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No Ordinary Joe Hardcover – 24 May 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Century; 1st edition (24 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846051932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846051937
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Publisher

The autobiography of the greatest British boxer of all time

From the Inside Flap

IT WAS past three o’clock in the morning when Joe Calzaghe experienced the sweetest validation of his professional life. Victory over Jeff Lacy, a 28-year-old American compared to a young Mike Tyson because of his power and "take-no-prisoners attitude", left no one in doubt about the world super middleweight champion’s talent. Hugh McIlvanney, the doyen of British sportswriters and a veteran chronicler of fights, described what he had witnessed as "one of the greatest displays of superb technique, confidence and fighting intelligence a British boxer has delivered in a major contest."

For years, Calzaghe’s virtuosity remained a legend of the Welsh valleys. His defeat in 1997 of Chris Eubank brought him to prominence, winning for him the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) super middleweight title. But despite a record number of defences of the belt, his career lacked a defining contest. A long line of challengers and ex-titleholders were disposed of but the biggest names in American boxing avoided the ultimate showdown he craved. Hand injuries further obscured the true level of his aptitude for an art he began to learn from his father, Enzo, at the age of eight when – inspired by Sugar Ray Leonard - a rolled-up carpet in the family home in Newbridge became a makeshift heavy bag.

No Ordinary Joe is the story of Calzaghe’s extraordinary life, from his humble beginnings in a ramshackle old gym in his hometown of Newbridge, to his ascent to personal greatness, becoming the first super middleweight boxer to win the prized belt awarded by The Ring, the bible of boxing, in the division’s near 20-year history. As reticent outside the ring as he is remarkable once he steps inside, for the first time Calzaghe reveals his fears and motivations and the real extent of the hand injuries that have dogged his career.

One of Britain’s foremost sporting champions, a warrior and working-class hero, this is the story of the triumphs and trials that made Calzaghe a legend.


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By wenallt1 on 29 Aug. 2007
Format: Hardcover
No Ordinary Joe is the autobiography of Joe Calzaghe and takes his story up to April 2007 when he beat Peter Manfredo Jnr at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. At the time the book was written, Joe had been the WBO super-middleweight champion for 10 years making 20 successful defences, as well as gaining the IBF super-middleweight title in 2006 in a fight against Jeff Lacy described by the respected commentator Hugh Mcllvanney as "one of the greatest displays of superb technique, confidence and fighting intelligence a British boxer has delivered in a major contest." Despite his record, recognition had been slow coming to Joe before the Lacy fight. This is surprising, as he has a broad appeal capable of crossing over to a female fan base with the looks that led to the offer of an M & S modelling contract (which he declined) as well as being a devoted father and family man. The book is remarkably objective for an autobiography and Joe is able to come up with a number of reasons for his comparatively low profile: He came after the barnstorming Benn-Eubank-Collins years and boxing's move away from terrestrial television to Sky; he has been dogged by hand injuries; the fact that his talent scared off the biggest names; possibly it's the British inability to fully embrace winners but perhaps most of all in a celebrity driven age, Joe has never been interested in the fame game. You get a clear idea from the book as to how Joe has developed as an athlete. He very courageously discusses how he was very badly bullied at school despite being a schoolboy boxing champion. This ended a reasonably promising academic performance and it could be that this intelligence was diverted away from academia to the ring.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Chesney on 12 Jun. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Great book, well written giving valuable insight and taking you on the journey through Calzaghe's career. Any boxing fan should make this a must read. To overcome the problems with his hands and apparent bad management decisions at the start of his career yet end up as an undefeated champion (and the first super middleweight boxer to win the prized belt awarded by The Ring in the division's near 20-year history) tells you something about the man.
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Format: Hardcover
The best Autobiography of a sports-man I have read.

I read Freddie Flintoff and Michael Vaughan's autobiographies when I was on holiday last year and to be honest they both seemed like token efforts devoid of feeling and not offering much insight - Don't get me wrong, they were professionally written and I don't regret reading them but when I put them down I was left with the question - Well, what have I really learned about the person? Put crudely, there was no X-factor.

No Ordinary Joe is different. The book is ghostwritten but unless i'd read it on the inside pages I never would have known as some of the thoughts seem very personal and honest - Very rare today!(I'm 29 by the way not 79)

No Ordinary Joe is a refreshingly honest and often amusing (In an intentionally dry way) look at the life and career of Joe Calzaghe. The book covers the background and history of his family and the influence (In particular that of his Dad & uncles) they have had throughout his career as well as his preparations, the fights themselves and how he saw/sees his career progressing and what he intends to do after boxing.

Importantly (and probably one of the reasons why I enjoyed it) the book doesn't dodge the controversial issues and, in fact, meets all of them head on. I have followed Joe's career closely and can't think of any accusation etc. that wasn't addressed - Being called chicken for pulling out of specific fights, Enzo being briefly sacked as his trainer, The honesty about where his career was at the point of the Omar Sheika fight.

In fact, the book opens with a quote from his father/trainer Enzo "If you pull out of the Lacy fight, all that you'll be remembered for in the boxing world is for being a f*cking chicken, is that what you want?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Broadley on 27 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is without doubt one of the most entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable sports bio's i have read. Numerous stories during the book make you laugh, in particular the various spats between Joe and Enzo. Most notably when his dad parked 2 miles away from the weigh-in to avoid paying to park!!! Also, this book gives a great insight into Joe himself and honestly appraises his career and feelings prior to the big fights.
My favourite sports book of all time is Donald McCreas Dark Trade and i found 'No Ordinary Joe' is not far behind. Very well written and easy to read, so much so that i finished it in 2 days on holiday earlier this year.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Gareth S. Smith on 28 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've just finished reading this book in about two evenings, which just goes to show what an easy read it is.

At 272 pages, split down into 12 'rounds', 'No Ordinary Joe' lets you into the mind and life of the man who is considered the best pound-for-pound British boxer for decades. From birth and settling in Wales, to his amateur days (crying whenever he lost), onto his professional debut and his unbeaten record, this book offers you the chance to walk alongside Joe Calzaghe.

The book reveals the full extent of the hand injury which kept him from fighting just a handful (excuse the pun) of times during his career. Through anecdotes such as these, you realise the true closeness that Joe shares with his trainer, father and closest friend Enzo.

The book does labour a lot over specific fights, but you can hardly blame Joe for writing about the events which have made him a comfortable living and as close to a household name as a laid back young man from Wales can be. Nonetheless, it's intriguing to read about his very specific methodology which he follows fight-after-fight. Not to mention the way his personal life - such as his divorce from his first wife - has had an effect on his training, but an effect which he has had to sweep aside in order to maintain his Champion status.

The book opens and closes with words from some of Joe's heroes, friends and adversaries, leaving no doubt in anybody's mind: this Welshman is No Ordinary Joe.
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