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Emanuel Steward Undergoing Treatment

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by David P. Greisman

Hall of Fame boxing trainer Emanuel Steward has been diagnosed with cancer, according to French Canadian newspaper Le Journal de Quebec.

The newspaper cited boxing promoter Yvon Michel, who promotes Adonis Stevenson, a super middleweight contender Steward trains.

Michel told the newspaper that Steward will not be in Stevenson's corner for his Oct. 12 bout against Donovan George, as Steward has undergone surgery and will soon be receiving chemotherapy treatments.

The 68-year-old's health concerns were alluded to recently, but not delved into, on a pair of HBO broadcasts for which Steward was not present to do commentary.

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Walled Lake - Former boxing champion Thomas Hearns called Emanuel Steward the "Godfather of Boxing."

That is why about 50 members of the boxing community joined in afternoon prayer Sunday at the Orchard Grove Community Church to pray for recovery from an undisclosed stomach ailment for Kronk's Godfather and boxing trainer.

Steward is in a Chicago area hospital following surgery last week. Many in boxing know the disease that has disabled Steward, but in holding to the spirit of the boxing community they have refused to reveal what ails him.

Asking for prayers

However, there are a number of people who know the ailment and want full disclosure. They want the public to know the severity of Steward's ailment in hopes the entire community rallies around him.

All we know is Steward is seriously ill and told his manager Anita Ruiz that he wants people to pray for him. The family said a nervous stomach disorder turned into diverticulosis. But that is not a disease usually associated with prayer services.

Sunday was a somber afternoon filled with smiles, tears and prayers.

"I'm not privileged to speak on his behalf. This is not something I need to do," said former boxing champion Thomas Hearns, who trained under Steward. "I am not going to answer any questions about that. I think again it is nothing for me to say. I don't really have an answer."

Ruiz also remained coy. She said she speaks to Steward frequently and that he asked the community to pray for him.

"I believe that God heals," she said. "I believe in prayer. Emanuel said we need to pray. He was very strong in that. It is hard for him to say anything else right now."

Ruiz was asked what ails Steward.

"Whatever the family wants to release I respect that," she said. "We are here today because we are a boxing family and community."

Saying thank you

Hearns held a candle in his hands as he spoke to the group of well-wishers about his "second father."

"Emanuel has meant so much to me," Hearns said. "He changed my life and I can never thank him for what he did. He made a huge difference in my life and I thank God for that. Now it is time for me to give back to him. I just want to thank you."

Kallen said she once confided in Steward that she wanted to be a boxing manager. He took her under his wings, showed her the ropes and said: "you go run with it."

She did and managed a number of champions.

Hearn said Steward helped people from around the world, including some Polish boxers who are currently training at Kronk.

"Emanuel is a leader," Hearns said. "He is like the Godfather, especially around Kronk. He helped change your life. He taught you things outside of boxing."

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