Obituaries can be hard to do, especially when the person concerned is only a year older than yourself. Born in London though his life ended in America, Alex Stewart was a British born heavyweight that scaled some of the heights but is not necessarily named amongst the best of his time. His legacy is to show us that the best need quality opponents to claim that title and Stewart was one of those guys that people feared they had to face as they knew they had to get past him; he was no pushover.
In November 2016, he lost the battle for his life, apparently due to a blood clot in his lung. Reminding us of just how fickle life can be, he was fine one day and gone the next. Perhaps he was unfortunate in that he fought at a time when there were better heavyweights and almost all of them he faced as his career was spent, almost entirely fighting Stateside.
Alex Stewart was known as a smart fighter who boxed well and his career brought him into the ring with big names – Evander Holyfield (twice), Mike Tyson, Michael Moorer and George Foreman. Before becoming a professional he was in the Olympics in 1984, representing Jamaica, having won a Bronze Medal in the Pan American Games the year before, he didn’t medal at the 84 Olympiad.
When he became a professional his reputation as “The Destroyer” started with 24 straight wins at the beginning until he lost his first fight – contest number 25 – to Evander Holyfield, the first time!
Stewart went on to fight Mike Tyson in 1990, but was knocked out in the first round – not unlike many other fighters who climbed into the ring with “Iron” Mike – but for some this was an image that unfairly captured him and his career.
His fight with George Foreman in 1992 however, was, for many the actual summit of his career. Foreman, by that time 42 years of age and on his way back to becoming the oldest world champion, put him down twice in the 2nd round, then bizarrely asked the referee to stop the fight in the 3rd as Stewart was being battered. The referee refused and Stewart then bullied Foreman in response over the rest of the 10 rounds but lost in a controversial majority decision. At the press conference, Stewart held his head high and Foreman hid behind a pair of sunglasses.
He also went back in against Evander Holyfield and found himself losing for the second time. This was a fight that was a bit of a gateway as he became a gateway fighter from that point onwards – 1993 – to become someone sought out by the up and coming to see if they had anywhere worthwhile to go.
His final professional record was 43 wins and 10 losses, with 6 of those losses in the last 10 fights of his career. Of the 4 wins in that time he knocked 3 of them out! You can work out where the other 4 losses happened and that shows you just how big a name Stewart was. He may never have won a belt or taken a title but what this guy did for this sport was show heart and courage in lacing gloves and climbing into many rings. He gave his sport the opportunity of growth by taking the long runs and making the sacrifices that we, as the viewing public, sit at the side and debate, marvel and mock, but also appreciate and approve. Alex Stewart was his own champion and we salute his time with us and mourn his loss at a time of his life that he ought to be enjoying the glow of his winter.
RIP Alex Stewart…Contact the Feature Writers