This book is a fitting tribute to a great and brave man who died pursuing his passion. Johnny will always be remembered by the Welsh people as well as so many others, especially those who share his love of boxing. Such a sad story, this not only reports the fight and it's immediate aftermath, but gives an insight into the dignity of his family and the respect that gave way to a statue of John in his home town of Merthyr. The unveiling saw the visit of his final foe, Lupe Pintor, who conducted himself with great dignity throughout. A fitting tribute to a remarkable, brave young man who will never be forgotten.
This book tells the life story of Johhny Owen, from Merthyr in South Wales, who became British and European Bantam weight Boxing champion, only to lose his life whilst in pursuit of the world championship title against Mexican Lupe Pintor in Los Angeles.
This is really two biogrophies, as the book relates the story of the rise to the top of their profession of Owen, and Pintor, and the people who influenced both of them, as well as an exploration of suprising links between South Wales and Mexico City, as the two men became drawn towards a night in September 1980, a night of high intensity, with it's cataclysmic aftermath.
Each round of the dramatic Los Angeles title fight is explored in detail, in between relating both men's story, charting the rise from working class backgorunds to the world championship Boxing arena. It is a story of hard work, dedication, but moreover, one of courage and love, because Johnny Owen was a very much human being, and his giant shadow still presides over Merthyr to this day, as well as over his adversary Lupe Pintor, who in 2002 unveiled a statue of Owen in Merthyr.
A film script has been written previously on this story, and it would be wonderful to see that project come to fruition in the future.
It has often been said that boxing is a sport "controversial and questionable, but surely fascinating". I couldn't think of a better way to expose and describe to anyone who is not directly involved in it (and some who are..) the best and the worst of this devilish discipline than this wonderful, compelling book, full of genuine and honest insights into the demands of boxing and the reasons why these remarkable characters choose to prove themselves in this ultimate test of physical strength, technique and sheer will-power. I had never heard of Johnny Owen before and knew nothing of this story. For whatever reason, I was just magnetized by the book as soon as I found it in the bookshop. Now that I have read it, it often happens that if I am out early in the morning, I find myself thinking about that nicest of men, out for his daily run - regardless of the weather - with a content smile on his face. I am sure Johnny would like to be remembered like this.
Stumbled across this book by chance and so glad I did. I can remember watching Johnny Owen as a youngster and feeling incredibly upset at his tragic demise following his bout with Lupe Pinter. The book was one of those that you struggle to put down and was really well constructed and researched, I also found it very touching too. A highly recommended read not only for boxing fans.
Without doubt the most moving boxing book I've ever read. when you read this book if you don't get a lump in your throat please check your pulse!
Brilliant research by the author which takes you through the boxing life of a great man. Broadbent though leaves it to the people who knew Johnny Owen best to tell their and his story then fantasticly charts the parallel life of Lupe Pintor until they finally met on that fateful night in September 1980. It doesn't end there though, it continues to tell how those most effected coped with the aftermath, until the unveiling of Johnny's statue. For me Broadbent's master stroke was the final few pages of this wonderful book, it would be easy for the author to put his two penny worth in but he leaves the final word to the man who knew Johnny best, his father, writing shortly before he passed away many years after his son's death, talks in a moving way about his son and boxing. This is a brilliant book worth reading if like me you are an avid boxing fan or care little for the sport.
I was 10 when Johnny fought for the World title and can remember the story of the fight and it`s sad conclusion being in the news at the time. This book tells Johnny`s story beautifully and also that of his opponent that night,Lupe Pintor. It`s a book that is hard to put down,yet,as i neared the end of it i dreaded turning the page,knowing the tragic outcome. Also,check out the BBC documentary about Johnny,The Long Journey,on youtube,also very moving.
This is a great concept for a sports biography - taking two stories and interweaving them until they become one in the climactic ending. It is poignant and very moving, with the details on Pintor's life after boxing giving it an extra dimension. Brilliant stuff.
This isn't just one of the best books on boxing I've ever read, or one of the best biographies, or one of the best sporting books. Quite simply it is one of the best books I have ever read. It is genuinely hard to put it down once you start reading it.
Bought this book some time ago for a future read. I was not disappointed with it. I grew up in the same area, people had no money and took no prisoners. After I read the book I felt quite sad, as the book mentioned people and places I knew when I was growing up. I was not disappointed with the book any way.