Inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, 1989

A native of Hartford, Sharnik made his biggest mark as a sports journalist and boxing promoter. Growing up in West Hartford, he was on the football, basketball and track teams in local schools and at the Cheshire Academy. He left law school to serve in the Army during the Korean War. During his time in the service, he was stationed in Washington where he was managing editor for an Army publication during the McCarthy hearings, inspiring him to enter journalism as a career. For the next 23 years, he was associated with Sports Illustrated magazine as a writer, reporter, and editor.

Sharnik was an investigative reporter and became the resident expert in sports and the Mafia, with some of his stories leading to testimony before Senate and Congressional committees. His exposes in the 1970s, including “Danny McClain and the Mob” and “Godfather of Sports” were chosen as best stories of the year, and he was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism. Although he had not seen himself as a sportswriter, he began covering boxing for the magazine.

Upon leaving Sports Illustrated, he became the editor and publisher of the short-lived Hartford Tribune. He then returned to CBS in the late 1970s to be “Czar of Boxing.” For nine years he coordinated the boxing program for CBS. Sharnik was the architect of the “lightweight boom,” having seen a deep pool of talent in the lightweight category and persuaded CBS to give these smaller fighters access to television.

An article in Sports Illustrated described Sharnik’s role at CBS as being “boxing’s silent kingmaker, the ultimate gray eminence. He is rarely seen, never heard, always felt. He reaches down and ordains Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini or Hector (Macho) Camacho, say, as the new American golden boy. He sees that a man has a certain blend of talent and charisma, so he gives him TV time plus The Big CBS Buildup.”

After leaving CBS to be a freelance advisor, Sharnik was able to trade on his expertise and his impeccable reputation in promoting and advising boxers including Marlon “Moochie” Starling, Virgil Hill, and George Foreman. The Los Angeles Times described him as an erudite, bow tie-wearing figure equally comfortable with CEOs and with aspiring boxers, who said he had spent more time with Mohammed Ali than with his family during years of his life.
Sharnik was inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame in 2015.

Read more:
SI Article
CT Boxing Hall of Fame