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Remembering Bert Sugar (1936-2012)

Bert Sugar
Boxing Author and Historian Bert Sugar (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO)

Over the last 15 years that I have hosted Sportstalk, few guests have made our “A” list. Bert Sugar was not only a charter member of that group, but he was one of my favorite people in all of sports. I probably interviewed Sugar 15-20 times since I first met him in 1998. His trademark fedora, cigar, and outspoken opinions made him one of the best commentators in all of boxing. But Bert did not limit his expertise to just the Sweet Science. He was a best selling author, who loved baseball as much as anybody. Sugar was a sports historian, and someone who was always available for a radio interview in El Paso. Here is a link to an interview we had with Bert last September to discuss Floyd Mayweather’s controversial win over Victor Ortiz. More than anything, he was a genuine great guy who always took an interest in my radio career.

Whenever Bert released a new book, he always made sure I received a signed advance copy. He worked with HBO over the last 10 years and sent me a handwritten letter two years ago thanking our radio station for our relationship with them. He was one of the best storytellers of all time, and usually commanded a large crowd at the hotel bar while sipping on a scotch and reminiscing. Sugar loved to talk about how he put his kids through college from the “rummage sale” he acquired for pennies from the New York Yankees during the Yankee Stadium renovation in 1973. He attended every big prize fight over the last six decades, and forged an unbelievable friendship with legendary trainer Angelo Dundee. Fighters loved Sugar, including Mike Tyson, who called Sugar to find out more about Dundee when he passed away earlier this year.

Sugar loved the spotlight and never disappointed. His death is a huge loss not just for boxing, but for the entire sports world. He was a  throwback to the early days of sports journalism and commentators and there will never be another like him. Hey Bert, have a drink for me in heaven.

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