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I knew of Bert Sugar long before I met him; everybody who followed boxing knew Bert, whose fame was not solely a result of his encyclopedic knowledge of the sport but also his penchant for self-publicity, as typified by the fedora that always adorned his head and the cigar that rarely left his mouth.

Bert was one of a kind; and perhaps just as well, as I'm not sure the world could have coped with two of him. He was occasionally loud, sometimes brash, and almost invariably politically incorrect; but he was also very kind, a man who always had time for fans, for fighters, for other writers. He had plenty of time for me at our first meeting, and then subsequently. We became, I am proud to say, friends; and we also became colleagues and HBO broadcast partners.

Bert died on March 25, and the world is the poorer and emptier for it. I wrote and compiled some tributes for him for HBO Boxing, here and here. Keith Olbermann, one of the many whom Bert gently nudged along the pathway to success, gave a particularly moving eulogy in one of his final 'Countdown' shows on Current TV:

Personally, I shall always remember the fun we had recording our pieces for HBO:

At no point did I enjoy attending and preparing for fight night more than I did when we recorded those pieces. I shall miss recording them, as I already miss the man I recorded them with.

Fight week won't be the same without you, Bert. Rest in peace, my friend.
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