Books | Sports

January 6, 2009

The Sweetest Science

Veteran boxing scribe George Kimball revives the era when a distinguished quartet of pugilists ruled the sport.

Max Lakin

There is a kind of after-hours stigma attached to modern boxing. Far removed from Ali standing—black-and-white-poster-print—over Liston, fights now are usually a rock-em, sock-em Late Nite show piped out on deeply-buried cable stations, or a blue-moon main event accompanied by the letters PPV and sponsorships shinier than the shorts in the ring. Boxing's been given the inorganic HBO treatment—bastardized, some would say—by grotesque caricatures like Tyson and his impossibly-high-pitches theatrics.

Which is perhaps why boxing—the way it used to be—has been canonized, too, enjoying somewhat of a sentimental resurgence in the mainstream with movies like Million Dollar Baby, Cinderella Man, and Resurrecting the Champ portraying a pageant of grit and heart—of earnest men giving themselves to the ring and doing it for pride and class, not promotional contracts.

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