By: Hans Themistode
Boxing has seen many faces. It’s also seen many of them leave as well.
Much like every other sport, the story of boxing cannot be told without mentioning certain names.
Names such as Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Larry Bird, Phil Jackson and countless others are intertwined with the NBA. Try all you want to explain the history of the game without them, but you’ll find that it’s impossible. Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Jerry Jones are precious pieces to the NFL. While names such as Derek Jeter, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron are on the Baseball Mount Rushmore.
Simply put, certain names are synonymous with their respective sport.
In the case of boxing, the names are almost endless. From the moment Muhammad Ali stepped into the ring 1960, he dubbed himself “The Greatest”. We all laughed. But as he began to rack up the accomplishments, the laughing quickly stopped. Other names such as pound for pound great Sugar Ray Robinson, the freshly retired Floyd Mayweather and promoter Bob Arum all come to mind when discussing the history of boxing.
Recently inducted New Jersey Hall of Famer Nelson Cuevas, is amongst the names in which the story of boxing cannot be told without mentioning his name. His passing, due to the Coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the entire world, is particularly painful.
Cuevas gave his all to boxing from the moment he laid his eyes on it over 60 years ago. With the help of legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, Cuevas quickly found his niche as a cut man, trainer and manager. If you considered yourself one of the greatest boxers in the world, then chances are, you worked with Cuevas.
Fighters such as Earnie Shavers and Buddy McGirt worked closely with Cuevas. He also managed to build relationships with Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather as well. He didn’t just know them as great fighters inside of the ring, but he also knew another side of them. Something that the public didn’t always get a chance to see.
“They were great guys,” said Nelson about the polarizing names that he worked with over the years. “People looked at them sometimes like they were bad people but they did all of that for publicity, they are great people.”
Throughout the years, Cuevas never asked for the limelight. He wasn’t interested in it. All he simply wanted to do was continue to give back.
Although he worked with some of the greatest fighters of all-time, that wasn’t what he was mostly proud of.
“Many people grow up having help but I didn’t. I became a man at 11 years old. I have worked with so many kids and helped them get off the streets and I am very proud of that.”
With the news of his passing hitting the boxing world like a ton of bricks, the outpouring love and appreciation for everything that he has done came immediately.
“We are saddened to report the passing of our dear Nelson Cuevas,” said Mendez Boxing Gym via Facebook. “He meant a lot to many of us and it’s heartbreaking to hear and share this news.
Please send your thoughts and prayers for his wife, Nilda during this time. We feel vulnerable at times but must be there for each other. We miss you Nelson. Rest in peace.”
The passing of Nelson Cuevas is a bitter pill to swallow. The boxing world lost a giant. Cuevas might be gone, but he will certainly never be forgotten. His legacy will forever live on in the New Jersey Hall of Fame and in the hearts of everyone that he touched throughout his lifetime.
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