Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of listening to George Kimball read from his new book at Gelf Magazine’s Varsity Letters reading series. (Here are two video links: One and Two.) The book,Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing is a must for anyone interested in the fight game.
Kimball was there for it all and conveys the excitement these four champions brought to the game in this expertly reported book that is written in pleasing, straight-forward prose.
Nearly a quarter century later it remains a high point of boxing in the latter half of the twentieth century. Some knowledgeable experts have described it as the greatest fight in boxing history – which it probably wasn’t, if only due to its brevity. But its ferocious first round, which to this day remains the standard against which all others are measured, was undoubtedly the most exciting in middleweight annals, and one of the two or three best opening stanzas of all time.
What did Bob Arum know that the rest of us did not? Already in the midst of an age in which it had already become obligatory to sell every big fight – and many smaller ones – with a catchy slogan, the promoter who had already staged (with Don King) the Thrilla in Manila, as well as served as the impresario for Evel Knievel’s ill-fated attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon, christened the 1985 matchup between Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns simply “The Fight.”
This Friday, Kimball will be interviewed by none other than Pete Hamill (who wrote the foreword for the book) at the Barnes and Noble in Tribeca (97 Warren street). 7 pm, ya heard?
Again, anyone with a remote interest in boxing should brave the cold and check out what promises to be a riveting chat.