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Not strictly a Boxing Book
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.