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The Great Fights: A Pictorial History of Boxing's Greatest Bouts Hardcover – February 1, 1981
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John L. Sullivan-Jake Kilrain
James J. Corbett-Sullivan
Joe Gans-Oscar "Battling" Nelson
Jack Johnson-James J. Jeffries
Ad Wolgast-"Indian" Joe Rivers
Jack Dempsey-Jess Willard
Benny Leonard-Ritchie Mitchell II
Gene Tunney-Harry Greb II
Dempsey-Luis Angel Firpo
Henry Armstrong-Barney Ross
Joe Louis-Max Schmeling I and II
Louis-Billy Conn I
Tony Zale-Rocky Graziano I, II, & III
Ike Williams-Bob Montgomery II
Louis-Jersey Joe Walcott I
Willie Pep-Sandy Saddler II
Sugar Ray Robinson-Kid Gavilan II
Jake LaMotta-Laurent Dauthille II
Robinson-Randy Turpin II
Rocky Marciano-Walcott I
Carmen Basilio-Tony DeMarco II
Archie Moore-Yvon Durelle I
Floyd Patterson-Ingemar Johansson I, II, & III
Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali-Charles "Sonny" Liston I
Ali-Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams
Jose Napoles-Curtis Cokes I
Ali-Joe Frazier III
George Foreman-Ron Lyle
Larry Holmes-Ken Norton
Roberto Duran-Ray Leonard I
Matthew Saad Muhammad-Yaqui Lopez II
Ray Leonard-Tommy Hearns I
Stated to be "by Bert Randolph Sugar (then editor and publisher) and the Editors of The Ring magazine", this 255 page compilation presents some of the greatest fights of all-time ('tho, like a fellow reviewer, I don't know why Napoles-Cokes I has been included). Though none of the fight profiles has been attributed (to whomever wrote them), one wd think that they were culled from The Ring mag archives, with most having been written some time after the bout in question. And, as there are various writers, the style of writing from one fight to the next is, of course, not consistent and also varies in terms of content (e.g. some have details of both fighters' careers after that encounter and some don't). Still, the write-ups are usually informative and entertaining and the fact that many of the bouts weren't filmed (e.g Leonard-Mitchell II), or that no extant films exist of them (e.g. Tunney-Greb II), or that only fragments of them survive (e.g. Wolgast-Rivers) is another reason this volume is so valuable to boxing fans.
Other notable things about THE GREAT FIGHTS are its size (8" x 11" pages) & the many photos included (incl. full page), a top 20 "Greatest Fights of All Time" list (in order) compiled by Sugar and his contributors on page 9, and the complete ring records of all the participants of the fights selected (note: Leonard-Hearns I was a late substitution for Alexis Arguello-Alfredo Escalera II, so the latter two's records were included and the former two's weren't).
There are, however, some problems with this volume. As stated in this review's title, the fight coverage isn't always accurate. For ex., the write-up of Louis-Schmeling II states, "Almost as soon as the bell for round 1 sounded, the champion (Louis) was across the ring, swarming all over his former conqueror." A viewing of the fight film shows otherwise. Also, Walcott is said to have dropped Louis in the 1st and 4th rounds of their initial encounter by walking away to his right in order to draw "The Brown Bomber" in and then suddenly planting his right foot and coming over with an overhand right, when, in fact, Jersey Joe was actually stationary when he felled Louis with rights.
There are also unaccountable and glaring omissions from the descriptions of the action in some of the bouts, as if the writer of that piece was writing it from his "impressions" of the bout rather than from a recent viewing (or even a good memory). For ex., in the coverage of Ali-Liston I, NO mention is made of "The Greatest" mounting a sustained 3rd round attack on Liston, who was rubbery-legged for at least 30 seconds after "The Bear" had been put on "Queer Street" by an Ali right to the back of the head about a minute into the round (please refer to the film).
Furthermore, there are also important facts not mentioned in some of the profiles, such as Greb being sight-impaired in his right eye by his first fight with Tunney, that Williams was short a kidney when he stepped into the ring against Ali, etc, etc. Also, as this book was published way back in 1981, some of the info in the ring records isn't accurate. For ex., Gans is only credited with 55 knockouts (recent research has put it at at least 85) and his birth name is given as "Joseph Gaines", but his last name was actually Butts, which became Gant after the foster mother who raised him.
Nonetheless, this is a "great" volume and a worthy addition to any fan's boxing book collection. Indeed, as one can buy a used copy of this tome for just a few dollars from Marketplace Sellers, I wd also say that - for those prices - THE GREAT FIGHTS: A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF BOXING'S GREATEST BOUTS is a great value, too. Enjoy
BTW, for EXCELLENT coverage of fights that HAVE been filmed, I highly recommend Lee Groves' 2010 compilation Tales from the Vault: A Celebration of 100 Boxing Closet Classics, which also sells here on Amazon.
The collection is authored by many different sports writers, some of whom were present at the fights they write about, and is edited by "The Isaac Asimov of Sports," Bernard Sugar. A knockout!