Emanuel Steward; The man, The Legacy, The Life

Emanuel Steward; The man, The Legacy, The Life
By Robert Brown, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 30, 2012) Doghouse Boxing

Emanuel Steward
Click now to listen to the latest Edition of "On The Ropes" #180 with host Jenna Jay in its entirety! This episode features the late / great Emanuel Steward as well as new interviews with Ricky Hatton, Tyson Fury and Paulie Malignaggi. Press Play on the green icon above and enjoy! (Allow 10 to 15 seconds to buffer.)
In this article I will be discussing the impact Emanuel Steward made on the boxing world, both as a successful trainer of multiple world champions, HBO broadcasting analyst and as a man.

Unlike the majority of tribute articles where the persons career gets rolled out like a spread sheet and the writer says to you "there you go look how successful this person was", Emanuel Stewards life reached much deeper and had much more purpose than what he achieved in his boxing life. I wish to explore the values he stood for as a man and why he and other inspirational figures like him have had a profound effect on my life.

Despite turning the Kronk Gym in Detroit into one of the most successful and recognized stables in the world for producing champions, a main his focus of his was getting under privileged kids off the streets, getting them into the boxing gym and giving them some direction in life, which up until his dying day remained on of his proudest achievements.

For me personally I have been writing on the sport of boxing for around 2 ½ years now and Emanuel Steward was one of my biggest inspirations for getting involved with the sport on a direct level. I remember before I started writing I came across Jenna Jay’s "On The Ropes" boxing program in which Steward was a lead guest and from memory I heard Jenna ask a question about the Klitschko brothers which was something like “how do you feel about criticism the Klitschko brothers are facing about the level of opposition and are there legacy’s being damaged as a result?” . Most trainers would try and inflate the level of opposition of their fighters and offer excuses for the criticism, not Steward, he basically said to Jenna “well there isn’t that much opposition out there and the only way they can enhance there legacy’s is to keep piling up defenses and hopefully that challenge comes at some point”.

To me that was Emanuel Steward, frank and honest.

He was also a great motivator which was demonstrated most clearly in the Wladimir Klitscko fight against Eddie Chambers. When Klitshko was looking terrible for the majority of the fight and Steward was almost verbally assaulting his fighter impressing upon him that he didn’t want the chance of a controversial decision going against his fighter.  To those words, Klitschko responded by knocking out Chambers in the 12th round. Of course a famous example was the Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson showdown, in which Steward could see after about 3 or 4 rounds that Tyson had given up and had basically lost the will to win, but Steward knew Tyson was a dangerous puncher and could land that hail Mary punch at any time. This is when you see the famous exchange between Steward and Lennox in the corner, with Steward aggressively berating his fighter by beating him in the chest and saying “you’ve got a dead man in front of you and your standing here doing this, just let that shit go, if you don’t step it up, you’re going to get caught with some crazy shit, step it up the man is finished”.  History now recalls that Lennox knocked Tyson out in the 8th round. That fight will always be a lasting memory for me, but believe it or not, for me this is not the most memorable corner work ever done by Steward, for me it was the rematch in 1989 between Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.  A fight in which a lot of boxing insiders thought that Thomas Hearns was finished and most people thought he had no chance against Leonard. Just like the first fight in 1981, Hearns dominated the first 5 rounds and was rocked severely in the 11th and 12th rounds. The fight looked like it was heading for a repeat of 1981 but Hearns with his extreme courage was able to hang onto a draw, which in my opinion was a disgraceful decision because how a fighter can win the first 5 rounds easy plus get a knockdown in round 3 and 11 and lose the fight is beyond me.... but that discussion is for another day.

Hearns' career was not over and he went on to win more titles in higher weight classes which shows Stewards capacity to rebuild careers, which he also did with Lennox Lewis after his loss to Oliver McCall. Ironically Steward was in McCall’s corner in the first fight and if that legacy wasn’t enough he rebuilt Wladimir Klitschko’s career after being knocked out by Corrie Sanders.

Finally the most important and understated part of Steward’s make up was loyalty, which he demonstrated in recent times when Miguel Cotto asked him to break ties with Andy Lee and give full commitment to him in his preparations for fighting Antonio Margarito. Steward said “I can’t do that, I have other fighters, I can’t just leave them”. That is a man of dignity and respect, because he would have got more money with Cotto but he chose to be loyal to his other fighters. A situation of a similar nature happened in my own life in which a friend and colleague Jenna Jay was thrown out of East Side Boxing because of back stabbing from a former co-host who happened to be a friend of mine at the time. I had to make a decision do I stay and increase my position of power with that web site or do I stand by my principles and leave. I chose to leave and I am very happy at DogHouse Boxing. After those unfortunate events Jenna and my friend Stephanie Belle encouraged me to keep writing and I know Steward wouldn’t have quit and I took a page from his book, because I know Steward would have stayed loyal to his friends.

As well as paying tribute to a great boxing legend I wanted to pay tribute to two friends of mine while they are still alive to hear it and those friends are Jenna Jay and Stephanie Belle.

Before I go, I just want to tell you something, fill the pages of your glorious life... for the pages will very quickly turn and when the great novel of your life is closed, make sure you live by these three words: honor, dignity and respect.  Three words which is what Emanuel lived by and what my two friends Jenna and Stephanie live by.

Thank you and God bless Emanuel Steward…

E-mail questions and comments to Robert at: robbybrown82@hotmail.com


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