Livvy, Kennedy and Steve Cunningham
Imagine being a parent, trying to stay strong, while holding your 9-year-old daughter’s tiny hand as she lies there on a gurney in a pre-op ward awaiting a heart transplant. Imagine battling the fears that it might be the last time you’ll see her alive.
Now imagine trying to balance all of that while getting ready to engage some monster who wants to take your head off.
Livvy, Kennedy & Steve Cunningham
You have a good dose of what heavyweight Steve Cunningham and his wife Livvy endured on December 5, 2014, when they stood there with their daughter Kennedy before she underwent a successful heart transplant.
Because of what they faced with remarkable grace, Steve and Livvy Cunningham are co-winners of the Bill Crawford Courage In Overcoming Adversity Award for 2014 from the Boxing Writers Association of America.
The Cunninghams, along with Kennedy, will be honored at the BWAA’s 90th annual Awards Dinner on Friday, April 24 in New York City.
“It’s an amazing honor, and it shows how much the people in boxing have been behind us through this whole thing,” said Livvy, Steve’s manager. “It’s really been heartwarming and inspiring.”
Added Steve, the former IBF cruiserweight champion: “This shows that boxing, which is supposed to be such a heartless sport, has a humane side and that there are really good people who do care about others. We know the boxing world knows our struggle, and they can feel for us.”
The Cunninghams said their deep religious faith helped them through this arduous process.
“Kennedy has helped us through everything. Even on the worst day, you look at this 9-year-old girl and you cringe at what’s she’s going through and how strong she is,” Livvy said. “We had to rise to the occasion and show that there weren’t any cracks in our armor and forge forward. We got a lot of support through the boxing community. Kennedy is a very special girl.”
Kennedy has found herself the first daughter of boxing.
“I looked at Kennedy and just as she was about to undergo the surgery, I asked if she was okay, and she said she was fine—and we were about to break down,” Steve said. “I’ve always said that she’s so much tougher than me. And I take punches for a living.”
The BWAA also announces the epic super lightweight duel in April 2014 between Lucas Matthysse and John Molina as the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier Award winner for Fight of the Year.
For an ongoing-record seventh time, Freddie Roach is the Eddie Futch Award winner as Trainer of the Year, while Al Haymon is the Cus D’Amato Award winner as Manager of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time—and record third-straight.
The BWAA is also proud to announce the Barney Nagler Award winner for Long and Meritorious Service to Jack Hirsch, the six-term former president of the organization.
Seth Abraham, one of the building forces of HBO Boxing, is the Sam Taub Award winner for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, and longtime New York Times sports columnist Ira Berkow is the A.J. Liebling Award winner for Outstanding Boxing Writing.
The BWAA is posthumously bestowing the great Dan Goossen with the Marvin Kohn Good Guy award.
Previously announced winners are Terence Crawford as the Sugar Ray Robinson Fighter of the Year, and Mark Whicker as the Nat Fleischer winner for lifetime achievement in boxing journalism.
All the winners will be honored Friday, April 24, in New York City the night before the Wladimir Klitschko-Bryant Jennings heavyweight title fight at the annual BWAA Awards Dinner, which will be emceed by Brooklyn Nets announcer David Diamante and is open to the public.