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Hall of Fame YOUR top ten boxing books.

#22
1. Jake La Motta - Raging Bull: Shits all over the film and is a crazy book. La Motta is brutally honest and it has one of the best twists I've read in a book. Not sure if its all true and to what extent but the guy admits being a rapist in it so he's not exactly trying to make himself look good. Gives a good assessment of some of his fights but its more the story behind the boxing than to it.

2. Johnny Tapia - Mi Vida Loca: Pretty much as above but Johnny is way more lovable, just charts his life and delves a lot into his career - pretty tragic from beginning to end, his mothers murder, drug addiction, jail, growing up as the runt in his grandparents. Its a mad book, you really want him to defy the odds but the guy gets himself into some off the most fucked up situations.

3. Geoffrey Ward - Unforgivable Blackness: The Jack Johnson Story : Looks back through Johnsons career and charts the rise from nomad to champion, the fight against racism and the historical significance of Johnsons career/life. Really informative read. There's meant to be a better one out there (in two parts I think) but I aint got a chance to reading it yet.

4. Sugar Ray Leonard - The Big Fight: Excellent take on Leonards career fromt he man himself, pulls no punches and tells a truthful bio.

5. Christian Giudice - Hands of Stone: You don't get Durans nput but its a pretty good and interesting read on the man, very well researched.

6. Teddy Atlas - Atlas: Another that seems like an honest take on his career (to the time) goes to town on Tyson, has interesting tales on his younger days as a troubled youth, some good tales about Moorer.

7. Larry Holmes - Against the Odds: I really liked this book, theres nothing really mind blowing in it but its a solid read and Larry seems like a good bloke. Isn't afraid to tell it how he sees it in accordance to ALi, the Marciano drama etc. Guy has his head screwed on.

8. Mark Kram - Ghosts of Manilla: Very interesting take on the Ali-Frazier rivalry, probably not for Ali fans:lol:

9. Rob Steele - Sonny Liston, His Life Strife & The Phantom Punch: Its the best bio on Liston I have read to date, there is quite a few out there but this one does its best to call the story down the middle and is pretty interesting. Still come out of it feeling like Liston was a mystery mind.

10. Tyson - Undisputed Truth: this one again comes with a no bones approach although theirs plenty out there to dispute some of his takes on the rape and criminal activities. Still though its a pretty engaging story about his childhood and how he coped with fame and ascending to the top at such a young age to where he is now.
When I saw your Liston choice I was glad it wasn't "Sonny Boy" mate. I once bought that and it was probably the WORST boxing book Ive ever read. I think I could have done better off the top of my head and Im not kidding. Now who's jealous lads? But seriously it was rubbish. Forgot the authors name but he wrote a couple more with obvious,unimaginative titles. To anybody interested in Liston,a good subject for a book, my advice is to avoid at all costs.
 

Flea Man

'Nak Muay Sakon: The Boxers of Thailand 1946-1996'
#26
1. Jake La Motta - Raging Bull: Shits all over the film and is a crazy book. La Motta is brutally honest and it has one of the best twists I've read in a book. Not sure if its all true and to what extent but the guy admits being a rapist in it so he's not exactly trying to make himself look good. Gives a good assessment of some of his fights but its more the story behind the boxing than to it.

2. Johnny Tapia - Mi Vida Loca: Pretty much as above but Johnny is way more lovable, just charts his life and delves a lot into his career - pretty tragic from beginning to end, his mothers murder, drug addiction, jail, growing up as the runt in his grandparents. Its a mad book, you really want him to defy the odds but the guy gets himself into some off the most fucked up situations.

3. Geoffrey Ward - Unforgivable Blackness: The Jack Johnson Story : Looks back through Johnsons career and charts the rise from nomad to champion, the fight against racism and the historical significance of Johnsons career/life. Really informative read. There's meant to be a better one out there (in two parts I think) but I aint got a chance to reading it yet.

4. Sugar Ray Leonard - The Big Fight: Excellent take on Leonards career fromt he man himself, pulls no punches and tells a truthful bio.

5. Christian Giudice - Hands of Stone: You don't get Durans nput but its a pretty good and interesting read on the man, very well researched.

6. Teddy Atlas - Atlas: Another that seems like an honest take on his career (to the time) goes to town on Tyson, has interesting tales on his younger days as a troubled youth, some good tales about Moorer.

7. Larry Holmes - Against the Odds: I really liked this book, theres nothing really mind blowing in it but its a solid read and Larry seems like a good bloke. Isn't afraid to tell it how he sees it in accordance to ALi, the Marciano drama etc. Guy has his head screwed on.

8. Mark Kram - Ghosts of Manilla: Very interesting take on the Ali-Frazier rivalry, probably not for Ali fans:lol:

9. Rob Steele - Sonny Liston, His Life Strife & The Phantom Punch: Its the best bio on Liston I have read to date, there is quite a few out there but this one does its best to call the story down the middle and is pretty interesting. Still come out of it feeling like Liston was a mystery mind.

10. Tyson - Undisputed Truth: this one again comes with a no bones approach although theirs plenty out there to dispute some of his takes on the rape and criminal activities. Still though its a pretty engaging story about his childhood and how he coped with fame and ascending to the top at such a young age to where he is now.
I hate Unforgiveable Blackness.
 
#31
Didn't see it listed but I like the Fight, a book about tge Rumble in the Jungle. Dark Trade is my absolute fave and I really liked the biography of Sam Langford.
 

Chinny

So Called Expert
#32
i'm a big fan of a.j. leibling ..its the detail..things like how tommy jackson spent his spare time shooting rats.

tris dixons book is like living his epic journey by his side with him ..that book has to be read by any boxing fan.

joe louis autobiography ...what a great read...it is written like joe is sat beside you on a bar stool telling you everything about his life...warts and all..and written like how he would phrase everything...from falling out of love with boxing but having to continue due to the tax bill...to shagging porn stars and picking up std's...he tells all.

40 world champions tell their story...what a great read...one example...gunboat smith telling how his gloves were loaded and how jess willards ear was hanging off in their fight.

and the gift that keeps on giving...the epic wonderful huge piece of work that is steve comptons book on harry greb...all factual, unlike previous greb books by fair and paxton...this has some wonderful newspaper clippings and artwork...its truly fascinating.
I'll be ordering the 3 on your list I don't have (louis, 40 world champs, Greb) today, Doug, cheers.
 

Chinny

So Called Expert
#34
Given I have a man crush on Duran (full homo) I wasn't mad keen on Hands of Stone. Guidiluce (spelling?) seemed far too far from the action. He hadn't ever seen Duran fight live and the whole exercise seemed far too distant and academic to me.
Which is fine for a long forgotten subject, but there are plenty around who could provide a greater feel for the essence of the man, in my opinion.
 

Flea Man

'Nak Muay Sakon: The Boxers of Thailand 1946-1996'
#35
1. Steve Compton's book on Harry Greb is the greatest boxing book of all time. It's genuinely important.
2. Adam Pollack's book on Fitzsimmons
3. The Gods of War: Springs Toledo
4. Pollack's book on Jeffries
5. Clay Moyle's book on Langford
6. Pollack's 'The Rise' on Jack Johnson
7. In This Corner, Peter Heller interviews champs and contenders throughout the eras
8. Muscle and Mayhem: A bit too much non-boxing related stuff, but an interesting read about forgotten great Kid Lavigne
9. The Hurt Business: A good collection of great pieces
 
#36
On holiday so haven't got the time to do a proper list but there's an obvious number one for me.


The Tao of Muhammad Ali - Davis Miller

An unbelievable book by someone that had a personal insight into the man after his career finished. Davis is also a superb writer, criminally underrated.
 
#38
It's completely biased. And wrong on a fair few counts IIRC.

Trash IMO.
It was about a decade ago when I read it. Didn't seem particularly biased though, if anything I thought it held back some at the time. Didn't really delve into how bad the colour divide was.

TBH I probably wont even remember anything it got wrong or right in that time gap though.
 
#39
I'm eager to read that Ezzad Charles book that came out last year. At the minute I'm reading four different books so I've vowed not to buy anymore until I've at least read those ones - probably go on a spree afterwards mind.
 

Felix

A noble savage.
#40
I'll come back to this but Johnny Nelson's is great
Yeah? He strikes me as an interesting guy who goes a little under the radar because he doesn't have the same aura as the REALLY big names, and he lacks the controversy of some guys.

Personally, I've not read a HUGE amount of boxing books, but I can recommend the following:

Unforgivable Blackness - Geoffrey C.Ward
Dark Trade - Donald McRae
Ghosts of Manila - Mark Kram
Boxing Confidential - Jim Brady - Essential read for anyone interested in the depths of corruption in boxing, as is:
The Life and Crimes of Don King: The Shame of Boxing in America - Jack Newfield
Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times - Thomas Hauser
Undisputed Truth - Mike Tyson - Enjoyed it but felt I it skimmed over some details, and perhaps was a little economical with the full facts, in places.

Currently I'm at various stages of the following:

Four Kings - Kimball - seems a good read so far.
A Man's World - Donald McRae - very good so far, based on the first 100 or so pages I'd definitely recommend it.
Charley Burley and the Black Murderers' Row - Harry Otty - again, seems good from what I've read, and heard very good things about it.
Ted Kid Lewis: His Life and Times - Morton Lewis - again, it's a decent read, though I didn't finish it, and despite being written by Lewis' son, it doesn't suffer the same way I felt Kahn's book on Dempsey does.

Also read A Flame of Pure Fire, by Roger Kahn, but while I found that to be vivid and informative, it was a little too coloured by the author's bias to be one I'd really recommend. [MENTION=248]Chinny[/MENTION], I see you recommended it; did you find that at times Kahn slipped into sycophantic fan-worship?

Another one I was a little undecided on was The Fight, by Norman Mailer. It's well-written but, in my opinion, serves better as an example of Mailer's prowess as a writer than as a document of the events themselves.

There are perhaps a few others but without being at home to check by bookcase I can't be certain. Oh; Calzaghe's "auto"biography isn't one I'd recommend. The bits I read bored me.
 
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