Brendan Ingle is the founding father of today’s vibrant Sheffield boxing scene.
People who come across him tell tales of his integrity, compassion, humour and commitment to both his gym in Wincobank and the community as a whole. So some will be surprised at the stance he has taken on Naseem Hamed, the finest and brashest boxer to have emerged from his stable.
Naz famously broke up with his mentor in 1998 after the Irishman had led him to world championships and a personal fortune of millions which was to make both him and future generations of his family secure.
In the boxing business, fighters and their coaches part company every day. Sometimes they get back together. That was never to happen with Naz and Brendan.
Hamed’s criticism of Ingle, his undoubted arrogance around the turn of the century and - probably above all else - his imprisonment following a horrific injury-causing car crash seemingly put paid to that.
Then suddenly, to coincide with Hamed’s golden moment as he was inducted into America’s Boxing Hall of Fame, the former ‘Prince’ declared: “I want to see Brendan and say sorry for the nasty things I said about him, because I am so grateful for the things he did for me.”
At last, an olive branch. Seventeen years late, but a gesture all the same.
So what are we to make of the Brendan Ingle response - a resounding ‘thanks but no thanks’ - which we report exclusively today? READ THE REPORT HERE
Ingle, who turns 75 years old on Friday, might have found it in his heart to forgive his protege for what he said and did to him.
But it is more than likely that he has taken the decision not to get involved again because of the hurt he caused to others, notably Anthony Burgin, the driver who was injured by Hamed’s car a decade ago, last month.
A reunion between Hamed and Ingle (you could just imagine it being staged on Sky TV, one of the main power brokers of British boxing) would have been a powerful soundbite for the broadcaster and the 41-year-old, who now lives in Surrey.
But Brendan Ingle is better than that. He has a moral code which he not only spells out to young boxers, but observes himself.
We should respect his right to keep the door closed on this chapter in his life. Some things are best left in the past.