Ten-Count for Emanuel Steward

By Robert Ecksel on October 25, 2012
Ten-Count for Emanuel Steward
One of the last of the old-school trainers is gone, and boxing weeps tears of remembrance.


“The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.“—Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The great Emanuel Steward is gone. The Hall of Fame trainer and HBO boxing analyst has succumbed to the cancer he was fighting as he taught countless others to fight, to the very end.

Steward was born on July 7, 1944 in Bottom Creek, West Virginia. Like many African Americans born in the south, he moved with his mother to Detroit in search of opportunity.

As a teenager he frequented the Brewster Recreation Center, where the legendary Joe Louis and Eddie Futch trained. Inspired by their example, Steward fought as an amateur and compiled a 94-3 record. He won the National Golden Gloves as a bantamweight in 1963.

As good a fighter as he was, his true calling was as a trainer, and in 1971 he became a part-time coach at the Kronk Gym.

The depth of his knowledge and ease at communication drew aspiring young boxers to learn from a master.

Hilmer Kenty became Steward’s first world champion by knocking out lightweight champion Ernesto España in 1980. But his greatest creation was Thomas Hearns, the skinny kid who went from being from a light-hitting boxer into a knockout artist supreme.

Some of the others who were graced by having Emanuel in their corner are Dennis Andries, Wilfred Benítez, Julio César Chávez, Kermit Cintron, Miguel Cotto. Oscar De La Hoya, Naseem Hamed, Evander Holyfield, John David Jackson, Wladimir Klitschko, Lennox Lewis, Michael Moorer, Mike McCallum, Gerald McClellan, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Graciano Rocchigiani, Jermain Taylor, and Yuriorkis Gamboa.

One of the last of the old-school trainers has left us, and Planet Boxing weeps at what is gone forever.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. joaquin 06:07am, 10/26/2012

    its so sad to see a great person go. i didn’t know him personally, but he looked like a great person to be around.  I hope that you made Jesus your personal and only Savior. if you did, i will see you again in our eternal home!!

  2. Linda Stokes and family 10:25pm, 10/25/2012

    The family of former Kronx Boxer Donald ‘Tiger’ Stokes sending our condolences. Many beautiful memories of Emanuel, he was certainly a beautiful soul!

  3. andrew 04:08pm, 10/25/2012

    rip mr.steward…i didn’t know until today, we shared a birthday july 7th/i’ll think of you on it

  4. the thrseher 02:15pm, 10/25/2012

    Holy moly

  5. Pete The Sneak 10:36am, 10/25/2012

    Lets hope against hope that the below is accurate. Definitely Prayers: & Peace:

    The family of Emanuel Steward, the Godfather of Detroit boxing, has asked for prayers and comfort as the 68-year-old boxing icon recuperates from surgery.

    “At this point, I’m asking EVERYBODY to LEAVE US ALONE so that we can comfort and communicate with Emanuel,” Steward’s sister Diane Steward-Jones emailed to the Free Press today. “His surgical team just dropped by and scoffed at the reports he is dead.”

    Citing friends of Steward, the Free Press incorrectly reported earlier today that Steward was dead. The Free Press regrets the error, and we apologize to the Steward family.

    Steward nurtured and guided the likes of Thomas Hearns, Hilmer Kenty and Milton McCrory to world titles in the 1980s at the Kronk Gym on McGraw in Detroit. He has been hospitalized since September and underwent surgery for what his sister called diverticulitis, a stomach disorder.

    A prayer vigil was held Sept. 23 in Walled Lake, leading those concerned to believe the illness may be more serious.

    Contact Mike Brudenell: 313-222-2115 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow him on Twitter @mikebrudenell.

  6. NYIrish 09:53am, 10/25/2012

    Detroit Free Press has apologized re death announcement minutes ago. Family states he is still with us. Prayers.

  7. Juicy Peach 09:45am, 10/25/2012

    Truly saddened to hear Manny Stewart has passed away. Rest In Peace Manny! I know Klitschko will miss you greatly. May God be with your family and friends.

  8. NYIrish 09:35am, 10/25/2012

    I am truly saddened. Manny was a great trainer and every fan knows that. We will also miss his truthful commentary. There are many kids out there we have never heard of whose lives have been enriched by his power of example and common sense advice. A true gentleman. Rest in peace.

  9. the thresher 09:16am, 10/25/2012

    First Frankie Ross Toscano and now Manny. It’s a bad week for boxing. It’s makes one take pause.

    Manny used a platform of “power” to do good work. That’s a rare thing. And he did it with dignity and respect. How rare, how wonderful is that?

  10. the thresher 08:53am, 10/25/2012

    Just terrible news. He was so young and had so much more to give. May the Lord watch over him.

  11. Pete The Sneak 08:21am, 10/25/2012

    Man O’ Man. Sudden and tragic. Knew he was ill, but didn’t know it was to that extent. Truly a sad day for Boxing and sports in general. This one hurts. Rest In Peace Manny. Great Trainer, but more importantly, a great human being and person. Peace be with you.

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