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HAMBURG – Many tributes have come, with more on the way, for the late Emanuel Steward in the days leading up to Wladimir Klitschko's heavyweight championship defense against Mariusz Wach.
No doubt, there will be another, probably the most high tech and expensive of the bunch; at Hamburg's 02 Arena.
Unless Wach captures unlikely lightning in a belting bottle of local St.Pauli on Saturday night, the biggest moment of his career will be over pretty quickly.
If Klitschko insists he will pay tribute to Steward with a strong performance, then I would lean heavilly toward the over / under betting line of approximately 6 1/2 rounds being way too long.
Such was Steward's stature, in both his own achievement and the esteem in which he was held by others; that the fight has been less of the story than Steward's passing and what his absence means to us all.
As well it should be. In the terms of his professiion, Emanuel's life was a unanimous shutout victory, of decency over much of the caca in this boxing world of ours.
You can count on a strong performance from Klitschko, but that isn't the best way to honor Steward.
Steward's final, ultimate tribute should come at his memorial service in Detroit, just a few days after Klitschko -Wach and after many tears since Emanuel's passing.
It was inspiring to hear Tommy Hearns' touching reflections immediately after Steward's death was announced, and Hearns' plea for the Kronk tradition to continue.
If there's anyone who can replace Steward as a worthy figurehead, it's Hearns.
Kronk must go on, only with one change.
Steward's adopted baby should be renamed the Kronk / Steward Gym.
Seven more letters.
Any declaration that Steward was, by and large, soley responsible for the Kronk's success is unfair. Steward never fought under that banner and he knew the young men who took the punches deserved significant credit. Accomplishments were shared. Family.
Emanuel was the rumbling roots of the family tree.
Steward's memorial service should be quite a gathering, a bittersweet wake for one of the sport's most beloved participants ever.
The guest list will likely include enough great fighters to fill an entire wing of Canastota's International Hall of Fame.
It will also be the perfect time to pass the hat, spit bucket, whatever container, for donation.
Everyone who remembers a personal kindness from Steward should make a donation.
Every millionaire in attendance should make a substantial donation.
Somebody like Klitschko could get the ball rolling, simply by offering a new Kronk foundation the same amount of Euros as Steward would have made for the Wach fight. New trainer Jonathan Banks might consider kicking in a piece, too.
Since I'm being so free with people's money, of course I'd make a donation myself not much, but it would probably amount to relatively more of a change in my week's activities than it would for many in Steward's stable.
A few boxing celebrity deaths in recent years produced multiple obituaries which omitted their sometimes glaring faults, out of respect for the dead. Unless I'm completely hoodwinked, that's not the case with Emanuel, so it shouldn't be hard gathering support from the Kronk community.
I don't know whether or not Mr. Steward would have supported name change of his beloved enterprise.
I do believe he would recognize the magnitude of the rechristening as a loving tribute, and Emanuel was always proud of his accomplishments.
Every initial donation over fifty dollars gets a new Kronk /Steward team t-shirt. Get the silkscreens rolling.
Meanwhile, there's a Euro-brawl in town tonight (Klitschko KO 3 or 4), dedicated to a unique, old-school trainer and wonderful guy.
A guy who deserves to have a wonderful old school gym named after him.