The first time I ever heard from Ted Sares was back when he sent me an email, asking to use one of my quotes in a book he was writing. I saw that, in and of itself, as a rarity. Usually writers just lifted my stuff, shifted around a few words, and took full credit for it.
Sorry. That’s the kind of shit that would’ve had Ted reaming me in private. That’s being a crybaby. I’m bigger and better than that. Let the assholes be assholes and the rats be rats.
We lost Ted this week and that’s still unfathomable. The man seemed larger than life to those who knew him. Even though he was 85, it still seems unreal that he could be taken from us.
Ted was many things– a successful business man, a humanitarian, a family man, and a power-lifting senior citizen, who was, at one time, officially the strongest senior citizen in America. He was also a savvy old school boxing man. This is what led to us crossing paths and to our years and years of correspondence.
I just don’t know where to start when it comes to a fitting tribute for my friend, Ted.
He wrote FOR me at The Boxing Tribune (which I’m temporarily re-opening to publish this piece), WITH me at Boxing.com, and for several other sites, such as The Sweet Science. We hated the same things. We loved the same things. We railed against the same phoniness. I trusted few others as much as Ted when it came to honest writing.
He was a knowledgeable boxing historian who wasn’t a fetishist for nostalgia like so many boxing historians these days. He was a good writer who got to the point and was secure enough in his abilities to stay away from the flowery, masturbatory prose used by so many present tense boxing writers. He was a keen bullshit detector, who could sniff out a fake and a phony a mile away. He was also supremely pragmatic and able to work with those he didn’t particularly care for. He understood something that I’ve never quite been able to grasp– writing is about getting the words out to as many people as possible, not about personal battles and slash-and-burn aesthetics.
Ted’s nickname was “The Bull,” but I never called him that. I didn’t want to be a “buddy” like that. He was more than that to me. He believed in me and my abilities as a writer when it seemed that nobody else did, when establishment media-types were blackballing me from the business for reporting on media kickbacks and flat-out bribes. There was a good, long stretch of time when Ted believed in me more than I believed in myself. And it was his friendship that pulled me through those tough times.
I’m going to miss our regular chats. I’m going to miss his Facebook messages– even the ones that consisted of deeply, deeply NC-17 gifs that I always seemed to open in the wrong company. I’m going to miss his leadership by example and his bawdy wit behind closed online doors. I’m just going to miss HIM.
He loved the awards he had received over his lifetime, but I’m ashamed to say that, off the top of my head, I can’t name any of those numerous honors. He’d understand. He knew that I was wired differently. And I hope he knew that I recognized his greatness sans plaque, trophy, or certificate.
When Ted Sares touched your life, you felt it. I feel it. I’m a better man for it.
See you later, pal.
P.S. I still got my eye on that Brooklyn Sewer Rat.