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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 28 June 2011
Boxing is a harsh, unforgiving and uncompromising sport. To become a good boxer a fighter must be dedicated, disciplined and single-minded. Boxing has been unfairly stereotyped over the years and there are plenty of examples of the `nice guy' finishing on top. Barry McGuigan is one such example.

In the 1980s at the height of the `Troubles' in Northern Ireland this exciting featherweight captured the hearts and imaginations of both Catholic and Protestants in his own country as well as having massive crossover appeal worldwide. His was a feel-good story, the Catholic lad married to a Protestant girl who wore the dove of peace on his boxing shorts and preached tolerance during one of the darkest hours for Ireland. When McGuigan fought the two factions ceased hostilities to cheer their hero on. It is little wonder then that Jim Sheridan's biography written at the height of his fame was called `Leave the Fighting to McGuigan.'

A few years later after his professional career ended another book was written by Gerry Callan and Harry Mullan with help and input from McGuigan. Yet this new book `Cyclone: My Story' is the first book written by the former champion himself.

As a huge fan I was eager to read this and learn more, finally getting Barry's own perspective and analysis on his life and career inside the ring and out.

The book does not disappoint, like his writing in the newspapers and his ringside commentaries, this book is packed with honesty and insight. He has always been an intelligent and articulate individual and here he takes the reader through his early years growing up in the border town of Clones, his amateur and professional careers and life after boxing.

The narrative is like his fighting style used to be: fast paced and highly entertaining. I surprised myself with the speed with which I absorbed and devoured this book; that is testament to the writing style and ability to describe events, being both entertaining and informative. I particularly enjoyed reading about his family: his hard-working and organised mother, his genial and talented singing father, as well as his siblings. The early part is packed with humorous incident and colourful characters and McGuigan excels at bringing these people and events vividly to life.

All the great nights at the King's Hall where he had some of his greatest triumphs are recounted here. McGuigan's challenge for Eusebio Pedroza's WBA word featherweight title was watched by 27,000 at ringside, with 20 million watching on the BBC and a staggering estimated 200 million more watching around the world. Compare those figures to the big fights today and you soon get an idea of just how much of a household name he was at the height of his fame.

Of course nothing lasts forever and McGuigan does not shy away from openly talking about the bad times as well. He is candid about losing the title in the blazing heat of the desert in Las Vegas to Steve Cruz and the terrible tragic personal events that followed after that defeat. There was the comeback and retirement followed by the McGuigan we know today: commentator, writer, amateur coach and, more recently, boxing promoter.

He talks openly and honestly about everything, the successes as well as the disappointments and heartbreaks. We learn more about the Professional Boxers Association which McGuigan co-founded with fellow boxers Nicky Piper and Colin McMillan in 1993. We learn about how McGuigan trained for his contests and how techniques on training and nutrition have developed and changed in the last few years. He also gives his take on amateur boxing and how it can be a positive force in young people's lives as well as his boxing academies that are opening across the country. There can be no doubt that McGuigan is `putting back' as the old saying goes.

This is compelling and riveting stuff and I came away with a much greater understanding of who he is. The book goes behind the image of the genial and polite former fighter with the microphone.

Simply put `Cyclone: My Story' is a must read not only for McGuigan fans (and that includes non-boxing people) but anyone who wants to read a truthful warts and all autobiography. Boxing has an engaging and highly knowledgeable ambassador in him. Bring on the next chapter!
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on 17 June 2011
A wonderful, soulful, insight into a man that was not only a childhood hero of mine, but a legend in and out of the ring. The book, for me, shows his inner strength, decency, and humility. And what is not to like about that - so many sporting heroes turn out to have feet of clay, but this guy is a really inspirational character. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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on 15 June 2011
No ghost writing here,a tale from the heart.This is Barry speaking. Painfully honest at times,genuinely funny, tragic,Young Ali, Dermot and Barry's father. Immensely readable.Those of us who followed his indeed cyclonic story are transported back in time, the opening chapter is mesmerising.I have collected boxing books for over forty years, and this is one of the best.Champion.
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on 31 December 2013
As a keen Irish boxing fan, it will be no surprise that Barry was a hero to me so my review should be viewed with this taken into consideration.
However, I have always felt that Barry's career was unfulfilled. This was for a number of reasons and this book delves into the reasons for why this happened. The one overriding theme is honesty and of taking responsibility for his actions, regardless if the outcome was positive or negative.
The book also goes into fantastic detail of some of his key fights, the build-up, the fight itself and the aftermath. You do really feel as if you are there and his technical explanation of the tactics used is a much valued added bonus.
He does not shirk taking about the fall out with Eastwood, his defeats, the death and the massive impact it had on him of Young Ali and of course, because of the time and the places, how the troubles in Northern Ireland impacted on him.
Would recommend this for boxing fans of any age.
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on 17 October 2011
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.
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on 17 September 2014
Before this I read Nigel Benns book which was OK but lacked the depth I really wanted as a boxing fan. I'm old enough to remember Barry's world title fight and I have always admired the way he has kept himself in peak physical condition even after retiring from boxing.

The book is great story about his life, growing up and training with the troubles in Ireland at the time. I especially liked the depth of coverage in fight preparation, training, emotions, as well as detail about his fights. It gives you a real insight to the man and a sense of the kind of regime, sacrifices and mindset you need to reach the top in your chosen profession. Barry covers everything, the high points, the low points, the tragedies in his life; the lot.

Even for those with little interest in boxing it is still a great story.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 March 2013
I purchased this for my husband who is a big Barry McGuigan fan. He was going away for a few days on work and wasn't going to have much entertainment so I bought it for him. He really enjoyed it and said it was a fantastic biography. It goes through all of the highs and lows and bits in between. Nice size book, looks nice. My husband liked it so much hes read it a couple of times.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 July 2012
The first thing that comes through strongly about this book is that it is most certainly not 'ghost written'; I have been watching Barry McGuigan for many years, and his style and personality very much come through the pages.

This is a fascinating story, and although I have been a fan for some time, having many of his fights on video/DVD, I was not aware of just how significant he was as a national hero; I was quite young when Barry McGuigan was in his prime, so had little awareness of just how popular (and politically relevant) he was.

The book covers his whole life, and brilliantly portrays the feelings of both jubilation and sadness in equal amounts.

As mentioned before I haave been a fan of Barry McGuigan for some time, but this has been as a boxer and a pundit; this book has now made me appreciate him as a man.

I have read a great deal of boxing autobiographies, in excess of one hundred, and would definitely place this near the top of that list.

Highly recommended.
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on 12 October 2015
This is a truly awful book ...poor and uneven content highlighted by the authors decision to omit segments of his life that he simply chooses to leave out e.g the whole Eastwood era. Difficult to read and not recommended even to boxing fans...
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on 2 September 2013
Barry McGuigan is one of the household names from the last few decades of boxing. He fought at the high point of boxing on terrestrial television, which helps explain why he is just as well-known among non-sporting housewives as he is among boxing aficionados. In this autobiography, McGuigan takes us through his life and boxing career. The descriptions of his early life on the Northern/Republic Irish border during the Troubles is interesting, as are his explanations of boxing tactics within the ring - this is obviously a guy who knows his sport well. The tone is conversational, which occasionally means that the prose is a little stilted - probably a sign that McGuigan has written this himself or the ghostwriter (if one was used) has used taped conversations as the basis of the text. Personally, I'd have preferred a professional editor to make the text a little clearer, but it's only a minor complaint. I'd also have liked to have known a bit more about his split with his manager - McGuigan makes clear that it's not an issue he wants to include in the book. Overall, an interesting read.
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