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Looking for a Fight: How a Writer Took on the Boxing World - from the Inside [Hardcover]

David Matthews
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Feb 2001
The story of journalist David Matthews' journey into the heart of one of the most dangerous sports there is. For nearly two years, he sacrificed his career, family, and almost his life in pursuit of one goal: to write the story of a professional boxer by becoming one himself.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (15 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747214395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747214397
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 558,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Motivational reading 28 Aug 2003
This is an inspirational book whose appeal is by no means limited to fight fans and boxers. Essentially it's the journey process of one man who decides to cast aside the drudgery of his meaningless and unchallenging day to day existence, in order to undergo a physical and mental transformation, to test his personal limits and learn about himself.
Along the way he learns and divulges with great linguistic skill a number of other things about the world of boxing, about his relationships with his girlfriend, his father and his daughter. He comes face to face with brutality and poverty and he deftly and shamelessly reveals his fears and insecurities bareing his soul throughout with humility and a great deal of humour.
Matthews' time as a journalist has obviously instilled in him acute social observation skills and his depictions of the gym, the characters that revolve around and within it and the world in which it resides are vivid and colourful - invoking a true sense of the shadowy culture that surrounds professional boxing, without making it seem inaccesible or out of reach and thus irrelevant.
Chances are, if you're reading this review and considering buying the book it's because you're into boxing anyway, but there's very little in this book not to recommend to a complete boxing novice also. It is a classic "believe in yourself and anything's possible" tale without a hint of corniness, and as such it's a very rare thing!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this the best sports book ever written? 21 Sep 2001
By A Customer
So-called 'sports books' tend to be fairly pedestrian affairs. They are usually crawling, ghost written eulogies or serial anecdotes, riddled with 'at the end of the day' type cliches. Urgh! But in 'Looking for a Fight' David Matthews has transcended the sports genre to create, in my mind at least, the most entertaining, illuminating and engaging book I've ever read on boxing, or any sport for that matter. Matthews tackles the murky world of the fight game (and his own personal struggles) with an intelligence and wit rarely seen in contemporary sports writing. In fact, to saddle Looking for a Fight with the epithet 'sports book' is a disservice to Matthews whose gritty, almost noir-ish style makes this a thrilling, pacey read.
I've always found hardbacks poor travelling companions but I had no difficulty reading this 300-odd page book from cover to cover during the course of a six-hour transatlantic flight.
Beginning with a simple 'what if?' premise, and the desire to understand the physical and mental workings of the professional boxer, the author takes us on a two-year roller coaster ride, which from start to finish illustrates the best and worst of the human condition.
This is a must read; not only for fans of boxing, but anyone interested in human struggle, triumph over adversity and man's pursuit of happiness.
Unlike many sports books (there's that term again) which seek to bolster their narrative (and sales) with endlessly repeated stories of superstar heroics or celebrity failings, Looking for a Fight tells it as it is: in the raw, from the bottom, warts and all.
If Roy of the Rovers simplicity is your thing then this is probably not the book for you. The language for one is relentless in its accuracy of the gym and the street: Matthews is a colourful and brutally honest writer. But if you can appreciate the style and intelligence of Hemmingway, Mailer or Damon Runyon Looking for a Fight should certainly grace your bookshelf.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a knockout! 27 May 2002
By A Customer
Looking for a Fight is the debut from boxing fan, former crime correspondent, freelance journalist and part-time lecturer David Matthews. The book charts David's journey into the boxing world, his experiences and interactions whilst completing a two year training programme and ultimately the results of his one professional fight.
Throughout the story we are presented with the comittment, motivation and character of those people he works with and competes against. Not only is it a factual study into the heart of the sport but it is simultaneously a voyage of self-discovery, a final fling, a boy's fantasy reborn as a man's quest for glory.
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4.0 out of 5 stars inspirational 16 Aug 2007
I heard about this book a long time ago when the author was on a radio show talking about his latest book "Man Buys Dog",it wasn't until a recent trip to my local library did i unearth this gem of a book.
Although appearing to the naked eye a tad on the long side I can happily confirm that once you are through the first chapter you are well and truly hooked.
Our author and hero of the piece portrays himself in a frank and honest way, to the point of laying bare the effects of his mission (to train for and compete as a pro boxer) on both his physical and mental wellbeing.
Tales of training and life in the gym will ring true to both those who have and have not pulled on a boxing glove and the friendship that grows between the author David Matthews and his trainer Howard Rainey does indeed transcend the real mening of the book.
Skillfully written with some nicely shot Black and white photos to show how a journalist turned into a pro boxer punctuate a great body of work.

Thoroughly recommended to anyone who feels there is something burning inside that needs to get out.

I loved it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 16 May 2010
By scourge
This is not only one of the best books written on the sport but one of the best written.Matthews can most definitely write: he's honest and pulls no punches, if you can excuse the pun.The book is probably better for the fact that he was an outsider who managed to enter the arcane world of boxing.I have not yet reached the end of the book but it matters not whether he wins or loses his pro fight( I am assuming that he has just the one.)The journey was well worth the price of the book.
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