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The Boxing Kings

Nonfiction: Sports
Unabridged   13.25 hour(s)
Publication date: 09/16/2017

The Boxing Kings

When American Heavyweights Ruled the Ring

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781681686868
Digital Download ISBN:9781681686875


For much of the twentieth century, boxing was one of America's most popular sports and the heavyweight champions were figures known to all. Boxing fans, sports historians, and those interested in U.S. race relations as it intersects with sports will all find in The Boxing Kings a fascinating reminder of how engrained boxing once was in the American social and cultural fabric.

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Product Description

The Boxing Kings tells the story of the heavyweight title in the days when it was a defining institution in the United States. Author Paul Beston places special emphasis on those champions who held a central place in American culture beyond just in the boxing ring, including John L. Sullivan, who made the title a commercial property; Jack Johnson, who in 1908 became the first black man to claim the title; Joe Louis, whose contributions to racial tolerance and social progress transcended even his greatness in the ring; Rocky Marciano, who became an embodiment of the American Dream; Muhammad Ali, who took on the U.S. government and revolutionized professional sports with his showmanship; and Mike Tyson, a hard-punching student of boxing history who exemplified the modern celebrity. The gallery of champions also includes comics, dandies, bookworms, divas, ex-cons, workingmen, and a tough-guy-turned-preacher.

The Boxing Kings treats these and other champions as three-dimensional human beings, flawed but sympathetic men placed on great public stages. As the title shifts from one claimant to another, their stories also open a window into the larger history of the U.S.


"The Boxing Kings is an intensely thorough consideration of a turbulent chapter in our increasingly turbulent history and another reminder of why boxing is the undisputed center of the sports storytelling world."—Jim Lampley, HBO boxing commentator

"It's truly refreshing to read a paean to the great days of heavyweight boxing from someone who knows and loves the sport. Paul Beston takes us back to an America where men were honored-and even crowned-for being willing to walk into a ring with nothing but their courage and their skill."—Andrew Klavan, author of True Crime

Author Bio

Paul Beston is managing editor of City Journal, published by the Manhattan Institute. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, City Journal, Real Clear Sports, the American Spectator, the American Conservative, the Christian Science Monitor, and the boxing website the Sweet Science, along with many others.