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Twice Bitten: The Untold Story of Holyfield-Tyson II
Twice Bitten: The Untold Story of Holyfield-Tyson II
by George Willis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what is states on the label, 16 Sep 2013
Twice Bitten The Untold Story of Holyfield Tyson II is the title of this book and it has been marketed as a book about the events that happened on "Bite Nite".

I brought this book expecting a similiar level of research, analysis and dissection as Kevin Mitchell provided in his excellent book on the Nigel Benn v Gerrald McClellend fight " War Baby". What I got was a horrible feeling of being shortchanged.

Firstly most of Holyfield and Tyson fights are covered in the book's 255 pages.

However so is the childhood's of both fighters, their amateur careers, olympic involvement their promotional arrangements, turning pro, pro careers,private lives up until their status as at 2013.

Not suprisingly what you get is a very superficial view of both fighters lives.I was aware of at least 90% of the facts that form the contents of the book beforehand just by following the sport and reading monthly boxing magazines like the Ring and Boxing Monthly.

The book looks the part. However even when you come to terms with the fact that it is not what it is a percieved too be. It is still disappointing to read the superficial level of detail afforded to each fighters career.

Tyson's first fight with Bruno is covered in a few sentances and fails to acknowledge that Bruno had Tyson there for the taking in the first round. Either fighter could justify at least half a dozen books that focused on specific aspects of their career. To cram all of this into 250 pages is ambitious and results in a lot of issues being covered superficially rather than any particular insight that warrants the cost of purchasing the book to me.

The actual section that delas with "Bite Night" covers three chapters at most and tells you that Mitch Halpren pulled out as referee, Julio Garcia repaired the ear, shots may or may not have been fired in the MGM Grand lobby after the fight and the ear cartlidge was subsequently found too late to be resown. It is misleading to describe these facts as the untold story of Holyfield Tyson II.

If you are looking for a vey concise, superficial, biography of the lives of both boxers, this may be for you. If you are hoping for an in depth analysis of the events that immediately preceded and followed 28 June 1997, please save your money.

The bibliography as the end of the book says it all, this book is based on research of very commonly available material and the events that occurred on 28 June 1997 have been used as a sales pitch for a very ordinary biography of both fighters. The Photographs are also fairly typical and nothing particularly unique is included.

As you can gather, I was very disappointed. More so because I brought a book that was marketed based upon a specific fight and receieved a package that deleivered something completely different.

I have previously read reasonable biographies of both fighters and did not really want another one.


The Big Fight: My Story
The Big Fight: My Story
by Sugar Ray Leonard
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.22

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and Compelling, 10 Sep 2012
This book is everything that you yearn for in a biography. Unlike Oscar De La Hoya's American Son, this is not a sanatised PR exercise. It is a frank, honest, account of Sugar Ray's account and a tale of remorse about his failures with drink, drugs and in wedlock.

I found the book to be compelling and very convincing as issues were addressed such as his financial differences with the late Angelo Dundee that Angelo had previously commented upon in his own book. It was nice to read both sides to the story and the views were consistent if not their respective opinions on the basis of Dundee's payment and the extent of his contribution to the team.

I found Sugar Ray's description of his opponents to be very open. He recognized that Dave Boy Green was not a difficult challenge, he openly admits that his performance was poor against Dick Eckland and most impressively he states that Thomas Hearns beat him in their second fight.

He does admit infidelity, cocaine and drink abuse and is open in his appraisal of his own performances, he recognises that to struggle against Kevin Howard meant it was time to stop.

It is a very compelling read, I read the book in a single day and afterwards have grown in admiration for Sugar Ray Leonard, yes he messed up at times but to recount this so objectively and honestly makes for an excellent biography


Eating Smoke: One Man's Descent into Drug Psychosis in Hong Kong's Triad Heartland
Eating Smoke: One Man's Descent into Drug Psychosis in Hong Kong's Triad Heartland
by Chris Thrall
Edition: Paperback

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better, 29 Dec 2011
I spent 10 years in Hong Kong and immediately brought this book when I first saw it.

I must confess that I was disappointed as despite the book dealing with a subject matter that could have been fascinating, the menace of triad violence is only implied and the effects of the addiction only surfaces as a series of dismisals from jobs.

The book is readable but when it is considered that the author was employed in some of the most dubious nightclubs in Wanchai owned by what appear to be very senior ranking triads, other than a reference to shellsuits and coughing signals, very little else is disclosed. There is one reference to a Nepalaise street gang that disappears as quickly as appearing but not the level of disclosure that the title suggested.

Its a good read and easy to digest, but it could have been much better
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 8, 2014 2:05 AM BST


Cyclone: My Story
Cyclone: My Story
by Barry McGuigan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 18.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not strictly a Boxing Book, 17 Oct 2011
This review is from: Cyclone: My Story (Hardcover)
If you wanted a detailed insight into McGuiggan's boxing career, then this is not the book for you. However if you want to know about the man as a person then this makes an entertaining and at times sad read.

It does cover his career in part and what impressed me most was the hectic schedule that he had to go through to win and defend the title. He faced Juan Laport, Pedroza and Bernard Taylor in just over 7 months. Three world class fighters.

His life was filled with tragedy that seemed to come at the worst times, the night he won the title his parants house was burned down, his father was diagnosed with cancer when he was at the height of his rein, his brother commmitted suicide and his daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia.

I was slightly disappointed with Barry's up beat sanatised view of people and although its commendable that he does not have a bad word to say about anyone in the book, issues like his acrimonous split with Barry Eastwood were a significant feature of his career and this is dismissed by a reference to planty of things written about it allready so I do not need to go into it. Similairily as Barry grew up in the peak of the troubles in Northern Ireland, it would have been interesting to read about the difficulties that they produced in more detail.

It did answer a few questions for me, I was always suprised how his defeat to Steve Cruz ended his career but the backdrop of personal issues clearly affected his concentration and committment.

He was honest enough to recognise during his second tenure as a boxer after comebacking that he did not have it anymore and retired. I was disappointed that he was ungracious about his defeats and should have given Jim McDonnell more credit for retiring him. Cruz is the only fighter that he acknowledges as beating him and in all other losses he was robbed or it was a fluke.

His committment to the sport is life long and the work that he has tried to do to help fellow boxers and school leavers without qualifications is both heart warming and commendable. He is also a devouted family man and does sinceraly come accross as one of life's nice guys.


Top Dog
Top Dog
by Dougie Brimson
Edition: Paperback

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars readable but pushes the boundaries of credibility, 28 Feb 2011
This review is from: Top Dog (Paperback)
This book is very easy to read but at times it really does push the line of credibility.

The concept of hooligans taking over the security of West Ham with the IRA thrown in for good measure at the end just stretches credibility too far.

The ending was also nonsensical, however I am reluctant to digress too much but I just found it absurd.

As a throw away yarn, it was very readable and I found it kept you sufficiently on edge to make it an easy read but the unbelieavable aspects of the major twists and turns just makes it lose credibility.

I did not find it well researched and it offers no new or deeper insight into the terraces or the underworld. The author clearly considers himself as an authority on football holliganism and I found the closing footnote that if you want any further info on holliganism to drop him a line a bit crass.

It is very readable but as a serious insight into holliganism, shady deals, the east end or terroists it misses the mark by a mile.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2011 8:42 AM BST


Hoolies
Hoolies
by Garry Bushell
Edition: Paperback

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Gospell according to Bushell, 20 Feb 2011
This review is from: Hoolies (Paperback)
This is really Gary Bushell's view on how events unfolded over the past 40 years in Music.

The title Hollies is a bit misleading as it is really how Gary Bushell perceives the developing of most major music cults in the 70's and 80's. This development was closely linked with voilence

He is dismissive of Fleet Street and the Music Press but mainly because they do not share his vision.

My recollection was that the music press on an annual basis were trying to kick start new fads almost as a justification for being so reluctant to nurture and recognize punk.

This is supported by the fact that fads like the glory boys blew over as quickly as they were identified. The book fails to mentiom power pop that the press hailed as the next big thing in 1978 featuring the Pleasures, XTC and anyone that could possibly fit into this lable.

If the music press had shown such enthusiasm pre 1977 a cult would surely have been developed around the pub rockers, a physcadelic revival hailed due to the stranglers and American Punk like Television would have had a separate label.

Bushell champions Oi as it was his media brainchild, there was nothing new about it or nothing that the second tier bands down the Vortex and Marquee could not produce in 1977. If Slaughter and the Dogs started 5 years later no doubt they would have been an Oi Band

This book is not without merit as it gives a succint history of the various musical fads, I found that it was a little to dismissive of punk and a little too reverent of Oi.

However this is the Gospell according to Gary Bushell.


PacMan: Behind the Scenes with Manny Pacquiao - The Greatest Pound-for-pound Fighter in the World
PacMan: Behind the Scenes with Manny Pacquiao - The Greatest Pound-for-pound Fighter in the World
by Gary Andrew Poole
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly Honest and Open, 27 Dec 2010
This is a very well written book and even a non boxing fan would find this interesting.

Pacquiao is a very unique charactor and his circumstances and upbringing make for some very intersting reading. The author also has a very informative style and at times I thought I was reading Thomas Hauser, (probably the leading authority in boxing writing).

Pacquiao's upbringing was poverty stricken, even by Filipno standards and the first two chapters deal with this upbringing. When he started his boxing career he was grossly undernourished.

The book also touches on his promotional disasters from taking a suitcase of money from Oscar De La Hoya while still signed with Bob Arum to his difficulties with Muhammed Murud a rogue promoter.This is a good insight into boxing in general

Pacquiao does have a huge entourage of filipino hangers on that do seem to be bleeding him dry. They are covered in detail and a scene is conjured up of a very motley crew.They come accross more as a school gang than a boxing stable but it does bring a smile to the readers face.

Pacquiao's fame has also allowed him to venture into politics, have alleged affairs and gamble more than he should these are also touched on by the author in a very objective neutral manner.

Finally the boxing - it is treated so honestly that its refreshing. The reality was that Pacquiao was born with amazing power and lighting speed and through his early career that was sufficient to keep clocking up wins. He had fights where he was losing against for example Nedal Hussian and in his first title shot but his natural talant saved the day or with Hussian some very biased home town referring.

When he joined Freddie Roach he was a raw undernourished one handed fighter that has developed into one of the best boxers of all time. The nonsense with Mayweather and drug testing is touched on and his exceptional weight gain is quite believably down to the fact that he has gone from an undernourished filipino to a well fed man with a nutritionist. He actually grew 2 inches when he was twenty largely down to regular feeding.

The bouts with all his mexican foes are dealt with honestly and when they made a tactical error such as not preparing for Moralas to turn counter puncher in the first fight it is openly mentioned.

Pacquiao is a very generous man and his political ambitions do seem to be driven by sincerity and a desire to improve people's lifes. His handling of money and his approach to international sponsorship are alarming and I do hope that post his career he does not end up like a Joe Louis- greeting people for a living.

He deserves far better - an inspirational man.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 14, 2012 10:57 PM BST


Banged Up
Banged Up
by Ronnie Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Best British Book Since the Football Factory, 27 Dec 2010
This review is from: Banged Up (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book and it would be tragic if it is never committed to Screen. It is a modern day scum, the borstal film shown on Channel 4 in the 80's.

He obviously knows the prison system inside out and has an admirable ability to transpose this knowledge into print.

He also knows how to keep the flow of the book going particularly in the later stages when our bad boy comes good, he still filters in the odd incident to get the momentum going.

This was my introduction to Roinnie Thompson and it has made me want to read more and more of his work


American Son: My Story
American Son: My Story
by Oscar De La Hoya
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.25

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars To sanatised and verging on proganda at times., 22 Sep 2010
This review is from: American Son: My Story (Paperback)
I wasn't expect much from this book as I suspected that De La Hoya will want to maintain his public persona. I didn't find much that made me raise my interest level.

I was impressed with his honesty where he admited that Felix Sturm had beaten him and was gracious enough to tell Sturm after the fight.

He opens the books with a number of chapters about his family life that I found of minor interest. His amatuer career was well documented and very intersting as he describes how he put on gloves at 4 years old and takes up the sport proper at 6 years.

The fights in the amateurs are described in some detail but his pro career is not given the same attention

The chapter on Chazez revealed little about the fights and more a slight resentment that he was in the Mexicans shadow for a long period and never got his adoration in Mexico.

He did have fueds with Vargas and Mayorga and these may have spiced the book up a bit but generally it was a sanatised skip through his career. Very sheened and superficial.

The Golden Boy Promotions element is almost like a commercial as the stratgic corporate agenda is unvieled. The recent controversy about Amir Khans purse split plus the favoured relationship with HBO seem slightly inconsistant with the blurb.

All in all I found this a lightwight book and not easy to recomend.


Pop Babylon
Pop Babylon
by Imogen Edwards-Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.59

2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Insight but still Babylon Pap, 9 Sep 2010
This review is from: Pop Babylon (Paperback)
I have read some of the other Babylon series and find them at times to be a modern day version of the carry-on films.I enjoyed this book more than some of its counterparts.

I am first and foremost a music lover and that is why I was principaly attracted to the book.

The storyline, although totally believable, will not shatter any barriers in the originality stakes. It focuses on a manufactured boy band with minimal talant, that is considered to have the abs and looks, to make it to the top,

A former manager of independent bands has fallen on hard times and is largely considered outdated. His attempts to discover, manufactire and market the "Band of Five" form the core of the book.

The co-author obviously has a fairly strong attachment with the music industry and the one liners and asides used to make comparisons that are based upon actual music performers are are both interesting and amusing.

The book also offers an interesting and entertaining insight into how the music industry has evolved over the past 15 years with hits on web sites now taking almost equal priority and importance as sales or records.

The fact that a band like Radiohead would make an album available online free in the knowledge that the concert sales would make 10 fold the loss was interesting and indicitive of the level of detail to be found in the book.

The book also offers insight into promotional and management financial splits and the financial mechanics of the industry that may mean that although "The Sun" thinks that you are highly newsworthy and will do anything concievable for a scandel based story, the artists are still living hand to mouth in considerable discomfort on one hundred pounds per week.

The book is let down by the fact that the characters that form the band are so non-discript and tales of sex with groupies is no great revelation. cocaine, young girls, hangovers, hardly revolutionary revelations

The story of their rise may be based upon fact but it so tad and predictable it is almost boring. From my limited exposure to these Babylon books I have found that they rely on situations rather than characters and when the situations are repackaged superficial re-counts the absence of depth to any of the participants becomes glaringly apparent.

The members of the band seem to have little depth to them and carry off a whole range of situations like the gay singer "coming out" without the novel creating any mood or impact related to the situation. It is just a routine re-run through a well troden path that has been down so much more better and more meaningful before.

Possibly therein lies the problem, the Babylon series of books are in my opinion throwaway sensationalist pap and when they attempt to digress and adopt a more singular detailed approach they fall very short when it comes to areas of detail and an inability to re-create any situation convincinally in writing.

It falls on two fronts then because it does not satisfy the hard core Babylon brigade nor the music fans that were attracted to the book by its topic matter.

It was very easy to read and at times entertaining but certainly not a book to recomend too strongly.


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