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3 Books to Buy a Boxing Fan this Holiday Season

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The holidays are just around the corner. With that comes the headaches associated with buying gifts. Not necessarily buying the gifts, but finding the right gifts.

If you’re lucky, that special someone in your life has a vast array of reasonably priced hobbies. If you’re really lucky, said person has an interest in reading and watching fights.

Today’s Knockout has you covered this holiday season. Here are three recent boxing titles that would make great stocking suffers for any hardcore fight fan this season.

 

Title: The Main Event: Boxing in Nevada from the Mining Camps to the Las Vegas Strip

Author: Richard O. Davies

Publisher: University of Nevada Press

Length: 320 pages

When Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez couldn’t agree where to hold their megafight this past November, they naturally settled on Las Vegas. Yet, the origins of Nevada as the capital of boxing go much deeper as Richard O. Davies seeks to prove in “The Main Event: Boxing in Nevada from the Mining Camps to the Las Vegas Strip.”

Davies starts the story in the 1890s when boxing was seen as a way of promoting the state. Nevada was admitted into the pro-Union sympathizers who wanted to help Lincoln win the election of 1864. However, by the 1890s federal authorities thought so little of Nevada it was almost merged with Utah.

Boxing was legalized in the state in 1897 to put the state on the map and promote investment.

Since then boxing has grown in the sport exponentially as the author notes, between 1960 and 2010, Las Vegas was the site of more than 200 championship fights. This is a solid academic history of a sport that remains the “main event” in Nevada.

 

Title: Mexican American Boxing in Los Angeles

Author: Gene Aguilera

Publisher: Arxadia Press

Length: 128 pages

If you were subscribed to Sports Illustrated on Valentine’s Day 1979, you would have seen an intriguing cover photo. SI’s photo editors had chosen an image of WBC featherweight champion Ernie “Indian Red” Lopez wearing boxing gloves, his title around his waist, and Native American headdress.  For SI, this was a way to highlight the fact that the WBC titlist from Alhambra, California shared Mexican, Irish and Ute heritage. The photo is striking especially given the current controversy over the NFL’s Washington Redskins but, also shows just how colourful Mexican American boxing has been in Los Angeles.

Indeed, the image is just one of the 170 intriguing photos in “Mexican American Boxing in Los Angeles” by Gene Aguilera. This photo history starts in the early 20th century and stops in 2005. This book is a must for those interested not only in boxing but, also those interested in Mexican-American or Californian history. The book covers everyone from the “Golden Boy” Art Eragon to the “Golden Boy “ Oscar De La Hoya. Indeed the strength of the book is when it casts light on forgotten greats like Lopez.

 

Title: Tony Zale: The Man of Steel

Author: Thad Zale and Clay Moyle

Publisher: WIN BY KO Publications

Length: 492 pages

“Tony Zale: Man of Steel” is one of the strongest boxing biographies of recent vintage. Tony Zale (born Antoni Florian Zaleski) is best known for engaging in an epic trilogy of fights with Rocky Graziano for the middleweight championship. He is little known outside those ring battles.

This book seeks to ameliorate that. Zale was born into a Polish American family in 1913. Zale’s father was struck and killed by a speeding car on his way to pick up some medicine for his sick son when Zale was still a child. Zale channelled his frustration into boxing. As a prospect, Zale fought his first 27 professional fights over just six months and established himself as a strong body puncher and contender for the middleweight title (in those days there was only one).

 

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