden Gloves championship in 1963. He was considered a contender for the 1964 Olympic team, but, needing to support his family, he left boxing and became an electrician for Detroit Edison. 

Then, in the early 1970s, Steward’s teenage half-brother, James, came from West Virginia to live with him. James wanted to box, and the two of them found their way to Kronk, where James became Emanuel’s first disciple. 

Soon other fighters were coming to the gym to train with Steward, and before long he was driving the Kronk team to bouts around the country. Those were lean years: Steward once had to sell his watch to buy gasoline. 

His illustrious stable — the trainer gets a percentage of the fighter’s purse — would eventually make him wealthy. Over time, Steward owned Rolls-Royces, a Lincoln and a Jaguar. (In 1998, he was obliged to pay the Internal Revenue Service more than $1 million in back taxes, penalties and interest.) 

Steward’s marriage to Marie Steele ended in divorce. Besides Ruiz, the executive director of the Kronk Gym Foundation, his survivors include two daughters, Sylvette Steward and Sylvia Steward; and two sisters, Diane Steward-Jones and Laverne Steward. 

The Kronk Gym closed in 2006; Steward continued training fighters elsewhere in Detroit. 

Steward, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996, appears to have retained his eye for talent to the end. As Steward-Jones told The Detroit Free Press on Thursday, he spent much of his recent hospital stay trying to sign the male nurses he encountered there to fight for him. 



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