Manny Steward Was Something Special

2-8-06 Emanuel Steward 01Emanuel Steward, as was the case with fellow corner legend Angelo Dundee, was among the most generous and giving of boxing figures. He provided his time and expertise to any boxing writer who sought to tap into his deep reservoir of expertise, even those whose professional duties sometimes called for them to take publicly take adversarial positions when it came to reporting on Manny's fighters.

Manny understood that we had a job to do, just as he did, and that today's momentary friction could and should take a backseat to the friendship of yesterday and tomorrow. Besides, Manny liked us nearly as much as we liked him. He told us what he truly thought, and he did that, too, as a color commentator, which is why the viewing public also held him in high esteem.

Boxing — and life in general — is not so well-stocked with good guys that we can afford to lose anyone as genuine and as naturally ebullient as the impresario of Detroit's famed Kronk Gym. It wasn't that Manny lacked ego — he had one, to be sure — but being confident in your own abilities isn't the same as being, well, obnoxious about it.

Manny didn't wear his awareness of his talents on his sleeve, maybe because he didn't have to. He preferred to be who and what he really was, a nice guy whose humanity and love of boxing helped him evolve into something special.

Like Angelo Dundee and Bert Sugar, who in the recent past preceded him on the other side of the great divide, he left a legacy of smiles and warm memories. Would that each of us can say the same when our time comes.

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