By Jackie Kallen
Every time one of the members of our boxing family dies, he takes with him a little piece of all of us. That was how I felt when I learned that former Heavyweight champ Corrie Sanders from South Africa was killed senselessly today in a robbery-turned-fatal.
While enjoying a 21st birthday celebration for his nephew Mike with other family members, he happened get shot randomly by one of three men who attempted to rob the restaurant. No one else was killed and it was a shot to the stomach that turned out to be deadly.
I remember the first time I met Corrie. It was 1994 in Atlantic City. He was fighting Carlos de Leon at the Convention Center. Riddick Bowe was the main event against Buster Mathis, jr. A girlfriend of mine was a huge Sanders fan and thought he was the handsomest man she had ever seen. After the fight was over (he KOed De Leon in the first round) we had a chance to talk to him. He was a wonderful guy.
I followed his career after that and remember the night he annihilated Bobby Czyz in the 2nd round at Mohegan Sun. Then he went on to do the same thing to Alfred Cole in the 1st round a couple of year later. It was Hasim Rahman who derailed Sanders’s train and took away his WBU belt a few months after that in Atlantic City.
Sanders shocked the boxing world by knocking out Wladimir Klitschko in Germany in 2003 to claim the WBO Heavyweight title. He made the mistake of fighting his brother Vitali a year later for the vacant WBC Heavyweight belt. Klitschko took him out in the 8th round and that was the end of Sanders’s reign as a champ. He won a few more meaningless fights but then retired in 2008 after getting stopped in the first round by Osborne Machimana.
It is ironic that the man nicknamed “The Sniper” got taken out by a man with a gun. The 6’4″ southpaw would have cleaned this guy’s clock if there was not a weapon involved. At only 46 years old, Sanders was a still a force to be reckoned with. He was a scratch golfer and still in great shape.
Corrie will be missed and those of us at Boxinginsider.com send our prayers and condolences to his loved ones.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen