In 1966, Dave Anderson, a Brooklyn-bred wordsmith, joined the NY Times. And in his span at the famed and fabled paper, probably no sportswriter respected the sweet science and shared insights and anecdotes the boxing sphere as he did.
In 1973, the Boxing Writers Association of America with their Nat Fleischer award acknowledged the skills and savvy of Anderson, who died October 4, at age 89.
The New Jersey resident snagged himself a Pulitzer, for his handling of the sports world, and his work will live on. Anderson authored 21 books, several dealing with the boxing space. On my book shelf, “In the Corner: Great Boxing Trainers Talk About Their Art” sits and gets thumbed through every few years.
In 2006, Anderson, who was hailed as a complete gent, a humble and unassuming being by the scores of friends and colleagues and admirers, entered the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His book “Sugar Ray,” about Ray Robinson, is the only work you’d need to get a full-on sense of the legend that is the original Sugar Ray. He wrote a book with Frank Robinson, in which the hitting stalwart described season one as manager of the Cleveland Indians, the first stint for an African-American. That spoke to the regard that bold-faced names had for Anderson, who was trusted to get it right, and be decent while doing it.
Here is an excerpt from a classic Anderson column…
This article originally appeared in The New York Times on March 9, 1971.
In a classic 15-round battle, Joe Frazier broke the wings of the butterfly and smashed the stinger of the bee last night in winning a unanimous 15-round decision over Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden.
Defying an anonymous “lose or else” death threat, Frazier settled the controversy over the world heavyweight championship by handing Ali his first defeat with a savage attack that culminated in a thudding knockdown of the deposed titleholder from a hammerlike left hook in the final round.
During the classic brawl, one man in the sellout throng of 20,455 died of a heart attack.
When the verdict was announced, Ali, also known as Cassius Clay, accepted it stoically.