Bert Randolph Sugar, boxing journalist and historian, passed away Sunday from cardiac arrest at the age of 75 after battling lung cancer. Gregg Fritz, a man who worked with Evander Hollyfield and Don King, joined the program and talked about the man who knew everyone and everyone knew.
Sporting his trademark fedora and usually chomping on a cigar, Sugar came to represent the colorful, aged voice of common sense in the topsy-turvy world of professional boxing, but spent much of his 40-plus years in the sport as a hard-hitting journalist and historian.
Fritz talks about the intellect, the wit, the humor of Sugar, who made sure to acknowledge those around him, always looking for a new angle, always looking to connect with the boxing faithful on a deeper, more meaningful level. Fritz shares the genuine care Sugar had for those around him, his absolute love and respect for the sport.
Sugar was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005. He wrote more than 80 books, including ''The 100 Greatest Boxers Of All Time.''
Fritz shares the modesty, yet humbling flamboyance about Sugar, his personable nature and his approachability. Sugar was born in Washington, D.C., in 1936. He graduated from Maryland and went to law school at Michigan. He passed the bar in his hometown and worked in advertising in New York City before he got into writing in the 1970s.
In 1969, Sugar, who was a non-practicing lawyer, purchased Boxing Illustrated and ran the magazine until 1973. In 1979, he became editor and publisher of Ring Magazine, two years after the magazine’s pay-for-play rankings scandal, and helped rebuild the magazine’s standing in the industry. He would eventually become editor at Boxing Illustrated.
From there, Sugar became a free agent of sorts, publishing more than 80 boxing-related books and making appearances on a variety of boxing TV, radio and internet shows. He also appeared in several boxing-related movies. Such a standout in the sport, the universal respect offered reciprocally between Sugar and those around him made him a ringside icon for many of the sport’s biggest bouts. He was also known by fans and fellow journalists as an extremely outgoing, colorful and kind character who had not slowed down a bit in his last years, yet there was a humbleness, a calm collectiveness to the writer.
Gregg Fritz explains the brilliance of Bert Sugar with Chad Doing on the MSP.