While shooting interviews for an episode of "Greatest Moments at MSG," boxing publicist Jules Feiler and producer Roman Gackkowski decided it was time to pay tribute to the fedora-wearing, cigar-smoking boxing raconteur Bert Sugar. (March 25th marks the second anniversary of Sugar's death.)
"We interviewed a number of boxing figures who knew Bert, and then to cap it off we did a round table (Fran Healy as host, former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, fight promoter Lou DiBella, former NY State Athletic Commissioner Randy Gordon, who worked with Bert as an editor at Ring Magazine) at ECCO “The Italian Saloon,” a place with great Italian food and plenty of scotch. Bert would have approved. I brought with me a handful of cigars (which no one smoked, of course) and a fedora of his that Bert had given to me about three years ago. It was used as a center piece on the table; Bert was not a flower kind of guy.
"I don’t remember how long Bert and I were friends, it had to be over 25 years and the last five or six years I would say we were pretty close. We talked all the time and went to a bar or the Friars Club often. What I realized that day at ECCO is that everybody who knew Bert thought they were really close to Bert. He was everyone’s pal. The stories flowed like booze that day. Everyone who knew Bert has more than one great Bert Sugar story. Everyone was trying to top everyone else. But if you listened close enough, with everybody laughing really hard, I swear I heard that great laugh of his in there too."
-- Written by Jules Feiler, the founder of the New York PR agency, The Pitching Staff. His clients have included Mike Tyson, Rashedi Ali, Ray Mancini, and Dennis Rodman, among others.
A tribute to Bert Sugar airs Monday, February 10 on the MSG+ show "The Game 365," 7:30 pm EST.
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