Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bert Sugar: A Friend To The Sweet Science

The boxing historian Bert Sugar passed away this week.  A writer, publisher and sports commentator, Mr. Sugar was a fixture on ESPN, sports television and documentaries.  When I first saw him years ago, I didn’t like him very much.  He seemed more interested in playing the vintage newspaper man character than providing good information.  But I grew to like and respect him as it became clear that he knew a lot more than his younger colleagues.  Even if I didn’t always agree with his analysis, he brought integrity, humor and insight to my favorite sport.  In 2007, I was a guest at The Cotto-Mosley fight at Madison Square Garden.  I sat in the press section with my friend, Richard O’Brien, and seated in front of us was Mr. Sugar.  Mr. Sugar didn’t say much during the fights, but when the main event was over, he turned around and we spoke briefly, even sharing a joke.  I watched him make the social rounds, converse with friends, including Lennox Lewis, whom Bert was lecturing to long enough for me to snap a photo.  However, the moment I remember most is the image I captured here.  During the National Anthem, while the crowd stood at attention, Mr. Sugar didn’t remove his hat.  Instead, in a very personal gesture, he bowed his head, and ever so slightly, lifted his fedora.

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