4 out of 4 stars
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Boxing Short Stories is a fictional collection of stories which are loosely based on the authors’ experiences in the world of boxing. The book was co-written by Colleen Aycock, whose father was a professional boxer, and Mark Scott, a former Golden Gloves boxer.
Boxing Short Stories gives readers an opportunity to see the world of boxing for what it is, presenting both the good and bad. The stories are written from the viewpoints of a wide variety of characters who come from different walks of life and time periods, are in the sport of boxing for a wide variety of reasons, and all with widely different experiences. We don’t just get to see things from the viewpoint of boxers, but we see what it is like to be a promoter, a trainer, or even a family member of these devoted boxers.
I loved how the book placed a spotlight on different aspects of boxing. For example, one of the stories, “Gone to Hollywood” highlights the psychological effect that the sport can have on boxers. In it, we follow a professional boxer from Philadelphia whose opponent dies after a clean knockout. Instead of being sent to jail, he earns the name “the Baby-Faced Assassin” and gets called up to Los Angeles for a commercial and a shot at the title. As the story unfolds, we see the hidden toll that the experience in the ring with his now-dead opponent takes on him. I like that this story was told by the Professional fighter in an easy-going, conversational manner, yet carried such a heavy, thought-provoking message. Most of the other stories followed suit.
The thought-provoking, at times heavy, messages contained in the book are well balanced out with the humor contained in a few of the stories. The story I found to be the funniest was “Hard Hustle” about a boxer who becomes famous after his song makes it to the charts; strangely, he disappears into thin air. I promise you, the end of this story will leave you in stitches!
I went into this book knowing literally nothing about boxing and came out with a new-found respect for the courage and dedication it takes to be a boxer. One hardly thinks about the risk that a fighter takes each time they step into the ring. Yet, “His Shoes” points out how there are only four possible outcomes which face boxers: win, lose, quit, or die. Yes, death is a stark reality. Not only do boxers face great risks, but they also have to make enormous sacrifices in preparation for fights. For example, I noticed that most of the trainers in the stories frowned upon their fighters being involved with women. Imagine having to sacrifice love.
I have to rate Boxing Short Stories 4 out of 4 stars. It was massively entertaining, convincing, and educational. I recommend it to readers who enjoy lifelike experiences, not just boxing fans. I am not a boxing fan myself, and yet, I loved every one of 21 stories in this book.
Boxing Short Stories
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