Newspaper Archive of
Post-Gazette
Boston, Massachusetts
Lyft
July 18, 2014     Post-Gazette
PAGE 16     (16 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 16     (16 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
July 18, 2014
 

Newspaper Archive of Post-Gazette produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2017. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.




Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, JULY 18, 2014 w" BOXING BY THE BOOK Summer Reading Recommendations (Part I) It's summer, the time of the year when people like to kick back and relax with a good book. Over the years there have been many good boxing books written. With this in mind, I reached out to a number of people knowledgeable about the sport and asked them r readingrecommendatioas. I got some great replies and am sharing them with you, my readers. I think you will find some titles you have heard of and a number that may be new to you. Some are recently published works, and others go back a number of years. Look- ing over this list I can safely say I second all of these recommendations. I would also like to thank all of my friends from around the world for taking the time to share their suggestions with us. Enjoy the summer and a good book. I'll kick this off with my two choices. Nardo, Memoirs of a Boxing Champion by Tony DeMarco is not only the fascinating autobiogra- phy of the great former World Welter-weight Cham- pion, it is also a remarkable story about growing up in Boston's North End during the mid twentieth century as well as a tale of over- coming much adversity and tragedy. Tony is as classy a writer as he was a boxer. When I was a young teen I read a book called The Contender by Robert Lipsyte. It is a novel about an inner city gym and the kids who go there to take up amateur box- ing and how some were saved from a life of poverty and crime and others fell through the cracks. It captured beautifully the atmosphere I would later encounter at the New Garden Gym in Boston. It was written for a younger audience, but would certainly be enjoyed by anyone who spent time in the boxing gyms of a few years ago. SPRINGS TOLEDO: Springs Toledo is an award-winning boxing writer and author of the newly-released book, The Gods of War: Boxing Essays (Tora, 2014). Contact him at scalinatella@hotmail, corn for signed or inscribed copies. Both Members of the Club by Adam Berlin (Texas Review Press, 2013) Back in 1909, George Bellows painted "Both Mem- bers of The Club" in New York City and was dismissed as an "ashcan artist" by the crystal and ivy set. His work has aged well. Anyone approaching it will forget neither the very human expression on the los- ing fighter's face nor the inhuman expres- sions in the roiling crowd. Bellow's canvas is a blast of emotions achieved in a blast of colors. Medium: oil. Message: visceral. Adam Berlin writes as Bellows painted, tak- ing his audience roughly by the hand and pulling us into places where the darker side of human nature isn't always kept in check. Like Bellows, Berlin knows our capacity for both heroism and depravity; and his novella dramatically explores these competing du- alities. Like Bellows, Berlin sees no distance between the Upper East Side and Bushwick (or for that matter, Beacon Hill and Humboldt Avenue) that isn't contrived. Both Members of the Club is the work of an "ashcan artist," only now, that designation distinguishes. Live Fast, Die Young: The Life and Times of Harry Greb by S.L. Compton (Windmill, 2006) S.L. Compton's biography of Harry Grab, published last summer, is an accomplish- ment that borders on heroic. At 715 pages, it isn't easy to lug to the beach, but boxing aficionados might choose in- stead to stay home on their favorite chair under a fan by the window -- because Harry Grab makes good company. This book is highly recommended for history buffs, sports fans, and anyone who has ever doubted that Muhammad All is truly "The (pound-for- pound) Greatest." Compton takes charge from the opening bell and readers soon realize that this whirlwind read is an apt reflection of Greb's whirlwind fighting style. Grab rises off the pages as something unlike any other fighter in history. His force of will was noth- ing less than astounding; his speed and ring generalship more than enough to reduce 15 Hall of Famers to mere playthings. Over the past five years, boxing historians have be- gun to realize that Grab is indeed the great- est. Buy this book and see why. DAN CUOCO: Dan is the Director of the Intemational Boxing Research Organization. He is the world's fore- most boxing historian. Recently, Dan accepted the position of Ring 4 Historian. The Professional by W. C. Heinz The Professional is my all-time favorite sports novel. It was originally pub- lished in 1958 and tells the fictional story of boxer Eddie Brown's quest for the middleweight champion- ship of the world. W. C. Heinz, whom I consider one of the sport's greatest box- ing writers, gives us two memorable char- acters in Eddie Brown and his crusty trainer, Doc Carroll. They are at the heart of this poignant story as they bond together with their eye on the only prize that matters -- the middleweight championship. Inter- woven in their story is a realistic depiction of the 1950s circus-like atmosphere around boxing with its assorted hangers-on, crooked promoters, and jaded journalists. Heinz's trademark you-are-there writing style is in full display in The Professional. Noted author Pete Hamill describes The Professional as one of the five best sports novels ever written. I strongly recommend this enter- taining book to all followers of the sport. The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science by Mike Silver Mike Silver's excellent MIKE SILVER book focuses in great detail on the burning question: are today's boxer's better than their predecessors, or is modern boxing a shadow of its former self?. Silver utilizes not only his own vast knowl- edge, but also the insights of world-renowned scholars, some of the sport's premier trainers, and former amateur and professional world cham- pions. The list includes trainers Teddy Atlas, Freddie Roach, Emanuel Steward, Mike Capriano, Jr., and former lightweight cham- pion Carlos Ortiz. Chapters cover such topics as the ongoing deterioration of boxers' skills, their endurance, the decline in the number of fights and the psychological readiness of championship-caliber boxers. The strengths and weaknesses of today's superstars are analyzed and compared to those of such past greats as Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey and Jake LaMotta. This book is a must-read for all fight fans who care about boxing. A PAUSE IN SUMMER'S SOFTLY TURNING CLOCK -- The seasons changed at the doorway, they did, and quite abruptly we might add, going from a rather sultry late morning 90-degree experi- ence in the north of Boston suburbs to a zestful, cooler and refreshing oasis once we passed through the por- tals that served as the demar- cation between these imme- diate changes in climate. The occasion was the eighth annual Boston Bruins Development Camp at Ris- tuccia Arena in Wilmington, with the emphasis on the community where this five- day-hockey fast took place, given that the B's have announced plans to open their own practice facility in Brighton by the Fall of 2016. For many who have never attended, let's just say that they are missing practices that feature intense drills conducted under the watch- ful eyes of the coaching staffs of both the B's and their AHL Providence affiliate. The camp brought together 23 prospects, including 17 players in the Bruins organi- zation (including the four 2014 draft selections) and six others who attended on an invitational basis. It's a big thrill for the young- sters to put on the spoken B sweaters for the sessions. Some are in their early 20s, a few are teens and most, if truth be told, will never play for the Boston Bruins. That's not to say they won't play hockey somewhere. .They comprised a talented group. All will play this com- ing season, either in juniors, in the minors or overseas, even perhaps for a prep school squad. Eventually, a few may play in the 30-team NHL. But most will never play for the Boston Bruins. One who may crack the lineup someday is goalie Malcolm Subban, the younger brother of Montreal star player P.K. Subban. Boston fans will recall P.K. as being an absolute thorn in the side of the B's during the second round of the Stanley Cup play, offs this past spring. Malcolm spent last year in Providence, playing in 33 games while compiling a 15- 10-5 mark and 2.31 goals against average. He may well be the goalie of the future for the B's. But not this year or the next couple. After all, Tuukka Rask just won the Vezina trophy, emblematic of the league's best goaltender. Plus the B's have already signed Niklas Svedberg for the coming season after not offering a contract renewal to Chad Johnson. Then there's David Pas- trnak, a teenage defenseman who bounced around in Europe last year, playing for a total of six teams in just one season. He finished the year by playing in 36 contests for a club in the Swedish Second Division League, scoring 16 goals and adding 33 assists for a total of 49 points over the course of his 81-game year- long travel odyssey. Also coming in for his share of positive comments was Ryan Donato, the son of former Bruins player and cur- rent Harvard hockey coach Ted Donato. Drafted in the second round by the B's, the junior forward put together an impressive 78-point season (37-41-78) while playing a 30- game schedule at the Dexter School. Just where Ryan will play this fall was a bit unre- solved as camp ended. He may return for his senior season at Dexter in Brookline or elect to play juniors. He eventually hopes to play for his father at Harvard. But first he must be admitted, no small feat to accomplish at the prestigious institution. At the end of the final ses- sion on July 13 the players gathered in a circle at center ice and raised their sticks to the fans on hand, all of whom responded with hearty con- gratulations and farewells. Then they left the ice, a good number never to return to Ristuccia while a select few will be back next year. It was a step taken on life's jour- ney, one with unique twists and turns for each but a memory for all that will last forever. A VOYAGE FOR ALL TIME --. It was 45 years ago this week when one of humanity's most outstanding achieve- ments took place. Depending on where one was in the world (there are 24 time zones) it was either July 20 th or July 21 st, 1969 when astro- naut Neil Armstrong came out of the lunar module and became the first person in history to step on the surface of the moon. Who can forget those immortal words: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." But did you know that something was missing? It was ex- plained later that there was transmission static and what Armstrong actually had said was: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong was joined on the surface by fellow astro- naut Buzz Aldrin. Together they explored the area in the immediate vicinity of the landing craft, collecting about 48 pounds of material (including 50 moon rocks) to bring back to earth. They placed a plaque upon the surface bearing the inscription: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon July, 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." Armstrong and Aldrin left the surface and returned to the orbiting spacecraft which was piloted by astronaut Michael Collins. The three returned safely to a welcome befitting their status as heroes. Sadly, Neil Armstrong died of coronary problems on August 25, 2012 at the age of 82. Aldrin and Collins are looking forward to the 50 'h anniversary celebrations of the mission in 2019.