"No other subject is, for the writer, so intensely personal as boxing. To write about boxing is to write about oneself--however elliptically, and unintentionally. And to write about boxing is to be forced to contemplate not only boxing, but the perimeters of civilization--what it is, or should be, to be 'human' . . .
The sport seems in crisis, its best practitioners no less than its most dubious contaminate by association with fixed fights, manipulated judges, questionable referees. Demands for its abolition are made, indignation is aroused, well-argued editorials are printed, deals continue to be made, boxers continue to be , managed.' occasionally there is a boxing match that, in its demonstration of skill, courage, intelligence, hope, seems to redeem the sport--or almost. Perhaps boxing has always been in crisis a sport of crisis.
Without doubt, it is our most dramatically 'masculine' sport, and our most dramatically 'self-destructive' sport. In this, for some for us, its abiding interest lies."
--Joyce Carol Oates,
from the Foreword