Tag Archives: Boxing Movies

Rage Management

Southpaw

reviewed by Len Abram

southpaw-week-movies-slider“The decision is unanimous: Prizefighting is the movies’ favorite sport,” writes critic Mark Feeney. Over 50 boxing films have been produced since 2000, four since 2015. The decline of boxing from its golden era, the troubling questions about the safety of the athletes, and the rise of competing mixed martial arts make the popularity all the more surprising. 

Boxing caught the public imagination in a way that team sports have not. Stars like Tom Brady and LeBron James excel because fellow players provide blocking and ball handling to make their superb achievements possible.

Unlike team sports, the boxer, nearly naked, battles alone.

The public admires the dedication of the solitary boxer to train for the fight and the courage to risk brain and body in pursuit of victory. Unlike team sports, the boxer, nearly naked, battles alone. His trainer, his seconds, perhaps a manager, often experts on cuts and bruises at ring side, and with family and friends cheering, all these count.
At the bell, however, and off the stool, he stands by himself. His skills for offense and defense, plans for victory, and training come down to a kind of moment of truth. Can he win or avoid a humiliating defeat? Can he protect himself from injury? After this contest, will he fight another day?
As metaphors go, in boxing movies there can be another opponent in the ring, the boxer himself. Self-knowledge and self-mastery can turn out to be his most fundamental adversaries, as they are in “Southpaw.”

Redemption is prime thematic territory for the boxing movie.

The movie “Southpaw” (2015) opened to mixed reviews and public endorsement. Costing $30 million to produce, the movie grossed over $90 million. It is directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by Kurt Sutter, and stars Jake Gyllenhaal (as Billy Hope) Forest Whitaker (as Tick Wills), Rachel McAdams (as Maureen Hope), and Oona Laurence (as Leila Hope).

Praise came for directing and performances, even for the child actor who plays the fighter’s daughter. The complaints were for the predictability of the boxing movie plot. The “familiarity” of the boxing film genre drives some critics away, says Brian Tallerico, but not viewers looking for “an old fashioned tale of redemption.”

Redemption is prime thematic territory for the boxing movie. The hero suffers the changes of fortune, such as the rags-to-riches and riches-to-rags plots of the films. The Rocky movies played the theme both ways, Rocky on his way up, down, and back up. Very often how the boxer hero handles defeat portrays his true character, the test of resilience.

Writer Kurt Sutter draws on another familiar plot mechanism: the brash self-promotion of a younger opponent wishing for a title shot. The upstart insults the resident champ in public, Billy Hope, demeaning his achievements and embarrassing him in front of his wife. It happens in Rocky III and in “Southpaw” too, with much more tragic results.

Twice in the movie Sutter uses naming to express an idea.

Sutter is well aware that he’s drawing on conventions, for others the clichés, of his genre. A play or a movie expects the audience to play along with the premises of the story and to identify with its hero. Twice in the movie Sutter uses naming to express an idea: his hero will have to exert his will to define himself anew.

The name William or Billy suggests that Billy is a person, who needs to apply his will to shape his fate. His trainer in the story, Tick Wills, another use of the name, teaches Billy that he must first control his own anger.

Billy Hope fights well because he has enough anger, enough rage, to fuel his ferocity in the ring. Billy, however, is not a smart fighter. He gets hit too much. Anger, Wills teaches, tires the fighter quicker and leads to impetuous mistakes. Boxing is intellect over brawn.
Wills quotes the great Benny Leonard: boxing is a chess game. For Hope, it’s a brawl to prove he’s tougher than his opponent. Hence the beating he allows himself to take. His left eye needs protection; he could go blind. So too, Billy has been blind to his behavior, contributing to the mess his life has become.

Wills quotes the great Benny Leonard: boxing is a chess game.

The movie opens with the ritual of the hands, their supervised taping in pristine white gauze and tape, so at odds with how they will be used. When Billy’s wife encourages him before the fight, she begs him to protect himself. By the end of the bout, Billy’s face is splitting blood from cuts like an overripe tomato. He proclaims his victory to the crowd, vaulting high on adrenalin, vaunting like a proud ape. Our sympathies take a while to collect for him.

From foster homes to $10 million a fight is what we learn about Billy. In an mansion outside of New York City, the champion lives with his family, the bonds of affection between Billy, Maureen and Leila their daughter powerfully acted. The reversal, to use Aristotle’s term, takes place at a charity event, where Miguel Escobar, the up-and-coming challenger, insults the champ. This is the moment of truth, as his wife cautions self-control, of which Billy has little. That tragic mistake, which done cannot be undone, is Billy’s, as he will have to admit, under the direction of his mentor, trainer Tick Wills, played by Forest Whitaker. 

From there, Billy goes down for a count of 100. He loses his discipline, abuses drugs and alcohol, contemplates suicide and revenge, even loses his daughter to the state. From a mansion of many rooms to a few hundred square feet dingy apartment. Bleak for sure, but the neighborhood does have a boxing gym run by trainer Tick Wills.

Boxing is not only his way to earn a living and get his daughter back, it’s also his redemption. Wills is the mentor who teaches him the chess board of boxing, in which fighting southpaw will turn out to be a powerful tool. Billy gains self-control and self-knowledge. The judge in child services congratulates Mr. Hope for his turnaround.

In the final bout of the movie, Billy nearly falls back into rage and lose the fight. His mentor Wills and the memory of his beloved wife Maureen, whose name is tattooed on his back, return him to his senses. He is back in charge.

Audiences applaud this boxing movie and the genre in general. In “Southpaw,” Billy Hope and hope triumph over circumstances, given the discipline to train, the humility to learn, and the courage to face the opponent in the ring.

Rocky III and the Beginning of the End

Rocky III

Reviewed by David Curcio

51cFkLvMlLLFrom the opening credit sequence, it is difficult not to get at least a little pumped for Rocky III, the first of a series of codas to Rocky’s fairy tale. In a recap of the climactic fight from Rocky II, the ravaged Balboa and Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) tumble to the canvas at the same moment, effectively knocking each other out (in slow motion, naturally). The fight has been long and bloody, the count’s begun… but wait! Rocky is stirring, he’s getting up! As the count reaches roughly nine and three quarters, he rises to his feet, wobbling, teetering, and the new Champ.

It is perhaps the oddest, most unlikely outcome to a fight ever conceived

It is perhaps the oddest, most unlikely outcome to a fight ever conceived- especially a fight that would have been stopped by any sensible referee several rounds prior. But with the 80s in high gear, this extended fairy tale had become a cartoon, and not meant to reflect anything resembling boxing or, for that matter, reality. Then a whistle of fireworks explodes into an unholy amalgamation of neon, halogen, and pyrotechnics to blast Rocky’s name across the screen, and with the first stabbing guitar strains of Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger belting out the opening montage, who cares about reality? We’re in it for the long haul, already sucked into this fantasy world. Clips flash by as Rocky defends his title, knocking out challenger after challenger with wild, spastic roundhouses before taking dainty bows (or are they curtseys?) like a lumpy Lord Fauntleroy, his hair as quaffed as his bespectacled cop in Tango and Cash. But he is also seen advertising credit cards and automobiles, appearing on The Muppets, and generally screwing off to further endear himself to the public. Rocky is a brand name now. As his opponents fall, an ominously pissed-off figure in the personage of no less than Mr. T is seen storming out of the arena. Meet Clubber Lang, an up-and-comer training alone in his small apartment, running through the slums, and knocking out opponents only to push the ref aside and continue his beatings. (This perversion of the most basic rule of boxing could actually give a ten year old boy – take me for example – the notion that there is a semblance of realism here.) Nevertheless, while Rocky may still be on top, he’s slacking. He’s getting cocky, and by the fadeout of Survivor’s power-rock classic, the good guy and the bad guy are pretty well established. (Though even a ten year-old knows Rocky’s the good guy – his name is in the film’s title.)

Living in a mansion with Adrienne (played by Talia Shire and her perpetually worried brow) and her slovenly, hanger-on brother Paulie (Burt Young and his perpetual stubble), Rocky Balboa drives around his grounds in a fancy golf cart with his son as he blows through his money and brain cells (see Rocky V and Creed). This is less worrying in the moment as his speech and vocabulary have grown admirably since the last installment, possibly due to his newfound affluenza (or the haircut). While Burgess Meredith’s grizzled, snarling Micky still manages and (presumably) trains him, Rocky’s growing soft, mentally complacent, ready to gather his chips and leave the game. If only it were that easy.

But before the drama kicks in, some action please. A fundraising exhibition match that amounts to an ominous pitch for the then-emerging World Wrestling Federation (This is where the fight game is headed?, a little voice seems to whisper) introduces the public to the young Hulk Hogan. He is Thunderlips, a name that serves only to confirm the deliberate pansexual personae of WWE wrestlers, likely and perhaps unconsciously adapted from the original Liberace of wrestling, Gorgeous George (also a major influence on Muhammed Ali, who’s braggadocio and feminized descriptions of himself as “pretty” and “beautiful” made its way into modern wrestling and 80s glam rock). Presumably more entertaining than Hogan’s 2012 sex tape with Bubba the Love Sponge’s estranged wife Heather Clem (who must pick her men based on the absurdity of their names), the two toss each other around the ring as the Hulk’s media image is cemented. And we didn’t even know what Gawker was yet. Who would have guessed he would have his own eponymous children’s cereal within the year?

Balboa’s Cinderella-like (sorry Braddock) rise to fame leads to the unveiling of a life-size bronze sculpture in his own likeness at the base of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. While it has become a Philadelphia landmark, at the time it was a royal snub to the city’s own Joe Frazier, central to what many would consider boxing’s last great age and one year retired at the time of the film. Conceived of, written into the script, and paid for out-of-pocket by Sly “Mr. Modesty” Stallone himself, this makes it all less surprising. Moved and teary, he feigns unworthiness: “It’s beautiful,” he remarks (see previous sentence). In front of the adoring crowd, Rocky announces his plans to retire (the actor was already 36 at the time). Then a gravelly flow of angry heckling rises above the mob.

One cannot underestimate Mr. T’s popularity in the mid-80’s.

One cannot underestimate Mr. T’s popularity in the mid-80’s.Having cemented his tough-guy cred as bodyguard to Ali, Frazier, Leon Spinks, and others, Stallone offered him the role of Clubber Lang after seeing him on television’s “America’s Toughest Bouncer” ( a short-lived reality show that doesn’t even have its own wiki page). An early proponent of bling, mohawks, and feather earrings, he began his showbiz career as a villain, incorporating his catchphrase about pitying fools that was to become his staple as he remodeled himself as a friend to children through television appearances on kid’s prime time and anti-bullying PSAs on Saturday morning cartoons.

Presumably modeled after a loose amalgamation of Sonny Liston and Muhammed Ali (a terror-inducing presence and the inability to just shut up for just one minute, respectively), he begins to heckle and harangue Rocky, demanding a shot at the title. It takes but one, relatively tame suggestive comment directed at Adrienne during this most auspicious of occasions to throw Rocky into a frenzy: “You want it, you got it!” he yells, wriggling as Micky and Pauly, neither of whom could so much as lift a croissant, manage hold him back. Generally, there is a bit more to scheduling a Heavyweight Title fight, wherein negotiations between promoters and managers can take months or even years, state sanctioning rules can hold up bouts indefinitely… but screw it. Such details would make for some seriously boring cinema, so without further ado, the fight is on. With minimal training and Micky on his death bed (actually a bench), Rocky is swatted about like a mouse and kayoed in the second round. To top off a really crap day, Micky dies moments after the fight.

To top off a really crap day, Micky dies moments after the fight.

Poor Rocky is feeling despondent. He goes for a motorcycle ride, throws his helmet at his bronze likeness (careful Sly, you spent a lot of your own money on that thing!), and ends up in his training gym where, like all angry people do in movies when there is a speed bag around and they’re upset, punches it with all the menace of Don Knotts. Then out of the shadows emerges his old nemesis Apollo Creed. Just what was he was doing in a darkened gym besides waiting around on the off-chance that Rocky may show up remains a great cinematic mystery. But with Mickey dead, Apollo offers to train Rocky for a rematch, both out of the goodness of his heart and his desire to see Clubber Lang take a good clubbering himself (Clubber was rather rude to Apollo at the first fight). Within a couple of minutes old rivals become good friends.

The Stallion is treated to an impassioned speech by Apollo wherein he is told that, back when the two of them were fighting, Rocky had “the eye of the tiger.” While I have never gazed deep into the eye of an actual tiger, audiences will recall that, during the first two films, Rocky wore the worried expression of a guy who doesn’t know how he ended up where he did and is fairly certain he doesn’t belong there. The line comes off as a shill for the film’s soundtrack (or perhaps it was the other way around – it’s a chicken-and-egg question not worth pursuing).

The obligatory training montage for the rematch (and be grateful there is only one as I counted no less than three in Rocky IV) eschews raw eggs and running up the art museum steps for the gym and long runs on the beach as Gonna Fly Now once again assaults our auditory dignity. While every movie montage portends the obvious victory to come, the fighters’ Iron John training relationship carries more undertones of homoeroticism than a Jean Genet novel, with roadwork culminating in the two splashing about the waves and jumping up and down in an embrace like two giggling girls whose just found out they can have a sleepover. Then the screen freezes with the ding of a bell and it’s Welcome to Madison Square Garden. While the seventy five year-old Sinatra’s rendition of Bad Bad Leroy Brown at the same venue carried of more ludicrous action and threats of permanent brain damage than this fight, spoiler-alert etiquette forbids me to reveal the victor and once-again Heavyweight Champ.

Back in the darkened gym, Rocky and Apollo decide to have one last rematch of their own: right here, right now. No crowds, no ref, no doctor, no time keeping, and no bell. But again, what kind of geek really notices these picayune details? As the two simultaneously throw their first punch, the picture morphs into a paint-spattered, palette knife-slashed nightmare of a Leroy Neiman image of the mid-action freeze frame. That’s immortality, and in case there’s any doubt that we’ve reached the end of some kind of trilogy, it is abolished by the absolute certainty that another installment is not far off. So watch out, you Pinkos.

Movie Review: The Set-up 1949

This is the inaugural essay in an ongoing series by the sad young men at Boxing Over Broadway discussing various boxing films ranging from the good, the great, and the abominable. Check back periodically as we begin to catalog the greats (and duds) of this rich, vibrant genre.

 

The Set-up, 1949. dir. Robert Wise

Reviewed by David Curcio

Set-Up PosterRobert Wise’s The Set-up opens with a hovering shot over the seedy side of a nameless city. Clubs with names like “Paradise” and ‘Dreamland” loom like oracles over a bustling street corner. A kid runs around hawking newspapers and brazenly eases into a crowd where a middle aged guy is doing the same. The kid takes over fast, and when the the older guy tells him he’s gotta make a buck too, the kid replies, “Aw, go take a walk!” It is not a friendly world for the old and middle aged.

It is not a friendly world for the old and middle aged.

So too with boxing, and The Set-up gets this better than any film about the sport before or since.

On the surface, The Set-up looks like the prototype of the age-old tale of the aging fighter, long-past his prime who, due to the workings and exchanges of managers, gangsters, and other venal scumbags, must throw what is certain to be his last fight. But to the surprise of the thugs waiting to collect, he puts pride before personal safety and manages to win by a knockout. This trope can be seen as recently as Bruce Willis’s character in Pulp Fiction and in the popular comic book series Daredevil, where our hero’s father’s is murdered for winning a fixed fight. But The Set-up delivers an added blow to its otherwise straight forward combination: our over-the-hill pug is never let in on the fix.

Robert Ryan is Bill “Stoker” Thomson, a marked-up thirty five year-old matched against endless waves of cute twenty-three year-old hopefuls. His relationship with his long-suffering wife is becoming increasingly strained on account of his routine beatings – each worse than the last – in the ring. “One punch away,” he tells her with unrealistic hope and optimism, and from her response,“You’ll always be ‘one punch away’

“You’ll always be ‘one punch away’

,” it is clear that he’s been singing this tune way too long. Pathetically delusional and half punch drunk, Stoker is still convinced he has a shot: if he can win this $500 purse he’ll have a shot at Martinez! A shot at Martinez would in turn lead to a shot at the Pittsburg Windmill himself, Harry Greb. To hear him tell his wife he will return victorious is like hearing a child with a plastic shovel announce plans to dig to China, but a lot sadder. In a last ditch effort to change his mind, she suggest he work the docks, go on relief… anything except continue this masochistic delusion. Like the cowpoke at high noon, there is no talking him out of it. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Robert Ryan
Robert Ryan

The Setup, however, is as much about the sleazy, corrupt world of boxing at large, and this tale serves as a microcosm for all that has plagued the sport from its earliest days. As intrinsic to the sport as the fighters themselves are the money-grubbing vultures, the rabid spectators screaming for the blood to spill, and the fickle public who, like everyone in this world of real-life feints and deception, are waiting for their own payday. Stoker’s cigar chomping, lowlife manager, Tiny (played with a down-at-heals desperation and a wide nasty streak by George Tobias), and the mincing, thinly-mustachioed gangster with the ominous moniker of Little Boy (played with genuine menace by Alan Baxter) set up a series of bets in which Stoker will go down anytime after the second. And why cut Stoker in at all, they reason, if he’s going to lose anyway? It’s a lock: he just has to stay on his feet for two rounds.

Remarkably, the film’s fight sequences were shot in real time,

the film’s fight sequences were shot in real time

with three minute rounds and actors who knew what they were doing. Robert Ryan held the college heavyweight title during all four of his years at Dartmouth, and from the first shots of his feet circling the ring we know that we are in the presence of an experienced fighter, albeit one whose ankles are beginning to sink closer to the canvas with age. His body is still a finely tuned machine – like a late-career Gene Tunney, he is tall, slightly lanky, with the deltoids, lats, and calf muscles needed for the game (compare that to Stallone’s Rocky, with his giant biceps better suited for holding a 150 pound machine gun than a pair of gloves).

setupboxersFrom the opening bell the air hangs heavy with something more sinister than anticipation. Little Boy’s shifty eyes dart from the ring to the slobbering Tiny as Stoker lifts himself up after each knockdown, glides around the ring alternately stalking his young opponent, absorbing and slipping punches, and giving as good as he gets. If we look at a few of the great boxing films – Raging Bull, Body and Soul – a degree of believability is lost with them. Where emphasis in their case is placed squarely on the visual (as it should be in film), the fights nevertheless feel overly choreographed – camera work so saturated with the flash of camera bulbs and closeups of sweat and blood spraying across the screen in slow motion – that it actually lifts us out of the fight and into the realm of the purely cinematic. Every blow seems to land; the drama of a body hitting the canvas in slow motion feels tired to the contemporary viewer – surely the impact would be the same if not greater if we watched the action unfold in real time? But The Set-up gives us both. A film noir that revels in dark alleys, bright street corners and the blinding ring, combined with closeups of a bout that will not allow us to forget the deadly implications for our unwitting hero.

Originally a poem by Joseph Moncure March, The Set-up whitewashes the original source material in casting a white actor. But the film’s scenes of young hopefuls shows a color blind group supportive of one another (even the lithe, token African American, who resembles the Cuban fighter Kid Chocolate and is the one college boy of the group).

Finally, the sport would exist in a vacuum if not for the spectators, who, for better or worse, incite the action and react to every blow with expressions ranging from the delirious to the calculating. Some are here for blood, others for money, many for both. Women otherwise prim and composed scream “Kill ‘im!” like mad banshees; bookmakers look from the ring down to their charts, stubby pencils at the ready; slobs waiting for a bloody knockout pour popcorn down their throats. It is a sport for the intellectual who can understand the game for its grace and methodology, as well as for the louts out for blood like attendees at the Circus Maximus. As one looks at the sad turn the sport has taken in the past twenty plus years and the rise of MMA fighting, it seems the latter crowd has spoken as to what the people want in a bout, something folk singers Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan sang in their respective songs on the death of Davey Moore at the hands of Sugar Ramos in 1963:

“We just meant to see some sweat,

There ain’t nothing wrong in that.

It wasn’t us that made him fall.

No, you can’t blame us at all.”

“For the fighters must destroy as the poets must sing,

As the hungry crowd must gather for the blood upon the ring.”

-From Bob Dylan’s “Who Killed Davey Moore?” and Phil Ochs’ “The Ballad of Davey Moore,” respectively.

The-Set-up-30903_4The Set-up may be a boxing film, but one needn’t be a fan of the sport to enjoy it. In fact, one who abhors the violence of the game as well as the evil workings behind the scenes may feel vindicated by it’s sleaze and brutality – that is, if they can take their eyes and minds away from Milton Krasner’s silvery cinematography long enough to even contemplate these moral quandaries. Fight fans may be less than riveted by the straight forward dilemmas of the plot (which are sure to get wrapped up by the end of the film – it was highly unusual for the ratings codes to allow a film’s hero of to get knocked off). It is the fight scenes themselves that carry the action and anticipation of a real bout.

At the heart of the story is not the fight, not the fix, but the effect the game can have on a marriage. It is arguable that the film’s end – (“I ain’t fighting anymore,” he tells his wife) is a minor copout. Of course he won’t be fighting anymore, the mob has seen to that with the help of a brick.

Book Review: The Proper Pugilist: Essays on the Milling Art by Roger Zotti

Review by Mike Silver

Proper Pugilist
Proper Pugilist

Aside from being an astute observer of the boxing scene Roger Zotti is also an avid film buff, which makes his observations in this little gem of a book all the more interesting. Throughout the book Roger intertwines stories of the sweet science with his vast knowledge of Hollywood filmdom. I don’t know of any other author who can find something in common between the spectacular comebacks of Archie Moore vs. Durelle and Marciano vs. Walcott to the comebacks of film actors Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, Frank Sinatra in From Here to Eternity and Marlon Brando in The Godfather. But that is the subject of an essay titled “Fistic and Film Comebacks” and it’s what makes The Proper Pugilist: Essays on the Milling Art the perfect book for readers of this site.
Reading this concise collection of 22 short essays (each about three to four pages long) is akin to spending several enjoyable hours in conversation with a master story teller whose expertise and knowledge of his subject is obvious with every sentence. Several essays draw from the author’s personal experience as an enthusiastic young fan of televised boxing in the 1950s. In one essay he writes that his love of film and boxing was encouraged by his Uncle Cheech, citing comments he recorded in a decades old interview. “I love film noire”, says uncle Cheech. “Richard Conte, an Italian boy from New York, and McGraw—Charles McGraw—seemed to be in every film noire ever made. In many of Conte’s movies he was usually returning from somewhere—maybe from jail or from the service. In Cry of the City he gave his best performance. McGraw’s best movie was “The Narrow Margin. Where else but in a Roger Zotti book are you going to find stuff like this?

Where else but in a Roger Zotti book are you going to find stuff like this?
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway

In another essay titled “Dempsey According to Roger Kahn” the author takes issue with Kahn’s impugning the honesty of the referee in the famous Dempsey-Tunney long count fight that appeared in Kahn’s bio of Dempsey. In the same essay is an explanation as to why Dempsey, while heavyweight champion, refused to spar with Ernest Hemmingway.

Court Shepard and Paul Newman
Court Shepard and Paul Newman

In “Where Have You Gone Court Sheppard”, he writes about the actor that portrayed Tony Zale in the 1956 film biography of Rocky Graziano. The real Tony Zale was first hired to play himself in the movie but was unable to pull his punches during rehearsals with Paul Newman, who portrayed Graziano. After nearly flattening Newman twice, Zale was let go and replaced with Sheppard. We find out that Sheppard boxed professionally as a light heavyweight from 1937 to 1941 and compiled a 14-2-3 record. He also appeared in over two dozen other films. But even more impressive is that in 1936 he won the St. Louis Golden Gloves title by defeating future ring great Archie Moore in the finals! There are additional information filled stories on Dempsey, Sonny Liston, Stanley Ketchel, Jake LaMotta, Gene Tunney, Jack “Doc” Kearns and lesser known boxers from the 1950s television era such as Coley Wallace, Jimmy Herring, Roy Harris, Walter Cartier and Artie Diamond. Each of the 22 essays is just long enough to keep your interest and eagerly turn to the next story. I found it hard to put down this delightful foray into the colorful nether worlds of Hollywood and boxing.

The Proper Pugilist is a wonderful companion piece to Roger’s other book about boxing—Friday Night World: A Tribute to Fighters of the 1950s. That book is both a homage to the author’s favorite boxers of the 1950s and a memoir about growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, during the fifties era.

Mike Silver is the author of The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science (McFarland Publishers, paperback 2014). His new book, Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing (Lyons Press) will be published in March 2016.