PASSINGS: Bert Sugar, Eric Lowen

Bert Sugar wrote more than 80 books, including "The 100 Greatest Boxers of All Time." He was a longtime fight analyst for HBO and also appeared in several boxing-themed movies, including “Rocky Balboa” and “Play It to the Bone.”
(Louis Lanzano / Associated Press)

Bert Sugar

Hall of Fame boxing writer

Bert Sugar, 75, a Hall of Fame boxing writer who was one of the sport’s most recognizable figures with his ever-present fedora and cigar, died Sunday of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., his family said. He had lung cancer.

Sugar wrote more than 80 books, including “The 100 Greatest Boxers of All Time,” was a longtime fight analyst for HBO and appeared in several boxing-themed movies such as “Rocky Balboa” and “Play It to the Bone.” Sugar was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005.

Born Herbert Randolph Sugar on June 7, 1936, in Washington, D.C., he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and master’s and law degrees from the University of Michigan. He briefly practiced law and then turned to advertising before pursuing his passion for boxing and writing.

Sugar became the editor of Boxing Illustrated in the early 1970s and later was editor-in-chief of The Ring magazine.

“What boxing lost with the death of Bert Sugar is what boxing keeps losing: its character, as we’re losing characters,” Lou DiBella, a boxing promoter and former boxing executive for HBO Sports, told Times boxing writer Lance Pugmire on Monday.

“I’m very saddened. The great boxing voices of the sport — Bert, [trainer] Angelo Dundee [writer] George Kimball — are fading off the scene. We’re losing our pizazz, panache, our edge.”

Eric Lowen


Eric Lowen, 60, a singer, songwriter, guitarist and half of the Lowen and Navarro folk group who with his songwriting partner Dan Navarro penned “We Belong” for Pat Benatar, died Friday at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Hospital, the band announced.

Lowen had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2004. The degenerative disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and eventually weakens muscles throughout the body.

Born Oct. 23, 1951, in Utica, N.Y., Lowen met Navarro in Los Angeles in the early 1980s when they worked as singing waiters at the Great American Food and Beverage Co. After they discovered they harmonized together well, they began performing and writing songs as a duo.

The pair wrote “We Belong” for Benatar in 1984 and it became a top-five hit for her. Lowen, who was tall and blond, and the dark-haired Navarro regularly sang their acoustic version in concert. The two also wrote for such pop acts as the Bangles, Dave Edmunds and David Lee Roth, and they composed jingles for commercials and TV shows.

Beginning in 1988, Lowen and Navarro played a regular acoustic gig at the Breakaway in Venice, and they released their first album, “Walking on a Wire,” in 1990. They released a handful of studio albums and toured extensively until 2009, when Lowen’s condition worsened.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports