Remembering Bert Sugar
Bert Sugar, the flamboyant writer and historian whose extensive knowledge of sports in general and boxing in particular made him a journalism legend, died Sunday in Mount Kisco, NY. He was 75.
Wearing his trademark fedora and holding a cigar between his fingers, Sugar was an instantly recognizable figure. He was the editor and publisher of Boxing Illustrated and Ring magazine and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Sugar was at ringside covering some of the greatest boxing matches of all time. In a special edition of USA Today in 2010, he called the third rematch between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier "one of the greatest one-sided fights in boxing history."
In a 2007 Newseum-produced video titled "Press Box," narrated by Ahmad Rashad, Sugar called Grantland Rice one of the first great American sportswriters.
"Grantland Rice was one of the most important writers, not only his great lines … but what he could do to sports. Having Grantland Rice at an event made it the event," he said.
Sugar also talked about the press's role in protecting Yankee slugger Babe Ruth, who he called a "circulation builder."
"An old friend of mine … told the story of the time, on a train ride from St. Louis to Chicago, here comes Babe Ruth racing through the middle of the train, buck naked. About three steps behind him, equally naked, is a woman brandishing a knife. … One of [the reporters], looking at his cards looks up and goes, 'Oh, there's another story we won't cover.'"
Sugar was the author of more than 80 books and had a law degree and an MBA from the University of Michigan.