How do you measure a man? It’s a question you don’t ponder until your own mortality becomes an issue. Is it in his personal accomplishments, of trophies that have been taken, that we measure his worth in life? Or is it in the legacy he leaves behind, of children or structures he’s created? There’s something telling about the way we measure another human being upon their departure from the world of the living. In a world where we’ve become instantly critical for all the wrong reasons a person’s death gets amplified all that much more when they leave this world.
Thus the death of Emmanuel Steward hit the boxing world unexpectedly. Dying from complications after surgery, his death hit the boxing world hard. One of the most respected boxing trainers of his era, and perhaps all time, Steward’s list of first rate fighters and world champions that were molded at his hands is a who’s who of the boxing world. Wladimir Klitschko, Marvin Hagler, Miguel Cotto, Lennox Lewis, Thomas Hearns and Michael Moorer are a handful of the fighters who spent time with Steward.
To measure Steward as a trainer is to point to fighters and titles. But to really measure Steward one only needs to look at the people directly touched by him to see his legacy.
“It is not often that a person in any line of work gets a chance to work with a legend, well I was privileged enough to work with one for almost a decade. I will miss our time together. The long talks about boxing, the world, and life itself. Most of all I will miss our friendship.” — Wladimir Klitschko
“It’s a terrible shame that his life was cut short. Men like Emanuel Steward are irreplaceable.” – David Dinkins, Jr.
“This has been a very tragic year for the boxing world, but today we’ve truly lost one of it’s crown jewels. Manny was giving, selfless, compassionate and stern. He always gave back to the community and never forgot where he came from. He was an institution unto himself and I’m proud to have had him in my corner for so many years.” – Lennox Lewis
“I learned a lot from him during our professional relationship and I will be forever grateful for his help during that time.” – Oscar de la Hoya
“Emanuel Steward always stood for the best that boxing could offer. He will be missed by all of us.” – Bob Arum
“There are no adequate words to describe the enormous degree of sadness and loss we feel at HBO Sports with the tragic passing of Manny Steward. For more than a decade, Manny was a respected colleague who taught us so much not only about the sweet science but also about friendship and loyalty. His energy, enthusiasm and bright smile were a constant presence. Ten bells do not seem enough to mourn his passing. His contributions to the sport and to HBO will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”–Ken Hershman, President, HBO Sports
The international Boxing Hall of Fame flew its flags at half staff today for Emanuel Steward. If we were going to measure Steward as a man one only needs to point out that the boxing world, oftentimes fractured beyond repair, could heal itself for one moment in mourning.