It stung the boxing community when old sage Angelo Dundee died. But we knew he had lived as full a life as could be lived, and left behind no regrets. It hurt in a different way when Emanuel Steward left us, because who really knew that he was in his late 60s, and he was so full of life and that trademark good humor right before he deteriorated. The pain the boxing world feels is today of a different variety, because today Omar Henry, just 25 years old, left us.
The Chicago-born boxer's record forever stays undefeated, at 12-0, with 10 knockouts. But he couldn't fight off cancer, which invaded his body hard and fast, and removed him from his family and friends on February 1st, two months after he was diagnosed.
A four-time Texas Golden Gloves champ, he turned pro in 2008, and Henry hooked on with Top Rank, and then with Don King. Of Puerto Rican descent, Henry tried to fight like Miguel Cotto and in fact got work as a sparring partner with Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Antonio Margarito. Fighting out of Oakland, CA, his future was promising, and he looked forward to meeting 20-0 Juan Cabrera on Nov. 16…until he received shocking news–that he had cancer of the pancreas. He was informed mid November.
Right away, he shared his news and his fears annd his strength with his followers and fans. “I thank God for everything he has blessed me with so far in my life, it's been a fun ride,” he Tweeted on Nov. 14. “I wish for many more if it's my destiny.”
He had surgeries to get at the mass, and then started chemotherapy on Dec. 28, but the cancer was too aggressive.
How is this for poignant? On January 9, Henry Tweeted: “I got exactly less than 1 month left until my 26th birthday February 8. Hopefully I live to see it.”
Here's some video of Henry in action. That man could rip a hook to the body, for sure.
I'm guessing many fight fans will be hugging their kids a little harder, giving their moms and dads a call on the phone, and appreciating what they have today.
Rest in peace, Omar, and TSS sends condolences to all of his family and friends during this trying time.