FALLING HARD: A Rookie's Year in Boxing

Chris Jones, Author . Arcade $23.95 (190p) ISBN 978-1-55970-621-6

In a mixed effort, Toronto-based Jones chronicles a year of professional fights and learning the ropes as a neophyte ringside newspaper reporter for the newly formed National Post. In what is always a dicey move, he places himself squarely in the focus of his story. Rather than yielding interesting results, the exercise becomes a distraction that strays into a nuisance. Covering his first fight, Jones quotes a promoter saying that no matter what happens, the event will make his boxer "a bigger player." Jones adds, "Yes, I agree. Me too." Add to this photos of Jones's press credentials at the beginnings of chapters, a prevalent sense of awe at actually being a boxing writer and even a scene where Jones scolds Eddie Murphy for interrupting him—and the self-absorption becomes tiresome. Jones's strength lies in his reporting skills, and he uses them aptly to paint vivid character portraits of the boxers, giving readers a vested interest in his descriptions of their bouts. But those descriptions themselves often lack solidity, as if Jones is still feeling the pinch of column inches instead of using the opportunity of a book to explore and elaborate. He writes, "The action is desperate. Both fighters consent to furious exchanges. Lefts and rights batter heads and bellies." At other times, the writing is much more effective, particularly when Jones ruminates on his first trip to Las Vegas and the sorry decline of Mike Tyson. Despite its flaws, the book offers enough flourishes of this kind and behind-the-scenes details to entice a fan of the sport to go the distance. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/01/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 191 pages - 978-0-224-06257-2
Paperback - 191 pages - 978-0-88784-664-9
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4481-1386-6
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