Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Reality is that Mayweather Could End All the Fun

 

Mayweather (l) meets Paul on June 6th.  

Everybody asks me and I tell them that I have no problem with the latest fad in the sport of boxing which has led reality stars to make appearances in real rings.   I opine that if the so-called real fighters were providing customers with real reasons to spend real money to watch them – none of these theatrics would be necessary.


But boxing as it used to be known is gone forever.  The reality is that broadcast programmers, promoters, pacifist state commissions and the omnipotent sanctioning cartels have washed all the grime and violence away, sabotaged the club fights, cast doubt on outcomes and overregulated the sport into oblivion - or what Mike Tyson might call “Bolivian”.


The reality star scene is a new phenomenon.  Led by the twentysomething, lookalike Paul brothers from Ohio, Logan and Jake, who made their bones on YouTube and social media by amassing millions of followers who watch them livestream partying, pranking, stunting and generally being comedically obnoxious. The social influence brothers became stars by selling visceral vicarious voyeurism. In short, the brothers realized that people will pay for a social connection and the hope that if fame happened for Logan and Jake – it could happen for them, too.


Fortune has it that the brothers are somewhat decent athletes. While neophytes to pugilism they seem to have an affinity for boxing and have dedicated themselves to learning the manly pursuit. Their Viking-like physiques, shaggy blonde hair and starry eyes attract the female paying crowd. After three fights, Jake claims to have earned over $20 million from his boxing foray and after years spent on the YouTube and social media circuit, they understand the art of shameless, self-promotion better than anyone around these parts since Don King.  


Social influence brothers Logan (l) and Jake Paul.

Enter Floyd Mayweather, Jr.  At age 44 with a professional boxing record of 50-0 and arguably the most dominant boxer of the past 20 years, Mayweather sees only dollar signs.  “Money” as he is known, claims to have earned $1 billion dollars over the course of his boxing career and by many accounts he may also have spent the same amount.  An itinerant with a steadfast aversion to frugality, Mayweather saw only dollar signs when he learned that real money could made from fighting a reality star in what serves as a boxing match these days.


And so it is that Mayweather will meet 26 year-old Logan Paul this weekend in an exhibition bout in Miami, Florida.  While the retirement since 2017 is not technically over with, Mayweather will need to get his older self into a semblance of condition to meet the motivated Paul who will outweigh him by about 30 pounds, is half a foot taller and 18 years younger – albeit with one pro fight – a loss in November 2019. 

 

Logan Paul is a novice with only one professional bout under his belt.

But the overall feeling is that Mayweather doesn’t belong here.  Aside from the fact he is a grandfather, with five children of his own, and by his own proclamations (not his accountants) a practical billionaire, Mayweather embarked upon his professional boxing career a year after Logan Paul was born.  Some argue Mayweather is the most accomplished boxer of this new century and because his record is 50-0 that he is the best ever.  Certainly he is a first ballot hall of famer.  But this whole thing could best be described as a race between Secretariat and a donkey at a petting zoo, fun to watch to see what the donkey might do, but not a real contest. Truth be told,   Mayweather has forgotten more about boxing than Logan Paul will ever know.


Last month, Logan’s brother, Jake, showed up at the press conference to announce this event and engaged in a fiery face-off and exchange of words with his older brother’s foe and grabbed a ball hat from Mayweather’s head and with impeccable comedic timing yelled, “Gotcha hat!”  This schoolyard action was enough to send the ill-tempered Mayweather into a frothing rage and cameras actually captured him uttering death threats while screaming that he had been “disrespected!” 


It’s unclear as to whether Mayweather ever eventually retrieved his cap, but the next day Jake had a tattoo imprinted upon his leg with an image of a small hat with the words “gotcha hat”.  Of course the tattooing was broadcast around the world on social media platforms by a giggling, sandwich eating Jake. Hours later, T-shirts, hats and hoodies were available for sale with the words “gotcha hat” on a website owned and operated by him. Mayweather had been totally upstaged by a kid.  In this new realm in this new era, Mayweather had been outfoxed and for the first time, outplayed.  Former Mayweather foe Conor McGregor described the entire situation for what is was – ”It’s embarrassing!”


The larger issue, however, is that Mayweather will likely bring an abrupt end to this entire reality star versus real life boxing experiment.  Seemingly angry since birth, Mayweather is approaching this fight with the same venom and hatred he has exhibited for most of his life in the spotlight. Should he make short work of Paul and knock him out or completely befuddle him, then the entire idea of reality versus real life will be completely sabotaged and nobody will want to pay for similar events in the future. There’s a real chance here that Mayweather brings all of this fun to an end which puts boxing back to reality which is really no fun at all – and the reason why all of this started to begin with.   


June 1, 2021   

Monday, April 8, 2019

Ace Hudkins: Boxing With The Nebraska Wildcat


They say the world needs certain people for certain times. People that come along at the right time and in the right place. Boxer Ace Hudkins was one of those people in one of those times. Born and reared in Nebraska, Hudkins would eventually heed the call of “Go West, young man!” to make his fame and fortune inside the dusty boxing rings of 1920s Los Angeles, California.

Author and publisher Kristine Sader tells this brash and adventurous tale of her great uncle within Ace Hudkins: Boxing With The Nebraska Wildcat, 290 pages.

The 1920s was a time in American history when it seemed anything and everything was possible. A time of great promise and upward mobility for those willing to take risks in order to make a better life for themselves and their families. Ace Hudkins was one of those pioneering risk takers.

Athletically gifted as a youth in Nebraska, Hudkins excelled at any sport he attempted - from swimming to running, to baseball to wrestling and eventually boxing. It seemed Ace’s fate was cast early in life to make it as a prizefighter. Alongside his brothers, who served in various capacities throughout what would become a storied boxing career, Hudkins fearlessly set out for parts unknown to conquer the boxing world. What becomes clear in the pages of this book is that Hudkins willed himself to succeed in a sport and a business at that time which summarily chewed up and spat out the faint-hearted. 

Sader’s familiarity with the subject and her in-depth research takes the reader on Hudkins’ swashbuckling adventures from New York City to Chicago to Los Angeles with stops always back home to Nebraska where he was welcomed into the warm arms of his family and feted by adulating crowds. It’s the story of a one-time newsboy from less than humble beginnings who would go on to rub shoulders, befriend and be fawned over by Hollywood actors and actresses and other superstars of the times.

Hudkins made the turn to the paid ranks in 1922 at age 16 and was powered by a youthful, bounding confidence, a never quit constitution and an all-action, aggressive fighting style. He barnstormed through the midwest and within three years he became a must see attraction at the Legion Stadium in Hollywood and the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. His drawing power would later extend nationwide as he engaged in epic battles against the best competition the world had to offer in the most well known stadiums, ballparks and arenas in the United States.

Ace and a furry friend.
One of the central themes is that Ace did not accomplish all he did on his own. His family and his brothers were always watching out for him and guiding him through the shark infested waters of the boxing business. The actual opponent was often a secondary concern as penny-pinching promoters, devious opposing managers and even corrupt boxing officials would invent any angle to protect the champions Hudkins faced. Sader illustrates well that Hudkins’ boxing style was so crowd-pleasing and his personality so endearing that he was a superstar in his own right in a world and a sport at that time which seemed full of superstars.

Sader does an impeccable job of researching her subject with a virtual treasure trove of family pictures, newspaper articles and quirky cartoons unavailable elsewhere. To some extent, the book is written from the standpoint of an extended family member. While Hudkins was certainly an excellent pugilist, he and his brothers were never able to crack the code needed to garner a world championship. It is obviously a subject for debate as to whether Hudkins won fights he was deemed the loser and Sader does manage to present compelling evidence and first-hand accounts to support arguments that Hudkins was indeed robbed of victory on numerous occasions.

A recurring theme throughout the book is family. The Hudkins family relied upon and supported one another all of their lives. Pictures throughout the book show the Hudkins brothers, family and extended family members. Some scenes show a very proud Ace and his family in front of the home he built in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. Ace’s monetary and business success was their success and he was happy to share it with them. During his boxing peak, life was good, money was plentiful and the sun was shining. There were luxurious cars, tailored suits, manicured lawns and landscaped yards. 

For America, for boxing and for his family, Ace Hudkins, the one-time Nebraska newsboy - came along at just the right time.

April 2019



Monday, April 20, 2015

Just Another Prizefight



Some say that in the grand scheme of things, it’s just another prizefight that’s going to take place on the night of on May 2nd. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will both make the long walk from their dressing rooms at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Both men will skip up the steps to the ring, slink their way through the ropes and get ready to do the only thing they have ever done – strip to the waist and do everything in their power to cause bodily harm with their fists. It’s a crude, yet highly lucrative way to make a living.  Few can do it and even fewer can remain at the top for as long as these two men have.

So why has this fight become so big? Why will the world be watching? Why will these two men walk away from the squared circle when the dust eventually settles on that night with an unbelievable monetary fortune?

I’ve thought about this fight for long time. I have seen thousands of prizefights. I’ve broken bread with everyone from Jake LaMotta to Arturo Gatti to Muhammad Ali and yes even Mayweather and Pacquiao. I’ve sat feet away from the ring and watched Mayweather pummel Diego Corrales. I’ve seen him take the punches and make the adjustments that he needed to make in order to pull an ace from the stocked deck dealt to him by the Golden Boy. Same goes for Pacquiao. I’ve watched him train at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. I’ve seen him beat Miguel Cotto and many others while seated only feet away.


Both men are exquisite talents. When they are gone they will be missed. At bar stools and barber shops we will speak their names with reverence and admiration. We will fawn when recalling Mayweather’s defense. We will speak excitedly and with animation when remembering Pacquiao’s explosive punching power. They say that every fighter in boxing is replaceable. Marciano eventually replaced Louis. It took a welterweight “Sugar” Ray Leonard to replace a larger than life heavyweight named Muhammad Ali. Maybe Mayweather and Pacquiao have replaced the names Leonard, Duran, Hearns and Hagler. And so it goes.        

But I think the reason why this fight is attracting the attention that it has is simple. It’s the age old battle of good versus evil. Now, I am not saying Mayweather is an evil person. In fact, I believe he is far from it. He is often misunderstood and he can be abrasive and he can be rude. His choices in behavior are questionable and he does flaunt his wealth in a time when many go without. A gluttonous gambler of enormous dollar amounts who has been convicted and jailed for domestic abuse, he enjoys the company of exotic dancers. For whatever reason - he often appears angry.  The public’s perception – right or wrong - is that Mayweather wears a dark hat.


In the other corner is Pacquiao. A God-fearing family man devoted to the Lord and the people of the Philippines. A public servant there as a Congressman, they say he might one day become President. He came from the dirt and the dusty squalor of the Philippines.  As he said, “I want the people to know that God can raise people from nothing into something.  And that’s me. I came from nothing into something. I owe everything to God. He gave me this blessing. It’s all due to the Lord.”

What I have come to understand about big fights such as this, fights that turn into something bigger than a fight – is that all the match-ups from the past that transcended the fight itself have this element of good versus evil.  Jack Dempsey vs. Georges Carpentier in 1921 was labeled the “Battle of the Century” and of course Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier in 1971 was the “Fight of the Century” and on and on. Even Duran vs. Leonard in 1980 had the sneering, bearded Panamanian against Leonard, an endearing American hero. In order for fights to “grow big” the public has to identify with one side or the other – there can be no middle ground. There has to be passion about either man and there has to be the other piece that is so important – uncertainty surrounding the outcome.

Mayweather versus Pacquiao has all of these things.

And while we will all wake up the morning of May 3rd and log on to our various devices to read about the fight - the world will move on. Just as it did when Dempsey sent the war hero pilot Carpentier crashing to the ground in flames.  Just as it did when Frazier “got the job done” against Ali and both men went to the hospital. Just as it did when Duran mugged Sugar Ray in the Montreal rain.


But this one is different. It feels like it means more. Manny fights for every single soul of his entire nation. If you ask him what he wants to achieve through boxing he speaks first of his homeland and helping the countless souls there that cling to a meager life.  Each day he prays to a higher power to help him help his people. He gives away his money and provides for countless people in his bloated  entourage. How could you not wish a man well who gives so much of himself?

And if Mayweather wins? Does that mean that evil trumps good? Does that mean that Mayweather continues on to forever claim that he is the best fighter that has ever lived? Undefeated. Unquestionable. For some that very thought is unnerving. What will this man do with over $100 million made in one night? Will he buy more jets? Make bigger bets? More cars? More jewelry? More women? Will he do the good that Pacquiao will?

There are times when things are more than they seem. It’s sometimes not until afterwards that we realize it. Events. Simple things. Games. Marriages and divorces.


But Mayweather versus Pacquiao is just another prizefight.  Right?


April 2015

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mike Tyson is Still Fighting the Fight


Mike Tyson will tell you that he never believed he would live long 
enough to put his words into a book about his life. It is that life which he lays bare in his memoir "Undisputed Truth," written with Larry Sloman.


It is a fascinating look at the life of the former heavyweight champion of the world - “warts and all” as the saying goes. Tyson is a subject that is easily hated and then easily loved a few pages later. His incredible journey is a swinging pendulum of dichotomy and contradictions.


From his troubled upbringing on the streets of Brownsville, Brooklyn to his ascension to the throne of the heavyweight boxing championship to his incarceration for the rape of Desiree Washington to his eventual rebirth as a prizefighter and eventually to a drug addled vagabond - it is all here.


I found it stunning that I thought I knew all there was to know about Mike Tyson. He and I are close in age and I have been a boxing writer, author and fan since I was a child. I followed his heavyweight championship reign and all the news that was all things Tyson very closely for 30 years. But in the book Tyson details his story in his words and tells of his ill-fated marriage to Robin Givens, his troubled relationship with promoter Don King and the three years he spent incarcerated during the early 90s.


Tyson’s insecurities and inferiority complex virtually consumed him even as he proclaimed himself to be “the baddest man on the planet” during the heyday of his boxing career. An admitted alcoholic whose favorite drink was Hennessy cognac coupled with cocaine, pot and sometimes a morphine drip, Tyson traveled the world spending up to $300,000 at a time on Versace clothing. His sexual conquests read like a Who’s Who of the celebrity world even as he spares many names to protect the innocent.  


At times, Tyson comes off as a vile monster. Other times, he is a helpless soul meandering through life in an  identity which he created and that has taken on a life of its own. This is a central theme of the book and it helps one to see how this troubled man was at times taken advantage of, but also how he took advantage of others. His mentor, father-figure and savant Cus D’Amato helped to shape and mold him as a youth, but when he passed away prematurely Tyson was left to navigate the shark-infested waters of his boxing career - and ultimately his life - all alone.

Tyson pictured with Cus D'Amato in Catskill, New York.
An obvious student of history, war and human dynamics, Tyson is analytical and very introspective about his actions and his place in the world. The accidental death of his daughter had a profound effect on him and it still threatens to destroy him to this day. The grief he feels is such that he will likely never overcome it. His continuing battle with alcohol and drugs also threaten to derail his very existence.


While every man ultimately reaches a tipping point in life which they believe will lead to a better future, it is not clear whether after all that he been through if  Mike Tyson has reached his. Being the student of history that he is, perhaps Tyson is destined to repeat the mistakes of his boxing heroes such as Harry Greb, Sonny Liston and Joe Louis, Their lives ended tragically and Tyson identifies strongly with their plight.


While this book is voluminous, it is a quick and fascinating read. The title “Undisputed Truth” is the truth only as Tyson perceives it and it has been said it’s not a lie as long as you believe it. Certainly others would dispute much of Tyson’s recollections. He has undeniably made many enemies throughout his life and points the finger of blame mainly at others. He has apologized for many of his past misdeeds (including biting a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear) and he has made many efforts to reconcile his past. He credits his current and third wife, Kiki, for providing him with a moral compass and guiding him through the dense forest of his life. 

However, one can’t help but think this is only the first volume of the free fall flight which is a life that has only recently emerged from decades of turbulence. In the end, Tyson is clear with his readers that he is still a work in progress and that each dawn presents new doubts and new questions. The same old demons frequently rear their ugly head and because of that his fight is far from hearing the gong of final bell.  



December 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Crashing the Gennady Golovkin Party

WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin.
This past weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York City, WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin (aka Triple G or simply GGG) knocked out Australian challenger and former belt-holder Daniel Geale in three rounds. The bout was televised by HBO.

Golovkin, born in Kazakhstan, is undefeated with a record of 30-0, 27 KOs. He is amiable, engaging and possesses a demeanor that endears him to fans. He is a very good puncher and is exciting to watch. Quite simply, he is a breath of fresh air for the fight scene. He also seems to have somehow hypnotized those that cover the sport into believing he is the second coming of Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Henry Armstrong all rolled into one package.

It is a perplexing celebration for a fighter that in reality is untested to some degree. Yet within hours of   dispatching Geale, boxing websites and blogs lit up with headlines such as these: “GGG: Great, Great, Great” and “GGG = WOW” and “Is this the hardest hitting fighter on the planet?” and “Gennady Golovkin’s Legend Grows as KO Streak Continues vs. Daniel Geale.” One writer floated the fallacy that Golovkin could be one of the hardest middleweight punchers that has ever lived. And finally another headline: “Are there still doubters of Gennady Golovkin?”  

My answer? Yes there are still doubters. And I am one of them.

Those that profess to cover the sport, particularly in America, were tripping over themselves with what seemed a mix of infatuation, glee, mania and downright lust after Geale hit the floor and decided he could not continue. While I agree with the fact that Golovkin is a very good fighter - my thought is we need to tone down the praise for him, his efforts and his accomplishments.

Some have even dared say that he is better than former middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler which would lead me to think they also are of the notion he is a better middleweight than Bernard Hopkins.

Based on what Golovkin has achieved so far in a professional career that dates back to 2006, the bottom line is that he is nowhere near either of those two who are generally regarded as the two best middleweights of the past 30 years. Hagler was undefeated for 11 years, unified the middleweight crowns which he held for six-and-a-half years and defeated Tommy Hearns in one of the greatest fights in all of boxing history. Then there is Hopkins, who also unified the middleweight championships, defended the titles a record 20 times and was champion in some shape, form or fashion for 11 years.

In comparison, Golovkin has held one major title belt (WBA) for three-and-a-half years. He is an active fighter and he has defended that title 10 times. The most notable name on his record is Geale or perhaps Matthew Macklin whom he defeated last year. Aside from those two names, the opponents Golovkin has met and defeated are an unremarkable collection.

So why the seeming puppy love with him from the boxing media?

I think it has to do with several factors. Golovkin is an extremely nice person. Very accomodating, gentlemanly and he is always smiling. He has also surrounded himself with like associates in the form of promoter Tom Loeffler and trainer Abel Sanchez. Both of those men are true gentlemen, astute, intelligent and always willing to talk about the prowess of their man Gennady. Another factor that makes Golovkin a media favorite is that he likes to remain active. In an age when the top boxers fight on average twice a year, Golovkin has fought ten times in the past three or so years. He is also new on the scene for the most part. The media seems to have found a new star whom to hitch their wagon as fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez prepare to ride off into the twilight of their long careers. Lastly, Golovkin is perceived as the “good guy” hero. There is no doubt that Golovkin wears the white cape in any boxing promotion he is involved with while the opponent will be the one wearing the dark hat. So, while not an underdog, he is seen as a likeable alternative to the abrasive Floyd Mayweather, Jr. or the petulant Andre Ward.

HBO has gone “all in” on the Golovkin love affair. They recently signed him to a contract extension to appear on their airwaves and commentators Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman were effusive in their praise while watching from ringside. HBO unofficial judge Harold Lederman recently proclaimed that, “I love Gennady Golovkin.”

It seems the one true voice of reason is not going to be found in those that cover boxing or the “boxing media” as it is of 2014. The one true voice of clarity seems to come from that of Tom Loeffler, Gennady’s promoter, who was the one toning down all the rhetoric during the media love festival.

“Abel did compare Gennady to Marvin Hagler,” said Loeffler this past Saturday. “There wasn’t any disrespect at all to Marvin Hagler. All of us on the team have a ton of respect for what Hagler has accomplished in his career. He just thinks that Gennady is on that level and the way he took out Geale, who is one of the top guys, I mean, I don’t think there is anyone at 160 pounds that can stand for twelve rounds with Gennady Golovkin.”

That is about as close to the truth as you will hear in this day and age. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax. If Golovkin is as good as everyone is writing that he is then he will have his chance to prove it. He has yet to unify his championship. He has yet to meet a top pound-for-pound opponent. He has yet to headline a pay-per-view or pull in big television ratings in America. He has yet to face adversity or an opponent that has been able to push him. He has yet to do anything that would warrant a comparison to Marvin Hagler, Bernard Hopkins or as one of the most powerful middleweights who’s ever lived.


But for whatever reason, most wish to ignore those facts.


July 2014    

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bouts of Mania: Ali, Frazier, Foreman and an America on the Ropes


Review – Bouts of Mania: Ali, Frazier, Foreman and an America on the Ropes.

Former Sports Illustrated senior writer Richard Hoffer (Something in the Air: American Passion and Defiance in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, 2009, etc.) puts forth a new addition on the last “golden age” of boxing that was the United States of the 1970s and the battles among three boxers that would eventually be considered among the great heavyweight champions.

Hoffer offers us a unique and in depth insight into the personalities of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman who all won Olympic Gold medals for their country and later became famous in the decade of the 1970s when America was deep into the Vietnam War and Watergate with President Richard Nixon at the helm. It would be a mistake to believe that there is nothing new or unique in this book. While the stories of all three men have been told countless times in several documentaries and  numerous books Hoffer does well to recreate the events and times that led to all three men facing one another.

There is the wonderful story of how Don King was introduced into boxing by the “impish” Don Elbaum. The fact that the Kingston, Jamaica fight between Frazier and Foreman known as the “Sunshine Showdown” was promoted by a bookie named Lucien Chen.  And of course there is the “Thrilla in Manila” bout  between Ali and Frazier that Hoffer describes as “a kind of self-immolation” in which they attempted to destroy one another.

The behind-the-scenes lead up to the “Fight of the Century” in 1971 between Frazier and Ali, the “Rumble in the Jungle” between Foreman and Ali and of course the “Thrilla in Manila” are all exquisitely detailed. Hoffer tells us about the cast of characters that made these fights happen and the associates that surrounded the fighters in such a manner that it makes these events from four decades ago come to life again.

There is fine prose to be found in the pages. Here is one shining example: 

“There are few events, in life and even in sports, that have the same capacity for surprise as a boxing match. A heavyweight bout, even one for a title, can be dull, inconclusive, a plodding affair as two tacticians struggle for the smallest advantages, each mindful of terrible consequences that are natural to the game. Sometimes there will be flurries of abandon, as the combatants briefly reach beyond their comfort zones. Or, on the rarest of occasions, it can detonate in a sudden explosion of surprise. It can happen in less than a second:  long-held values vacated, a bias corrected, the surety of opinion canceled, a whole foundation of belief instantly subsumed, swallowed up in an instant. What was once a strictly choreographed dance becomes a blast sector. All in the time it takes a man to swing his arm.”

Ali receives top-billing in the book and that is justifiably so. But much is also there for the taking when it comes to the psyches and lives of both Joe Frazier and George Foreman. Both men were often times unsure of themselves and their place in life, boxing and the country. Frazier was a wannabe singer who traveled the globe with his band. The young Foreman was nothing like the champion and eventual pitch-man he would eventually become and he suffered from confidence problems before Archie Moore came to his rescue and transformed him into a sullen beast.

Hoffer wonderully describes an era when these boxing legends were paraded and chided by great newspapermen such as Red Smith, Dick Young and Jimmy Cannon. The smoky and carnival-like atmospheres were beamed into theatres and homes while each punch was described by Don Dunphy or Burt Lancaster or Howard Cosell. Then of course literary heavyweights such as Norman Mailer and George Plimpton occupied ringside seats in order to put into words what all of these fights really meant to the fighters and the world.  Hoffer has carried on that wonderful tradition and brilliantly illuminated the last “golden age” of boxing. “Bouts of Mania” takes us back to a time and place when the country was as complicated and dark as it is today, but when viewed through Hoffer’s colorful kaleidoscope it is wonderful to see.


July 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

Stewart publishes The Fight Racket

The cover picture of T.K. Stewart's newly released book The Fight Racket.  

Longtime boxing writer T.K. Stewart has published his first book The Fight Racket: Inside the World of Professional Boxing. It was released on February 20, 2014 and published by CreateSpace an Amazon company.

Stewart has chronicled the fight game for nearly two decades for websites such as BoxingSceneMax Boxing, FOX Sports and The Ring magazine. T.K. has been ringside for some of the most legendary bouts in boxing history and always likes to tell people that he saw all three of the epic fights between Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward.

"It was a great thirteen months of fights," says Stewart of the Gatti-Ward battles. "I was lucky enough to see all of them and they were like something out of a Hollywood movie. I proposed to my wife on the beach in Atlantic City the night before the second fight and we spent the night celebrating with some boxing guys at The Irish Pub just off the Boardwalk, so that's always memorable, too!"

The book is a compilation of what T.K. refers to as "stories" and it's a big book of 575 pages. "There are stories in there that go back ten or eleven years," says Stewart. "I included as the prologue the column I wrote in 2010 that won first place in the boxing column category in the annual Boxing Writers Association of America writing awards. There's a neat story at the end in Chapter 25 which I entitled 'The Greatest Fight I Ever Saw' and I think people will be surprised by that one."

Stewart has had the idea rolling around in his head to publish his work since about 2010 and says he has plans for another. "You know, this process was an awful lot of work, but it was also an awful lot of fun at the same time," he says. "The creative process is something I really enjoy going through. I have a good idea for another book on boxing, not a compilation of my work, but I have a certain subject and a certain fight in mind that nobody else has done. It's a secret for now, but I'd like to get to work on it right away."

Stewart says the book is geared toward boxing fans and there are chapters in the book on certain fighters such as Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. There are also chapters on Don King, Bob Arum and Freddie Roach.

"I think people will enjoy the stories and going to the places I have been lucky enough to go," says Stewart. "I've been to Vegas for several fights, Madison Square Garden, hung out at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood and have been to the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos so many times that the security guys used to joke I needed my own parking space! I 've even been to the Copacabana that Barry Manilow sang about for a boxing related affair!"

More than anything, Stewart says he just wants the folks that read the book to enjoy losing themselves in the stories about the fights and the fighters.

"It's all about the fighters and their stories," says T.K. "They have the most interesting stories and backstories of anyone. You really couldn't make some of the stuff up and you couldn't write a screenplay that would be any funnier, outrageous or sad than some of the stories these guys have - so I want people to have fun with it when they read it."


February 2014