Rest In Peace, Corrie Sanders

corrie sanders 2 20100115 1345647449Corrie Sanders provided fight fans with one of the more memorable moments in the heavyweight division last decade, when on March 8, 2003, the South African lefty slugger took it to favorite Wladimir Klitschko, knocked the heir-to-the-throne to the mat four times and scored a stoppage victory in round two.

We will always have that memory to remember Sanders by; but sadly, the life of the man born Cornelius Johannes Sanders was cut short when he was shot and killed during a robbery in Pretoria, South Africa.

Sanders, age 46, was celebrating early Sunday the 21st birthday of his brother's son at a restaurant when three robbers burst in. There was gunfire, and Sanders was hit in the hand and abdomen. When shots rang out, the 6-4 fighter best known for his offensive-mindedness dove in front of his daughter to protect her.

One report said that an operation was performed on the stomach wound in a hospital, to no avail.

The boxer nicknamed “The Sniper” was 38 when he took on the Klitschko challenge. He was supposed to be a steppingstone, a respectable name added to the younger Klitschko brother's resume. “I'm feeling very good,” the South African said before the bout. “I've trained really hard and am feeling confident. Klitschko is a big name and a big guy the world takes note of. Obviously he's the favourite to win. I don't care what happens in the fight as long as I beat him.”

Sanders' aggressiveness and above-average hand speed shocked the world, if not him and his crew. A short, hard left with 33 to go in the first buzzed the 26-year-old Klitschko badly, and he never truly recovered.

Sanders' next fight was against big brother Vitali, and this time, Sanders, ten pounds heavier and a year older, didn't have the element of surprise going for him. Vitali stopped the South Africa in round eight, in Los Angeles.

The talented lefty, who often found himself being avoided, as a low reward-high risk sort of foe, had fights with Lennox Lewis, David Tua, Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones fall through; he fought four more times after the Vitali loss, and called it a day in 2008.

Sanders was almost as good at golf as he was at boxing. In a 2003 interview, he said, “They have what's called a Celebrity Tour in America (tennis star turned golf pro Ivan Lendl is one of the regulars) and I may have a crack at that. But also at the back of my mind is the Senior Tour once I turn 50, although that's a long way down the road still.”

It could be argued that Sanders didn't capitalize on that Wladimir win, and maximize the momentum gained in Hanover, Germany, but perhaps it's better to synopsize his ring arc thusly: if the Wladimir KO was his claim to fame, Corrie Sanders was a heck of a one-hit wonder.

Comment on this article


-the Roast :

Wow, Crazy outcome for the life of Corrie Sanders, as a father of two daughters I would have done the same thing to protect my girls. Corrie died a hero. A damn shame it had to end this way. R.I.P. Corrie Sanders.

-Radam G :

Whaddup, Sniper? Man, I'm missin' ya, alreadeee! But I ain't gon' cry too much. 'Cause ya kno' I'ma gonna see ya at da crossroad. And we gonna get our lefty partee on! Condolence to all his love ones and "The Sniper's" Fam. Holla!

-ali :

Unbelievable! The courage he showed in the ring doesn't compare to what he showed outside the ring. My condolences to his family and to those responsible I hope a life sentence awaits you.

-mortcola :

Underrated fighter, righteous and brave guy. RIP, Corrie.

-gibola :

Saw him fight a ten rounder on a Lewis undercard (McCall I think) in London where he got dropped and appeared unmotivated. However, when in shape and ready to rumble Sanders was an excellent fighter. Great handspeed and power, allied to the southpaw stance, at the top of his game he was danger to anyone (particularly in the first few rounds). I recall he even gave Vitali problems before getting overpowered. RIP.

-dino da vinci :

A true Champion in life. RIP Corrie.

-brownsugar :

A true Beast in the ring... and a Real Hero outside of it.

-DaveB :

Damn shame. Why?

-dino da vinci :

Damn shame. Why?
Because we now live in world full of cowards and crumbs. But this is just a guess.

-ultimoshogun :

A hero in real life indeed, and fun to watch in the ring. My buddy and I were saying WTF when he destroyed Wlad that night. We had our beers expecting to watch Wlad KO this guy who didn't look like a fighter...then Sanders let his hands go. His fight with big bro Vitali was brutal after a few rounds, Sanders' valor was unquestionable. I remember at one point, I have no idea how Sanders was still standing, but he had just ate a huge right and swung back, at which point Lampley said " And Sanders swings back like a drunken sailor!!" That gave me a good laugh....RIP Corrie.