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IMG 5666You know who they are. Leonard, Lewis, Hearns, in the front row at the Emanuel Steward memorial on Nov. 13, 2012, in detroit. (Teddy Blackburn)

Ace photog Teddy Blackburn went the extra mile, quite literally, and drove from his place in the Bronx to Detroit, to pay homage to Emanuel Steward on Tuesday. Blackburn drove 1,280 miles, and told TSS that “every mile marker was worth it” to see the memorial service for the Kronk sage, who died on October 25.

Boxing gets something of a bad rap oftentimes, with people making the too-easy assertion that the sport is filled with more dirtbags and cons than Washington. I call BS; the sport is filled with guys like Blackburn, who adore the sport, and respect the combatants, and want nothing but the best for both. You might recall he won the Boxing Writers Association Walker Award, for long and meritorious service, in 2005, and the Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award, in 2001.

Blackburn crossed paths with Steward in 1977, and immediately looked up to him as a father figure. Read more about his take on Manny here.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan native put together a book, “In the Other Corner: A Tribute To Gerald McClellan,” in homage to the fighter who suffered brain damage in a Feb. 25, 1995 fight with Nigel Benn. That affair left ex middleweight champ McClellan, who was trained by Steward, diminished, so to do his part, Blackburn published the superb volume. He donated every cent of the proceeds to the fighter, who now lives in Illinois, and relies on caregivers to get through the day.

Blackburn was best buds with our man George Kimball, and the shooter and I periodically chat about the one-of-kind scribe, and note that there will not be another like him. Truth told, there aren’t that many like Blackburn; even though, as I said, the sport is filled with good guys, Blackburn, with that soft, empathic side to him, stands out among them.

That McClellan book is sold out, by the way, so for the holidays, I will be sending a little something his way, for McClellan. Please join me. Write a check and send it to: Gerald McClellan Trust c/o Teddy Blackburn, 2985 Botanical Square, Apt. # 6E, The Bronx, N.Y.10458

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