Kirkus Star


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When he's not attending to his ghetto practice, Pacheco's patients come from the decrepit Miami Beach Fifth Street gym--he's the unpaid doctor to hundreds of pro fighters. He does it for love of the sport and the pandemonium around it. The Doc outpunches most sportswriters on the typewriter too, and this--about Pacheco's all-time main man, Muhammad Ali--easily beats most of the blather written about the Champ. As a cornerman, Pacheco has a nonpareil view of the Ali Circus going into high gear around fight time. Every species of humanoid turns out: hangers-on, ""foxes,"" press, mobsters, show biz types, assorted Brothers from the streets. Ali thrives on it and Pacheco is right behind him, having learned to deal with the Muslim ""racist tidal wave"" though he won't pretend to enjoy it. He readily admits that, more than anything else, it kept Ali--so young, so gorgeous, so susceptible--from the ""ruination of the ghetto famous."" Kinetic and unflappable, Pacheco analyzes ali the great Ali-Liston/Frazier/ Norton/Foreman fights as well as such pseudoevents as the Ali-Marciano computer fight. More, the backstage and in-transit mayhem is totally believable, and often hilarious. On the 26-hour flight to Zaire: ""over a hundred American newsmen knew that there was something amiss when their direct charter plane to Zaire landed in Iceland."" So, what's the Champ really like? Pacheco is in his corner in every way and the ""genuinely sweet nature of Ali"" shines through the loudmouthed and vastly entertaining braggadocio.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Simon & Schuster