Your favourite boxing book

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Jel, Jun 23, 2022.

  1. Jel

    Jel Obsessive list maker Full Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    What is it and why?
  2. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Eeeempossible question to answer this.

    I think, the absolute cream of really good reads that are informative, I'd name this shortlist:

    Mike Tyson: The Truth.
    This is exceptional entertainment. My favourite was the reveal of Tyson's physical abuse of Don King. Don earned the money he stole from Tyson, and I mean that. "I kicked Don in his ****ing head" is the most oft repeated phrase from that book.

    Blood Season by Phil Berger.
    This is a NYT reporter's crawl through a year of boxing when Mike Tyson ran the world. I'd say it's unmissable.

    The Gods of War by Springs Toledo.
    You can pick any one of Toledo's collections - defo the best boxing writer of the century. I like this one because he was obsessed with Liston at the time.

    Dark Trade by Donald McRae.
    Another "year in the life" (bit more actually) of boxing. Dark Trade is produced by a British writer from that perspective which is refreshing for me. Due a re-read.

    The fight of the Century by Mike Arkush.
    A thrilling look at the biggest fight in boxing history. Arkush rarely misses the mark whether he's discussing Dundee's fateful statement "I can't wait to see how Frazier reacts to backing up" or Frazier's obsession with Armstrong or the detailed accounting of the gate and purses for the purseheads.

    The Fight by Norman Mailer
    This is the single best book written about a single fight though. If you love boxing and haven't read this, just read it. It's as well written as any of these and Mailer enjoyed absolutely absurd access to both fighters who incredibly used to train in the same facility. "Don't want to hear that" Foreman would mutter as Ali shouted at him from some distant corridor. This book is crazy good.

    And of course I've A real soft spot for the guys who have been through this forum. The Life and Times of Harry Greb, In the Ring With James Jeffries, Brazil's First Boxing World Champion, The Saint Paul Thunderbolt, The Life and Times of an Uncrowned Champion, Charley Burley and the Black Murderer's Row, Pugilatus, even Sorcery at Cesar's, these are all masterpieces in their own way. I love them all.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2022
  3. Jel

    Jel Obsessive list maker Full Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    Thanks Matt. Yeah, I knew it was an impossible question to answer.

    Good choices.
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  4. Jel

    Jel Obsessive list maker Full Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    Mine will probably always be The Ring’s Chronicle of Boxing because it was the first boxing book I ever owned and it introduced me to boxing history when no-one else I knew followed the sport. I’d never heard of these fighters and I got to know them through that book before I ever saw them on film. I still dip into it from time to time even now.
    McGrain likes this.
  5. greynotsoold

    greynotsoold Boxing Addict Full Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    I really liked The Professional and the epic Hurley trilogy.
  6. salsanchezfan

    salsanchezfan Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I thought "Cinderella Man" by Jeremy Schaap was superb, as was "Four Kings" by someone whose name now escapes me.

    I think it's now long out of print, but a truly outstanding one is "Writers and Fighters," by a guy named Schulian I think. I'll look it up to verify, but it's just amazing, a boxing beat guy's adventures talking to the likes of Holmes, Cobb, Leonard, the Spinks Brothers, Cooney, Hagler, anybody who was anybody in the early 80's. Great quotables in this one.
  7. Smokin Bert

    Smokin Bert Boxing Addict Full Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    Totally agree on "The Professional." Just an excellent book, with truths that still hold true almost 70 years later. For anyone looking for more recent boxing fiction, check out "Pound for Pound" by F.X. Toole. I really enjoyed it. The author clearly has a good understanding of how boxing really works.
    KasimirKid and greynotsoold like this.
  8. Eddie Ezzard

    Eddie Ezzard Well-Known Member Full Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    AJ Liebling, 'The Sweet Science' because he said 'Archie hit Harold a left hook to the chops that it is a pleasure to remember not having been in receipt of.' He also said Walcott, after being hit by Marciano in fight one, 'flowed down like flour out of a chute'.

    I was just the most beautiful prose I have ever read. And it was totally evocative of the 50s.

    I also love 'McIlvanney on Boxing' by the eponymous Hugh, 'King of the Hill' by David Remnick, 'Dark Trade' by Donald McRae. 'King of the Hill' could almost serve as a history book as much as a sports book.
    Seamus likes this.
  9. Jel

    Jel Obsessive list maker Full Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    Four Kings was by George Kimball and you’re right, it was superb.
    salsanchezfan likes this.
  10. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    Brilliant book.
    Jel likes this.
  11. salsanchezfan

    salsanchezfan Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    It's called "Writers' Fighters and other Sweet Scientists" by John Schulian. Brilliant. Saw it available on Amazon, I highly recommend it.
    Jel likes this.
  12. Stevie G

    Stevie G Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jul 17, 2009
    I will start with 'McIlvanney On Boxing' by Hugh McIlvanney. Excellent writing - analytical and emotive.

    Sting Like A Bee - Jose Torres, The first of many that I read about Muhammad Ali. Jose was a fine writer as well as a boxer. In his reports on Ali's bouts with Quarry,Bonavena and Frazier I felt I was there.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
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  13. ikrasevic

    ikrasevic Икрашевић Full Member

    Nov 3, 2021
    autography of Muhammad Ali "I, the greatest". The only book I read about boxing. And donated a book.
  14. KidGalahad

    KidGalahad Member Full Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    what does that mean?
  15. ikrasevic

    ikrasevic Икрашевић Full Member

    Nov 3, 2021
    I donated the book as a birthday present
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