Sugar couldn’t even be bothered to differentiate between nationalities when it came to the Ukrainian Klitschkos. In this clip, he disrespectfully called them "talentless Russians,” which made them better Rocky-style enemies than talentless Ukrainians, apparently.
Sugar even had the gall to complain that the Klitschkos didn’t knock out enough of their opponents. Never mind that Vitali Klitschko’s career knockout ratio of 86.96 percent is the second highest of all time in the heavyweight division behind Rocky Marciano, and that Wladimir isn’t far behind Vitali at 83.33 percent. In contrast, the man Sugar idolized most, Muhammad Ali, had a career KO percentage of 60.66.
No, Sugar just didn’t like the Klitschkos. And no matter how he tried to camouflage his hatred of them in concern for heavyweight boxing, his animosity had little to do with their skills or their opponents.
It turned out that Bert Sugar was kind of like those old guys who collect jazz records and fetishize the people who made them, one of those guys who live in a bubble and resent anything new or different that disrupts their little world. Even a legendary jazz icon like Miles Davis felt the wrath of such types when he tried to meld jazz with rock and world music in the 1970s. They couldn’t forgive Davis for disrupting the way they saw things. Why couldn’t he just keep making Kind of Blue forever? Who was this impostor?
That was Bert Sugar’s mentality. He was an American used to seeing (African) Americans as heavyweight champions of the world. He obviously idolized Muhammad Ali, and he also thrived in the era of the “Great White Hope,” when white heavyweights like Jerry Quarry and George Chuvalo were “gutsy” but were also bleeders and punching bags and never, ever world champions like Ali and Larry Holmes. As long as that paradigm was in place, Bert Sugar was comfortable.