Boxing is one of the world’s most controversial, most popular and most misunderstood sports. Born in the Olympics of Ancient Greece, it grew up on the streets of the United Kingdom as a bare knuckle sport. It crossed the Atlantic to America, where it became tied to and tainted by racial politics. Later, when it was televised, it faced still more controversies when deaths in the ring were broadcast on live TV. For its critics, boxing has always been an expression of unfettered individualism. But for critics, the sport has come across as depraved, ruthless and exploitative.
Boxing expert and American culture critic Gerald Early, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and director of the Department of African and African American Studies in Arts & Sciences, edits this ultimate guide to one of the world’s most interesting and controversial sports. “The Companion” offers more than two dozen engaging and informative essays about the social impact and historical importance of the sport of boxing. While the book covers luminaries of the sport such as Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Jack Johnson, Joe Louis and more, it also tells the lesser known stories of boxing. Essays on women in boxing, boxing and literature, boxing in Hollywood films, and boxing and opera are in the book, along with a comprehensive chronology of the sport, listing all of the important events and personalities.
This is a critical companion for fans of the sport and for those who want to decide for themselves what it means to step into the ring.