The boxing world lost a legend when Bert Sugar passed away at the age of 75. Here at HBO.com, we lost a valued contributor and friend. Bert was the ultimate old-school writer. He'd hammer out copy on the typewriter in his cluttered den and then fax it to us on stationery with his unmistakable visage chomping a cigar in the letterhead. Once, when a writer at a fight showed him the Twitter hashtag #ThingsBertSugarSays, Bert enjoyed it so much that he asked someone to print it out for him, and then he sent it to us in the mail. His mind was our institutional boxing memory; he could take a current fight and compare its circumstances to a dozen others from a century of boxing. More importantly, Bert was someone who never carried himself above anyone, and he would take the time to talk to – or fax – any aspiring boxing writer or fan who reached out to him. He will be missed.
Bert's storied career extends very far beyond HBO.com, but here are some of the pieces we've had the privilege of working on with him over the past several years:
The Sweet Science with Bert Sugar: Mayweather vs. Ortiz
Last year, Bert wondered whether this lay-off would show us "an old Floyd, or an older Floyd."
Bert recalls one of the game's biggest fights:
"The sweltering heat in the arena and Frazier's relentless pressure and thunderous hooks to the body and head were showing an effect on the 33-year-old champion. At this point, Ali was neither floating nor stinging but merely surviving, as bereft of motion as a rail without wind."
"In the thirteenth, Ali demonstrated his ability to finish a hurt foe. A solid left seemed to freeze Frazier in his place, then a right hand staggered him. Frazer did a funny three-step in retreat to keep from failing. But with Frazier's sight and stamina now obviously limited the outcome no longer seemed in doubt."
The Sweet Science with Bert Sugar: Pacquiao vs. Cotto
Bert and Kieran take a moment from the poker tables to talk Manny Pacquiao. Bert says, "His one punch knockout of Ricky Hatton was the most devastating I've seen since Marciano knocked out Walcott in 1952."
Bert was struck by the event's grandeur, even while he was disappointed in the actual fight action:
"With an enormous crowd of 51,000 acting like youngsters suffering from a severe case of green-apple colic, hollering and screaming every at every image shown on the giant overhead screen and even participating in the first 'Wave' ever seen at a boxing event, the fight lived up to its billing as 'The Event.'"
The Sweet Science with Bert Sugar: Mayweather vs. Mosley
In regard to the hard-fought Super Featherweight title bout, Bert writes, "This wasn't a fight, it was a war, one of those old-fashion if-you-hit-me-again-and-I-find-out-about-it-you're-in-trouble fights that makes for great boxing."