I never thought of myself as the sort of person would enjoy seeing people hit each other, let alone enjoy hitting people myself. And as for getting hit . . . But I guess I am that sort of person, a fact that still surprises me if I think about it hard enough. How did that happen?
The sport of boxing provokes love, loathing and sometimes lust with equal intensity. It is practised by boors and aesthetes, thugs and intellectuals. It's a ticket out of poverty, a middle-class fascination and a promoter's goldmine. It can hook people with a primal burst of adrenaline and clinch them tight-or repel them utterly from the first jab.
In On the Chin- A Boxing Education, Alex McClintock uses his own unlikely progress through the amateur ranks as a springboard to explore the history, culture and contradictions of the sweet science-with detours through some of its notable characters, including-
Benny 'The Ghetto Wizard' Leonard, who took great pride in the fact that his hair remained immaculately Brylcreemed throughout his fights; Australian middleweight champion and cafe proprietor Luigi Colluzi, dubbed 'the boxing barista'; The immaculately named Trenton Titsworth, who was once docked two points for kissing his opponent on the neck; And Joe Louis, the great African-American fighter famously described as 'A credit to his race- the human race.'
Informative, insightful and effortlessly entertaining, On the Chin is your essential guide to the art of hitting and getting hit.