Quite different from Budd Schulberg's The Harder They Fall (Random, 1947) which did some hardhitting on the fight racket, this pinpoints the psychological peculiarities of a youngster, crippled by family scars. Danny Callahan submits to championship training through fear of his mother's weaknesses -- for men, for liquor, for money -- through fearful memories of his father's accidental (or voluntary ?) death. Coached, coddled, handled and helped by Pack Cohen (a portrait to remember), Danny goes far in fisticuffs, manages a tortured romance, is able to avoid a manslaughter charge when he kills an opponent -- and is eventually freed from his obsessions by an old drunken doctor. He is then able to face a future outside the ring. A not too subtle, but an effective, picture of the way up the rosin row which encounters some credible -- and creditable -- characters en route.