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Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing [Paperback]

George Kimball
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

3 July 2008

By the late 1970s, boxing had lapsed into a moribund state and interest in it was on the wane. In 1980, however, the sport was resuscitated by a riveting series of bouts involving an improbably dissimilar quartet: Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran. The 'Four Kings of the Ring' would fight one another nine times throughout the decade and win sixteen world titles between them.

Like Ali and Frazier, Dempsey and Tunney, Robinson and LaMotta, these four boxers brought out the best in each other, producing unprecedented multi-million-dollar gates along the way. Each of the nine bouts between the four men was memorable in its own way and at least two of them - Leonard-Hearns I in 1981 and Hagler-Hearns in 1985 - are commonly included on any list of the greatest fights of all time. The controversial outcome of another - the 1987 Leonard-Hagler fight - remains the subject of heated debates amongst fans to this day.

Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran didn't set out to save boxing from itself in the post-Ali era, but somehow they managed to do so. In Four Kings, award-winning journalist George Kimball documents the remarkable effect they had on the sport and argues that we will never see their likes again.

Frequently Bought Together

Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing + The Big Fight: My Story + HANDS OF STONE: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran
Price For All Three: 19.67

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; First Edition edition (3 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845963598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845963590
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"An epic poem of a book . . . a book that lifts the heart" (Frank McCourt)

"A distinguished and entertaining addition to our library of classic boxing literature" (Budd Schulberg)

"Kimball writes with insight and humour. The bigger the fight, the better he tells it" (Tom Hauser,

"Thrilling, insightful and often humourous . . . [Kimball] captures the contests, the fighters and the period with a wonderful perception" (The Independent)

"An intoxicating, captivating tale of great boxers in a fatally flawed environment" (The Herald)

Book Description

The first book to comprehensively tell the story of how four middleweight boxing giants came to dominate the sport throughout the 1980s

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Forgive me) Four-King Enjoyable Read 20 Oct 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I share the first reviewer's scoring for this book, although not his affection for the brutal end of the sport. Rather, the history of boxing (like that of its poorer cousin, pro wrestliing, and its travelling companion, the mafia) fascinates me for sociological reasons. I agree that the author has omitted to choose his preference, but he's hinted at it by listing them Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and I'd guess this matches the public perception, with SRL at the head due to his show-biz image and the rest in that sequence due to the results of high-profile contests among the four. I personally favour Hagler, who first caught my attention by thrashing the evidently-overrated A. Minter, and Hearns, who upset me late on by beating the quiety capable Dennis Andries. Each line of this book drips with detail, and you could argue that the author is simply thumbing through results in Ring magazine except that asides and qualifications confirm that he's "been there". While the switching back and forth between the four angle characters can be hard to keep up with -- and the incidental biogs of supporting characters even more so, so that I had to backtrack -- this amount of detail makes the book more "liveable". The author is also frank about the seamier side of the fight game, suicidally so with some attestations. A good read for anyone who enjoys evocative newsreel of this atmospheric sport. (Dave)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent... 4 Feb 2009
I like how honest the author is. He doesn't pander to Ray Leonard like many of authors and journalists tend to. That is not to say Ray Leonard's skill and ability are overlooked by the author. Hearns, Hagler, Duran and Leonard are all treated equally and unbiasedly by the author.
My only "complaint" (without wishing to sound like a 9 year old boy) was I would have liked more photographs of the pugilists.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the period of boxing, it really is excellently written, many insightful comments and completely without prejudice to any of the four legends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Boxing masterpiece 2 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anybody who likes boxing will love the detail of this book. This era of boxing came slightly before my time but this did not stop me from reading it from cover to cover.
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By Owen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable.
Well written. .. Great use of language.
You can view fights at same time on you tube.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great read for boxing fans 8 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I watched everyone of the fights between these great fighters so it was fantastic to read what was going on behind the scenes and in the minds of these legends, a must read book for boxing fans
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5.0 out of 5 stars FOUR KINGS OF BOXING 6 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of Hagler, Hearns, Leonard or Duran then you will find this an interesting read.

Memories of watching the bouts on tv between these 4 titans in the 80's come flooding back as soon as you look at the cover never mind thumbing through the initial pages. Enjoy
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 25 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Reading this on the tablet then watching the fights on Youtube really puts this great period in boxing into perspective
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5.0 out of 5 stars Boxing Book 20 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was a Christmas present for my Step Father as he used to be a boxer in his younger days. He has just started reading it and thinks it is great. I was also most impressed with the quality of the book and arrived quicker than I thought.
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