THE FIGHTING FISHERMAN: The Life of Yvon Durelle by Raymond Fraser

THE FIGHTING FISHERMAN: The Life of Yvon Durelle

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On the evidence here presented (with ingenuous affection), Canada's ""Raging Bull"" is every bit as loathsome as the Stateside original. Like Jake LaMotta, Yvon Durelle brawled his way from straitened circumstances (a seacoast village in New Brunswick) close, but never all the way, to the top of the boxing world. In a 1958 match with Archie Moore for the light heavyweight title, he was knocked out in the eleventh after having floored the aged champ three times--including one ""long"" count of nine--during the first round. (In their return bout, Durelle was kayoed in three.) Still, the so-called Fighting Fisherman did win British Empire and Canadian titles; and throughout his 1947-63 ups-and-downs, he traded punches with some of the best of his time--Floyd Patterson, Jimmy Slade, Tony Anthony, Yolande Pompey. Outside the ring, we learn, rules meant little to Yvon. He hated to train but loved wild times, fast cars, and willing women. His idea of a joke was to defecate in the hats or other apparel of unwary companions. In a grimmer vein, Durelle in 1977 shot and killed an obstreperous customer outside his own saloon, the Fisherman's Club. Though he was eventually acquitted of manslaughter charges, the experience apparently sobered him (in all respects), and he now lives quietly on a modest income with Theresa, his wife of many years, in his hometown. Fraser, who hails from New Brunswick, tries to give Durelle the equivalent of a hometown decision--but even with kid gloves on, it's a gritty, bruising story.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1981
Publisher: Doubleday