The late Bert Sugar was a Runyonesque character known nationwide for his piquant observations of the fight game—at a time when boxing really mattered in American culture. It was nearly impossible to watch a bout of any merit and not see Sugar ringside with his trademark fedora and ever-present stogie, or to hear his raspy wit and stunningly accurate analyses. He was known nationwide for his piquant observations of the fight game and when he died in March 2012, tributes poured in from every major media—including the New York Times, ESPN, and all the television networks. In its obituary, The Times called him “boxing’s human encyclopedia, a prolific writer and editor and a flamboyant and ubiquitous presence in the world of the ring. He wrote about the sport with swagger and panache, a prose style that carried the weight of expertise and that simply assumed the authority to bellow and bleat.”
And no wonder. Bert Sugar was a classic. Now under one cover, here are some of the best quips and observations Sugar has to offer, a collection of his lifelong art of covering some of the most colorful and often controversial figures in the world of boxing, from Muhammad Ali, and Sonny Liston to Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard, among many others.