I had a message on my phone late last Friday night inviting me to a
pre-screening of the movie about Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran for
Tuesday August 23rd, 2016. Well, having been an avid boxing fan since I
was 12 years of age (some 48 years ago), having been stationed with the
U.S. Army in Panama in 1976-78, and being involved in boxing since 1980
in several different capacities, plus the fact that Roberto Duran is my
all time favorite fighter, this was something I didn't want to miss. I
almost did miss it as I did not respond in time and was put on a waiting
list. Well, determined I went to the theater and was let in, Thank God!
I love boxing, I love the sport, I love the people in the sport, well
most of the people in the sport, and I am a fan of boxing movies. My all
time favorite is "Somebody Up There Likes Me" (1956) starring Paul
Newman as Rocky Graziano. Yes, Rocky (thee Rocky, the first one), Raging
Bull, The Harder They Fall, even On The Waterfront qualifies to be on
the list as "You don't understand I coulda had class, I coulda been a
contender, I coulda been somebody instead of a bum, which is what I am".
This movie has it all. Great actors; Robert De Niro as Ray Arcel,
famed boxing trainer, Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez who portrays Duran
quite accurately, Usher as Sugar Ray Leonard, Ruben Blades as Duran's
manager Carlos Eleta, former boxer John Duddy plays Ken Buchanan, who
Duran won the lightweight title from in 1972, John Turturro as Frankie
Carbo famed boxing mobster, veteran actress Ellen Barkin portrays Ray
Arcel's wife Stephanie, and Ana de Armas portrays Duran's
wife Felicidad Iglesias. Look for current Philadelphia boxing referee
Gary Rosato portraying real life referee John LoBianco in the Duran vs.
Buchanan boxing scene.
Let me say for this boxing fan, the fight scenes were as good or
better than Raging Bull. Usher who was actually trained by Sugar Ray
Leonard for this movie and also did some training
time at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, NY does capture the charisma that
Leonard had throughout his career. Ramirez went to Panama one year prior
to filming to learn how to box and emulate Duran.
Their training and preparation was quite evident in the fight scenes,
along with the mannerisms of these two great all time legends. Ramirez
truly captured some of the ferocity in Duran's movements. As someone who
followed Duran's career since the late 70's it was a welcome reception
to see it in action on the silver screen.
De Niro, well what can I say about De Niro's part as Ray Arcel. I
remember Arcel during Duran's fights with Leonard, and reading about him
back in the day. But I did not know much more about the great boxing
trainer. Well, he trained over 2,000 fighters and some 20 World
Champions, since the 1920's. Benny Leonard, Ezzard Charles, Jim
Braddock, Barney Ross, Tony Zale, Larry Holmes, are just some names on
the list. This movie is almost as much about Arcel as it is about Duran
and this fan is grateful for that. He stood up to the mob when most did
not. He brought class and dignity to a sport that sometimes isn't
deserving of it. This could have been named the Ray Arcel story, but the
two are connected in boxing history and that's just the way it was. De
Niro brought it all to life again with his intensity on screen.
The storyline, plot, climaxing fight scenes of the two Duran vs.
Leonard meetings, the famous "No Mas" fight, and up to the Davey Moore
fight where Duran redeems himself are all
intertwined with the relationship of Arcel to Duran. Duran was a hero to
his beloved country Panama. His early childhood was one of extreme
poverty and the influence that America had on the Panama Canal and his
country. There are many scenes of Panama, the great Panama Canal, the
Miraflores Locks, the Bridge of the Americas, connecting North and South
America over the Canal, and the slums of Panama City El Chorillo, where
Duran was raised, are all captured amazingly well. Having been there in
the 70's and having went back three times since 2000, wow, I was there
again. There are historic scenes relating to the confrontational
America-Panama relations, some of the riots during that period and the
had on Duran.
Hands of Stone (2016) is to be released Friday August 26th. It has
had mixed reviews since its showing at the Cannes Film Festival back in
May. I believe boxing fans will truly determine the exact quality and
value this film will add to the sport of boxing and one of its living
legends. Not to mention the long list of fight films. The soundtrack,
some provided by Usher adds to a well directed, produced and acted
sports and love story. The life and times of one of the greatest
Lightweight Champions ever in the history of boxing.
Edwin Chu Chu
STARS IN THE RING: JEWISH CHAMPIONS IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF BOXING
arrived: The definitive history of the Jewish boxing experience. Eminent
boxing historian Mike Silver presents this vibrant and colorful history
in the first illustrated encyclopedic compendium of its kind. Included
are biographies of 166 prominent Jewish boxers, numerous anecdotes,
sidebars and over 200 photos. As an extra added feature Mike rates the
top ten Jewish boxers in 13 different categories.
Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden
Age of Boxing: A Photographic History (Lyons Press, hardcover, 366
pages) is now available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Silver is a member of the
International Boxing Research Organization. He is the author of The
Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science (McFarland
Publishers, 2008). Mike is a former Inspector with
the NYSAC and was historical consultant for 19 televised documentaries.
BOOK REVIEW : EZZARD CHARLES ; A BOXING LIFE BY
When I read a book about a prize fighter I want to know the whole story.
I want to know about their early life and what led them into the brutal
fight game. What they did after their career ended and what legacy did
they leave. In the book “Ezzard Charles ; A Boxing Life”, author William
Dettloff does an admirable job of covering all the bases.
Mr. Dettloff is an accomplished scribe who spent fifteen years as the
Senior Writer for Ring Magazine. It is obvious throughout this book the
research and attention to detail the author painstakingly took. Ezzard
Charles fought his way to the top in an era loaded with all star talent.
Ezzard met the best of those times. Names like Burley, Bivins, Maxim,
Moore, Walcott, Marciano and Louis adorn his record. As well as many
Ezzard Charles never received a much deserved shot at the light
heavyweight championship even though most acknowledged him as the number
one man at the time. Frustrated he went after the heavyweight crown and
won it after the great Joe Louis retired. Charles was never fully
accepted or appreciated by the fans as a heavyweight. When Louis decided
to come back and try to regain his crown his effort was thwarted by
Ezzard. This made Charles even more unpopular as he had defeated a
All this and more. Much, much more is explained in the pages of this
fine book. Ezzard’s three wins over the Old Mongoose Archie Moore. The
aftermath of the bout Charles had with Sam Baroudi that was fatal for
Baroudi. The battle Ezzard had with Lou Gerhig’s disease that claimed
his life at the age of 51.
The bottom line is that in his prime Ezzard Charles was a great fighter.
Very possibly the greatest light heavyweight of all time. A child from
Georgia who ended up in Cincinnati, Ohio and went on to have an
illustrious boxing career. Hats off to William Dettloff. This was a
wonderful book and a sure “keeper” for my boxing library.
I recently finished a wonderful book titled "Tony Zale ; The Man Of
Steel". It was written by Tony's nephew Thad Zale and the astute Clay
Moyle. The first thing that impressed me about this fine book was its
attention to detail. The time and effort that went into researching this
book jumps off the pages. What also impressed me was the fact that this
was not just a book on Tony Zale's boxing career. It was also about Tony
Zale, the man.
Tony Zale was a devout and religious man but he was dealt several issues
in his personal life that only his unyielding faith was able to lead him
through. Zale was surely a champion inside and outside the ring. Tony is
considered by many to be among the greatest fighters to ever wear the
middleweight crown. That in itself speaks volumes about his talent. In
this book there are great chapters covering Tony's fights with Georgie
Abrams, Al Hostak, Billy Conn and many others. Also the famous trilogy
with Rocky Graziano.
After Tony's retirement he dedicated himself to helping others. He loved
working with kids and in the end Mr. Zale gained the respect and
admiration of all who knew him. I highly recommend this book. Hats off
to the authors for a job well done.
This book will be placed on my "keeper" shelf in my boxing
For information on ordering this book, go to www.tonyzale.org
DEATH IN VEGAS A NOVEL BY MARGARET GOODMAN
Win By KO Publications is proud to announce the release of DEATH IN
VEGAS, a novel by esteemed former Nevada fight doctor, Dr. Margaret
DEATH IN VEGAS, a
medical suspense novel, is part Million Dollar Baby, part Rocky, and a
bit Erin Brockovich.
Dr. Olivia Norris takes on the mostly male world of Las Vegas boxing
power brokers. Olivia is a brilliant, attractive Chicago neurologist,
married to her work, admired by her colleagues, and estranged from her
family. When her brother, a rising boxing star, is tragically injured in
a championship prize fight, Olivia swoops in to uncover what went wrong.
Did Curtis’s bout go on too long? What injuries did he suffer and why?
Did the ringside physician give him appropriate care? Is the hospital
doing everything they can for him?
Her search for answers forces Olivia to reconnect with her family.
She uncovers secrets from her past that have a powerful impact and
inspire her to dig even deeper into the dark world of
To find the real truth, she travels to Mexico with the handsome,
former ringside physician Dr. Bart Rossi. There, they find themselves
attracted to each other, while also uncovering the dangerous, illegal
side of boxing. Before she can return home, Olivia realizes that her
determination to find the truth could kill her and her new friends too.
Both mystery and romance, DEATH IN VEGAS is a page-turner that offers
a unique perspective on sports from an insider –a former ringside
physician who is an outspoken advocate for boxers.
About the Author
Margaret Goodman, M.D. is a Las Vegas neurologist, former chief
ringside physician for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and founder
and chair of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), a non-profit
organization that has tested Manny Pacquiao and numerous other fighters
for the presence of performance-enhancing drugs. She has appeared on
HBO, Showtime, ESPN, ABC, and Fox; written for ESPN.com, SI.com, and
Aol.com, among others; and had a monthly column in The Ring Magazine for
eight years. She won The Boxing Writers Association of America’s James
J. Farley Award “for honesty and integrity” in boxing, and in 2012,
HBO’s The Fight Game named Dr. Goodman boxing’s “Person of the Year.”
You can learn more about Dr. Margaret Goodman at her website:
BOOK REVIEW ; "BECOMING TAZ" BY JEFF BUMPUS.
INTRODUCTION BY PHIL RICE
In 1984 a young 140 pound fighter from the Midwest entered the ranks
of professional boxers with the dream of becoming a world champion. He
was a straight forward, no nonsense southpaw who would throw punches
from bell to bell. In a nutshell, he was a crowd pleaser. It was this
style that earned him several appearances on the ESPN and USA cable
boxing networks. His name is Jeff Bumpus and he carried the nickname
“The Tazmanian Devil”. He would eventually learn that his dream would
not become reality.
Jeff Bumpus has written a fine book titled “Becoming Taz ; Writing
From The Southpaw Stance”. Jeff takes you on a trip through his career
that spanned from 1984 to 1993. A career that saw him cross gloves with
five world champions and several contenders. It is a book about the
travels of a boxer who went from prospect to journeyman. Despite losing
to the likes of Greg Haugen, Vinny Pazienza and the great Julio Cesar
Chavez, Jeff always gave a good account of himself. He was no pushover.
That is why the networks loved him.
The book itself is a fine read. Jeff mixes brutal honesty with a dash
of humor as he tells about his journey as a professional boxer. The book
reminded me a lot of former middleweight contender Fraser Scott’s fine
book “Weigh In” that came out in the 1970′s. Minus the sour grapes. Yes
Jeff had his issues with the boxing establishment but he did not dwell
on it. That is just the way it was.
I highly recommend this book to add to your boxing library. It has
191 pages with several photographs included. This stiff cover book is
available for $12.95 with free shipping in the U.S. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
for more details.
TRIBUTES, MEMORIES & OBSERVATIONS OF THE SWEET SCIENCE
A collection of wonderful articles intricately woven, remembering and
detailing many of the long forgotten gladiators of the ring, and how
their lives and careers have impacted so many people in and out of the
sport. Several heroic stories are eloquently brought to life as they are
paid tribute for their contributions to society. There are also stories
which have been embedded in the author's memory and shared here with you
So sit back, relax and enjoy.
The book includes a Foreword by Al Bernstein, IBHOF Inductee and
testimonials by Harold Lederman, HBO Sports; Dan Cuoco, Director,
International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO); Bob Alexander, Boxing
Hall of Fame announcer; and, Roy Jones Jr., All-time great boxing world
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Steve Canton has been involved in every aspect of boxing beginning as
a boxer at age 11. He has traveled the world, thanks to the sweet
science, and has made friends everywhere he's gone. He co-hosted a
popular radio talk show for many years, wrote a monthly Florida column
for Flash/Update and has had numerous articles published in many top
trade magazines and major web sites. He is a member of the International
Boxing Research Organization (IBRO). Steve is a world-class cutman and
trainer and was inducted into the inaugural class of the Florida Boxing
Hall of Fame in 2009 as a trainer, and now serves as its vice-president.
If you would like to purchase a signed or inscribed copy, please
contact the author Steve Canton @ email@example.com
BOOK REVIEW ; The Good Son ;
The Life Of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini by Mark Kriegel
Once I picked this book up. I could not put it down. That is how
captivating it was to me. Boxer Ray Mancini is a former champion who has
been in the limelight most of his life. Reams of print have covered his
storied career. In this book the author Mark Kriegel goes beyond what
the newspaper and magazines said about Mancini. It exposed Ray's human
weaknesses as well as his achievements. It showed us that Ray Mancini is
human. Just like you and I.
Mancini's life has been a tale of triumph and tragedy. A rocking row
boat caught in high waters. Through much of his life he's been greatly
glorified and deservingly so. Mancini always trained hard and came to
fight. He was a true media darling. A promoters cash cow. His
relationship with his father and Ray's dream of winning the title his
Dad never had a chance to fight for set the tone for this book. There
was more to Ray Mancini though. Much, much more and the author digs deep
to find what makes "Boom Boom" tick. It is very easy to see why Mark
Kriegel is an award winning biographer. If Krieger was a painter, this
would be his masterpiece.
I highly urge you to pick up this book and read it. I am quite sure that
you will not be sorry.
BOOK REVIEW ; Hard Luck : The
Triumph And Tragedy Of "Irish" Jerry Quarry
AUTHORS - Steve Springer and Blake Chavez
FOREWORD by George Foreman
I have always been a big fan of Jerry Quarry. He was a mainstay in the
talent laden heavyweight division during the late 1960s and into the
70's. His multitude of fans shared in his triumphs and his
disappointments throughout his roller coaster career. Whenever you
counted Jerry out he would win a major fight to propel himself back to
the heavyweight forefront. His victories over Floyd Patterson, Thad
Spencer, Buster Mathis Sr., Mac Foster, Ron Lyle and Earnie Shavers
always kept him in the thick of the heavyweight title picture. Then
there were the losses to Ali and Frazier who both defeated Jerry twice.
There were the losses to Jimmy Ellis, George Chuvalo and later in his
career to Kenny Norton.
Much has been documented on Jerry's career and his battle later in life
with Dementia Pugilistica. A battle that would take his life in 1999.
The authors of this book do a tremendous job of detailing Jerry's life
and career from the beginning to the bitter end. It brought back a lot
of memories both good and bad but it also reminded me of why I was such
a fan of Quarry and that era of heavyweight boxing.
This is more than a book on Jerry Quarry. It was like reading and
reliving that historic time frame in fistic history. Other then Muhammad
Ali himself, no one stirred the pot of controversy better then Quarry
during that time frame. Along with his great boxing ability Jerry had
something else. Loads of charisma that most of today's heavyweights
I highly recommend this book to all boxing fans. It is a great read. If
you are a Jerry Quarry fan...Well what are you waiting for ?
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Last updated: 12/10/17.