THE GLOVES: A Boxing Chronicle

Robert Anasi, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux/North Point $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-86547-599-1

A world away from the pay-per-view bonanzas where hype and egos reign are the musky neighborhood gyms and foulmouthed trainers who nurtured those big-time boxers. In this lyrical look at the world of amateur boxing, freelance writer Anasi chronicles how jabbing and jump-roping at a grubby gym in San Francisco's Tenderloin district developed into a life-altering quest to compete, in his early 30s, in New York's storied amateur boxing tournament, the Golden Gloves. It's not an easy journey: his trainer, for example, a blunt, boisterous Puerto Rican named Milton, throws him into sparring sessions he's bound to lose while peppering him with insults from ringside. Of course, Anasi notes, that's not how trainers see it. "Instead they mention 'good rounds,' 'going easy,' 'working with someone,' " he writes. "As in the romance around sex, the stereotyped, delicate language serves to cloak a more brutal reality." Anasi cloaks nothing, and his forthright style serves to highlight not only boxing's brutal reality, but also its beauty and allure. He tells fascinating stories of the other characters he meets and illustrates their lives in and out of the ring. This attention extends to the irrepressible Milton, whose unorthodox style Anasi comes to respect, even as he recognizes his trainer's faults and limitations. Absorbing and honest, with prose an effortless mix of facts, poetic descriptions and personal vignettes, this book will appeal even to those with no prior knowledge of the ring. What John Feinstein has done for higher-profile sports, Anasi has done for amateur boxing. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/26/2001
Release date: 02/01/2002
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-86547-652-3
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-84018-889-9
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-1-84018-633-8
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4668-0047-2
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