Thursday's passing of beloved Hall of Fame trainer and HBO Boxing analyst, Emanuel Steward, has moved the boxing world and has forced fans, media, and fighters to revisit Steward's many contributions to the sport. Over the course of about fifty years in boxing, Steward has been a fighter, manager, and analyst, but the true calling of his life came as a world class trainer.
Having worked with over 40 world champions during his career, here's a look at Emanuel Steward's five best fighters (Only taking into consideration those who spent a significant period of time under Steward's tutelage):
The "Hit Man" (AKA: The Motor City Cobra) would use his long, lanky frame and cutting power to become boxing's first 4-division-- and then first 5-division-- world champion. Fighting in one of the golden eras of the sport of the late 70's to the early 90's, Hearns would have to compete alongside the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, and Wilfred Benitez. Under the early guidance of Emanuel Steward, Hearns' raw talent was fine-tuned and he became a deadly puncher and an underrated technician.
The three-time world heavyweight champion was always big and strong with the kind of physical tools that would ensure a place among the division's best. But Lewis' technical flaws kept him from being a truly dominant presence on the main stage. Steward would turn Lewis from a one-handed, one-punch fighter into a more balanced pro with a fierce jab. As a result, the British-born heavyweight would go on to be the last man standing among his generation of heavyweights.
When it comes to the current king of the heavyweights, there was definitely a pre-Steward and post-Steward version of the fighter. Prior to Emmanuel Steward's influence, Klitschko was a big, strong fighter with a porous defense and a muddled offensive game. With Steward in his corner, Klitschko became undisputed world champ with a tighter defense and a battering ram-like jab that, alone, is enough to beat most of the ranked heavyweights.
The heavy-handed "G-man" was an elite fighter with an offensive mindset who flourished under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward. Already a two-belt world middleweight champion, McClellan's career was tragically cut short in a bid for Nigel Benn's WBC super middleweight title. Injuries sustained in that stoppage loss led to severe brain damage for the talented battler.
The two-time heavyweight champ proudly wore the Kronk Gym gold for most of his career and fought with the kind of offensive emphasis similar to other Emanuel Steward fighters. Also a former lightweight champ, Moorer was a two-fisted terror in the ring, limited by a general lack of focus and a chin that was less than durable.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, and a close follower of the sport for more than 30 years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
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