We watched an entirely unhealthy amount of ESPN Classic when we were younger, which meant that we watched just about every single episode of ESPN's brilliant "SportsCentury" series, which we like to think of as the forerunner of the network's equally enthralling "30 for 30" series.
Anyway, the episodes we loved the most were the boxing episodes, mostly because boxers seem to live much more incident-filled lives than their fellow athletes. (Our very favorite episode of the lot, about Sonny Liston, is on YouTube here.)
We first came to know Bert Sugar through these appearances on television.
Sugar's fedora and his cigar looked like laughable anachronisms, but his words were lucid and authoritative. He also gave us the best single description that any writer has used for any athlete when he called Buster Douglas "a Hamlet in boxing trunks: Would I? Could I? Should I?"
What we didn't know until after Bert Sugar passed away on Sunday of a heart attack at the age of 74 was that he was a D.C. native and a University of Maryland graduate. As happens sometimes, he did his best work in New York, first as editor of Boxing Illustrated, then as editor and publisher of The Ring.
In two months, another D.C. guy, Lamont Peterson, will fight to defend his world championship in Las Vegas. We'd like to think that Bert will be watching, and we'd like to think that some small tribute could be paid. Wonder how Peterson looks in a fedora?