"I could go on and on regaling in my joy of reading many other chapters and subjects because I did enjoy this book very much."
Reviewed by Jerry Fitch
John Raspanti’s latest effort is a 272-page paperback that covers many personal experiences during his career. It is a very nice effort with many recollections of major events in John’s life regarding the squared circle he continues to cover.
While I admit I have not followed boxing closely for many years, I still found the stories very interesting and enlightening. I learned a lot reading about many recent fighters and fights.
True many of the names covered I am familiar with even if I don’t actually watch these combatants fight or write about them. I never can fault anyone who continues to love and support the fight scene as it is.
But for an “oldtimer” like me - I also thoroughly enjoyed many chapters that brought back fond memories of fights and fighters I not only watched but, in some cases, got to meet and even know.
Chapter 4 titled, “Some Thoughts On The Passing Of Smokin Joe” especially hit home as Joe Frazier was indeed one of my favorites and I wrote about him more than a few times during my active days of covering boxing.
And even some of the fighters I knew of well, I learned quite a bit. For example, I never knew that Andy Nance was forced to quit the ring because of an injury and damage that was discovered after his fight with Kelly Koble.
The chapter, number 12 is titled “From Triumph To Tragedy.” Andy was on the verge of a title fight, yet the damage done, the end of his career, although heartbreaking at the time, allowed him not only to live a full life and obtain many goals, to stay involved in other areas of boxing.
John’s previous published book was co-authored with Dennis Taylor and called “Intimate Warfare: The True Story of the Arturo Gatti and Mikey Ward Boxing Trilogy.” I was fortunate to enough to read that effort and review it.
This current book is strictly John’s and he did an excellent job.
So many chapters I related to like Chapter 10, “Coffee With A Warrior” his encounter with Bobby Chacon. Having had a short relationship with Bobby it really hit home and was a special chapter. Of course, Chapter 17 covering Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns, Chapter 18 the story of Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay, Chapter 27 The Thrilla in Manilla, Chapter 42 The Brown Bomber, these all were very special and in my field of expertise.
I loved Chapter 45, titled “A Tale Of Two Johnny’s.” In this one John tells the stories of former champions Johnny Bratton and Johnny Saxton. Both men had it all and lost it all. Johnny Saxton was also part of my early boxing life and the very first fight I ever saw was the third Carmen Basilio-Johnny Saxton welterweight title fight in 1957 in Cleveland at the old Arena. I was ten years old.
I could go on and on regaling in my joy of reading many other chapters and subjects because I did enjoy this book very much.
But I would remiss if I didn’t mention Chapter 50. This chapter is fiction, something I have never endeavored in. But I can say it was my favorite chapter. I won’t reveal any secrets. I suggest that if you are a boxing fan, young or old, check out this book, it will be well worth your time and effort.
John can be reached at www.maxboxing.com
Purchase John’s book here: www.amazon.com/dp/1981852891/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
Jerry Fitch, Boxing Historian/Author