Originally Posted by Pete47
"Corner Men - Great Bboxing Trainers" by Ronald K. Fried. It offers fascinating informations about trainers like Ray Arcel, Jack Blackburne and others.
I second this. A very enjoyable read. Fried illuminates Eddie Futch's brilliance.
"50 Years at Ringside," by Nat Fleischer was intriguing. It provided a sense of immediacy to many events and people considered ancient history today.
The instructional books by Dempsey, Haislet, Walsh and Thomas.
"Rocky Marciano: Biography of a First Son," by Everett Skehan. The ways in which the plight of Joe Louis influenced his determination to avoid the same fate is striking. It details Marciano's dedication to conditioning, and how his dismal amateur debut drove him to never again suffer the same outcome.
Mickey Walker's autobiography is loaded with BS, but it's also a vivid colorful narrative of life in the 1920's. Like Dempsey's mother Celia (who in part raised her son on a second-hand biography of John L. Sullivan she reportedly purchased while pregnant with Jack in 1895, though this could be apocryphal), Mickey's mother Liz was her son's most enthusiastic cheerleader in boxing. (If a young up and coming boxer had both a mom like that, and a spouse like Joan Antuofermo, how could he lose?)
Too many other great books to mention, but most are out of print.
One day, somebody ought to publish a collection of newspaper clippings covering boxing from around the turn of the century, published by various sportswriters in diverse locations. A friend of my father's passed away a few years ago, and he was both a boxer, and later a news columnist.
Upon his death, my father received his huge album of deteriorating clippings on boxing events from a hundred years ago. Many of these articles were written in the immediate aftermath of Erne/Gans I, and most of them savagely criticize Gans for quitting, although a few exonerate him. Some of these attacking sportswriters would later change their tune on Gans profoundly. It's fascinating to read contemporary coverage of historical boxing events as they actually unfolded, from a variety of different locations and viewpoints, then comparing some of this commentary to existing films of those events, whenever available.
As more newspapers offer their entire history on-line, perhaps some dedicated and enthusiastic researcher will undertake such a challenge. (It would have to be a total fanatic. I get tired just thinking about it. But it would be a cool thing to read the actual source documentation on the occurrences we rehash at this forum.)
It's astounding sometimes, to see how badly the quality of sportswriting has deteriorated with the advent of electronic media. Most members of the press who cover sports today are utterly clueless about the history of their subject matter. I would never present myself as an expert on a sport I didn't know inside and out. (That's another reason why I hang out here-to learn more about a subject I have severely limited knowledge of. I only followed boxing passionately for a very brief period in time. I'm no kind of expert on any of this.)