DETROIT (WWJ/AP) Legendary boxing coach Emanuel Steward got a hero’s send-off when he was laid to rest Tuesday in Detroit at a funeral attended by Aretha Franklin, Tommy Hearns, Lennox Lewis, Sugar Ray Leonard and other luminaries.
Aretha Franklin sang a stirring, goosebump-raising rendition of “I’ll Fly Away,” as part of the three-plus hour memorial in the Motor City.
But it wasn’t only famous people who showed up at Greater Grace Temple to remember Steward.
The crowd included several boxers who began their careers under Steward’s tutelage, including Kenny Moore, who started his own gym on Detroit’s east side at Steward’s urging.
“He really gave me a big push, I talked with him a lot, often on Sunday we would sit down and talk, and he definitely gave me the courage to follow his footsteps,” Moore said.
Monet Patterson, 17, a three-time world champion, remembered how hard Steward pushed her and how much he believed in her.
“Boxing with the guys, you would have to be really strong to get in there and fight with the guys … I made sure I hung in there with them,” Patterson said
Steward, owner of the legendary Kronk Gym and one of boxing’s greatest trainers, was 68 when he died October 25, after reportedly being in poor health for several months.
The International Boxing Hall of Famer made his name training Thomas Hearns at the Kronk Gym in Detroit. That paved the way for Steward to work with a long line of champion boxers such as champion Lennox Lewis, during a big part of his title run, and current heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko as recently as July.
Steward owned the legendary Kronk Gym, where his fighters were clad in red and gold trunks, and worked as an analyst for HBO.
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