THE PRIZEFIGHTERS: An Intimate Look at Champions and Contenders by Arlene Schulman

THE PRIZEFIGHTERS: An Intimate Look at Champions and Contenders

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A sharp, affectionate portrait -- in words and stunning photographs -- of prizefighters in their milieu. Photojournalist Schulman started shooting fighters in the early 1980s, when she covered the Kid Gloves at Madison Square Garden for ABC. She has since taken her camera to the famous, grimy gyms of the boxing world from New York to San Francisco, from the Dominican Republic to Ghana -- large or small, decrepit or modern, ""the smell of ancient sweat is the same."" Her visits include the Gramercy Gym on 14th Street, where Gus D'Amato trained Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres; the Kronk Gym in Detroit, home to Thomas Hearns and Evander Holyfield; Miami's Fifth Street Gym where Angelo Dundee worked Willie Pastrano and Muhammad Ali ""entertained"" Howard Cosell; and back to New York for peeks inside Stillman's and Gleason's, where names such as Joe Louis, Rocky Graziano, Kid Gavilan, Jake LaMotta, and Roberto Duran are more than mere legend. She takes a quick look at a few of the legendary matches: Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney; Ali's battles with Joe Frazier; the Duran-Sugar Ray Leonard saga; and the feisty Alexis Arguello-Aaron Pryor matchups. She offers incisive comments and profiles of dozens of fighters, from long-retired light-heavyweight champ Archie Moore to the little guys, barely 10, who box wearing gloves too large for their hands; from the great to the near-great, to those who made a career of standing up long enough to give the contenders a workout. There are success stories: Larry Holmes, Azumah Nelson, Roberto Duran. And sad stories: Leon Spinks, Aaron Pryor. There's also a touching portrait of trainer Ray Arcel, whose 20 champions over 65 years ranged from Tony Zale to the still-fighting Holmes. Boxing may or may not be ""a sport where the rewards outweigh the risks,"" but Schulman goes a long way toward putting a human -- if battered -- face on a profession long in disrepute.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Lyons & Burford