By: Hans Themistode
No one believed more than Stan Hoffman. Not even the boxers themselves.
We all remember it. The one punch that changed everything. Hasim Rahman walked into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in 2001 as nothing more than a piece of meat thrown to the dogs, or in this case, heavyweight titlist Lennox Lewis.
Rahman’s task was simple. Take your beating like a man, collect your check and go about your way. Yet, the moment he ended the reign of Lewis with his big right hand in the fifth round, the whole world changed their view of him. Everyone besides legendary boxing manager, Stan Hoffman.
Belief was something Hoffman instilled in all of his fighters. That, along with his genuine love for those who were under his wing, led to many upset victories in the sport of boxing.
From watching Rahman become heavyweight champion of the world, to witnessing a 15-year-old Mike Tyson destroy much older and seasoned professional boxers, Hoffman saw it all. With the memories he shared with so many across the boxing world, it comes as no surprise to hear the devastation written across countless faces as the 2017 Hall of Famer passed just a few days ago due to a lengthy battle with cancer.
At the age of 89, Hoffman never came across as someone who was stuck in his old school ways. No, the long time boxing figure enjoyed being around the boxers of today and could routinely be found hanging out in boxing gym’s and handing out advice to those who would listen.
To Hoffman, the sport meant everything to him. It helped mold him from the notorious trouble maker he was once labeled as a kid, to the helpful, thoughtful, loving man he eventually grew up to become.
In short, the news of his passing not only stings but also indicates the end of an era.
While he enjoyed the boxers of today, Hoffman was a pillar of 80s and 90s boxing. In addition to working with the likes of Rahman, Hoffman also aided the careers of Iran Barkley, James Toney and Michael Bentt. Much like Rahman’s upset victory over Lewis, Hoffman instilled a perpetual amount of confidence in Bentt who went on to win the WBO heavyweight title in 1993 by knocking out former titlist Tommy Morrison in the very first round.
Not only did Hoffman play a significant role in the win but he also convinced Bentt, whose last name was once spelled “Bent,” to add another T to his last name to stand apart from the crowd. And much like most of Hoffman’s ideas, it worked as Bentt became known for not only his skills in the ring but also his unique name spelling.
Although the news of his death is several days old, the reality that he’s gone is one that will haunt not only the boxing community but also the music industry for years to come. Despite the long list of champions, he helped during the course of his lifetime, Hoffman also had a major hand in the musical world.
Several decades ago, before names such as Drake, Lil Baby and Nicki Minaj took over the airwaves, Hoffman helped produce one of the most prominent songs in history in My Ding-a-Ling in 1972.
Whether he was in the music studio putting together a song that would reverberate through history several times over, or whether he was instilling confidence in one of his fighters before they stormed into the ring and defied the odds, Stan Hoffman could care less about his own achievements. In his mind, accomplishing his goals were secondary. Lending a helping hand to those who needed it most is what Hoffman will always be remembered for.
“There are very few people in your life who really want you to do well and love you unconditionally,” said an emotional Steve Cohen, a close friend to Hoffman, during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “He was one of them. I’ll miss him every day.”
Much like Cohen, BoxingInsider.com along with the rest of the world, will miss him as well.