Multiple reports trickled out today had proclaiming the death of the famed trainer only to recant as conflicting news came out as the day progressed. Steward's executive assistant Victoria Kirton confirmed Steward had passed to the Associated Press Thursday afternoon. News of Steward’s illness had swirled throughout boxing, though few had any idea or updates on how grave a battle he was indeed fighting.
Many from my generation will remember Steward for his time on HBO as a boxing analyst, working many high profile fights along the way. You don’t just become an expert analyst on HBO though, Steward’s legacy was much more than calling fights. Steward’s Kronk Gym served as home to numerous boxers, famous and unknown alike, in the heart of Detroit. Steward helped mold the careers of World Champions Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis, and doubled as on HBO analyst and current trainer to Heavyweight ChampionWladimir Klitschko. Other champions he trained at one time or another included Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
His training career lasted so long that he not only trained Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., he trained Andy Lee in preparation for his 2012 bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Yes, Steward trained the father of an eventual opponent.
Before he made others into champions, he was one himself. Steward compiled a 94-3 record as an amateur fighter and won the 1963 National Golden Gloves title.
My favorite memory of Emanuel Steward came during the Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson fight in which Steward was cornering Lewis. Lewis was clearly in control of the fight and Steward was pleading with him to end the fight, knowing Tyson always had a punchers chance in any given fight. “Get this _______ guy out of here man! You’re gonna get caught with some crazy ____! Step it up, the man is finished. You got a dead man in front of you!” exclaimed Steward between the 4th and 5th rounds, all while pounding and thudding on Lewis’ chest. Heeding his trainers advice, Lewis would do exactly that and end the fight with an 8th round knockout.
Stewards jovial voice and demeanor will be missed on Saturday nights by many. RIP Manny. Rest In Punches.