‘Sporting Blood’ is a collection of essays which start with Muhammad Ali. With 21 essays in total, it leaves the reader feeling like they have suffered 21 rounds of a gym war with the ‘Louisville Lip’, bobbing and weaving through each chapter of misery.
Before a page is turned, to see a foreword from Thomas Hauser, you see both sides of the paperback filled with praise from wordsmiths, Tris Dixon and Donald McRae. Inside the pages the compliments continue from respected scribes including Steve Kim and Todd Snyder.
With such compliments flowing, the reader better buckle in for the ride as you’ll pass money and the mob, drink and drugs, women and temptations, murder and suicide.
With words of kindness from the writers aforementioned leaving their acclaim in print fills every reader with confidence they are about to read something that will stay with them for a long time.
The author, Carlos Acevedo, has established himself as one of boxing highly regarded scribes. A member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, Acevedo has seen two previous stories claim first place prizes within the BWAA awards.
When people think of boxing today they associate the sport with Anthony Joshua and the riches that come with fame. Sporting Blood brings the sport down into its realities from Jack Johnson in exile to the mysterious death of Sonny Liston.
The essay surrounding the death of Sonny Liston deserves the highest of praise as the finest piece of boxing writing I have read. It is of course down to opinion however, that essay alone is worth the purchase alone.
Fans will often look back on the likes of Aaron Pryor, Roberto Duran, Joe Frazier and more in great fondness with their in-ring achievements. The entertainment they provided for us they paid for with their lives in one way or another which unfolds as the pages turn in this gritty truth of boxing’s underbelly.
The tales from the dark side of boxing is available to purchase from www.hamilcarpubs.com for £13.99. Hamilcar Publications is a Boston-based publisher focused on the ‘sweet science’ alone. Along with their features under the Hannibal Boxing banner they, for me, hold the finest library of pugilistic column inches.
Former British and European champion, John Murray, recently told me “the more you know about boxing the more you realise how shit it is!” Those words couldn’t be more true, boxing is the cruelest temptress filled with her black magic casting her spells.
In some cases the temptress is just the puppet. The puppeteer, pulling all the strings, was the mob. The Johnny Saxon story highlights how a man can be taken to the very top at the hands of the unlawful and how quickly the sleight of hand, who fooled the police many times, can bring a man crashing down twice as fast as his rise.
Johnny Tapia had ‘my crazy life’ tattooed across his stomach. That would be an understatement. Growing up witnessing the worst images a boy could imagine, it was a rocky path to superstardom.
Pronounced dead on a number of occasions, as mentioned in greater detail in Paul Zanon’s book ‘The Ghost of Johnny Tapia’ also published by Hamlicar, Tapia was destined to be a writer’s dream. His story oozes talent and tragedy.
Not just Tapia, Acevedo also captures the dark side of Jake LaMotta in a powerful piece of writing. As a reader you build a feeling of bitterness and hatred towards the ‘Raging Bull’ and you become enraged over his bullshit actions.
There are many great features within this book that I haven’t mentioned, however, the rise and rapid fall of Michael Dokes is once more,x captivating reading at the highest level.
Carlos Acevedo should stand with his head held high and be proud of this carefully written book. The attention to detail in what are horrific circumstances and the sheer fact he can sway personal feelings towards a person through his words is simply special.