Long-time NY boxing promoter Cedric Kushner dies at 66

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 30 Januari 2015 | 18.18

Long-time boxing promoter Cedric Kushner, whose eccentric manner and South African accent, made him a unique figure in New York boxing circles died Thursday morning after suffering a massive heart attack at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Kushner, 66, had been ill for quite some time, according to those close to him. Kushner served as the promoter to some of the top fighters in boxing including Sugar Shane Mosley, Peter Quillin and former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman. His shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom consistently offered some of the best boxing in Manhattan.

"For a good 15 years he was the most powerful promoter in New York and one of the top two or three most powerful promoters in the whole world," said Lou DiBella, a former HBO executive and now head of DiBella Entertainment. "He was a character. He had this accent that made him sound like an educated guy when in reality he didn't get out of grammar school and once shined shoes and cleaned pools.

"He was a self-made man, who became a millionaire. The last few years weren't kind to him, but he had a great, great career and was an institution in New York boxing."

A former promoter of rock concerts, Kushner turned to boxing and was the first to make Hammerstien Ballroom a fight venue in 2000. This a long after he had started the "Heavyweight Explosion" television series in 1993, featuring a stable of prospects including Chris Byrd, Shannon Briggs, and Rahman who would all go on to win a portion of a heavyweight title.

Kushner also served as a promoter to other notable boxers including, Mosley, Jameel McCline, Corrie Sanders, Kirk Johnson and Michael Grant.

Long-time boxing scribe Tim Smith called Kushner "one of the great gentlemen of a sport that lacked gentlemen. He always had great ideas for shows even when he didn't have enough talented fighters to make the ideas work."

The biggest night of Kushner's career quickly turned into a nightmare. He matched Rahman against defending champion Lennox Lewis for the heavyweight title in April 2001. Rahman was a huge underdog, but claimed the title with a stunning fifth-round knockout in Kushner's native South Africa.

Kushner had planned to sign Rahman to an extension of their now-expired promotional contract after the bout. But Don King swooped in with a brief case filled with $500,000 in cash to get Rahman's signature for Don King Productions.

"He cost me millions of dollars. And I'm not happy to say that it cost him even more," Kushner said in a 2006 interview with Newsday.

Kushner sued King to no avail and later lost Mosley to a rival promoter once the welterweight achieved a measure of fame. "Cedric was a real sweet man," said former HBO president Ross Greenburg. "He didn't like to play dirty and guys like Don and others took advantage of it."

Kushner was recently named to the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. The inductions are scheduled to take place April 26. "It's a shame he died before he heard that applause," DiBella said.

Services are pending.

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