Monday, October 29, 2007

Boxing Book Review

I just finished reading a book about former middleweight champion Carmen Basilio. The book is titled "The Onion Picker, Carmen Basilio and Boxing in the 1950s"

The book focus on Basilio and his path to glory while growing up in Canastota, N.Y. The book, written by Gary B. Youmans, is an unique look into one of the top fighters in his era. Basilio went 56-16-7 during his career, fighting the likes of Kid Gavilan, Tony DeMarco, Johnny Saxton and Sugar Ray Robinson. He beat Saxton, DeMarco and Robinson in title fights.

Basilio lived an honorable and determined life in and out of the ring, refusing to deal with the mob-controlled sport. The book also looks into some of the mob characters of the time and others who put the fights on.

Basilio worked hard at his craft during his nearly 13-year career. He never backed down from a challenge and it was his wins against Robinson and DeMarco that showed his true will. His fights against DeMarco were all-action and took everything in Basilio to earn the win. Against Robinson, he beat one of boxing's great champions and even though he lost the rematch, Basilio's win against Robinson was arguably his greatest moment.

There is no doubt that Basilio was one of boxing's great warriors and the book about his life gives an unique view into what made him a great fighter and how he got involved in the sport. He was guts and glory, but he had a soft side to him that many liked.

The book also offers insight into other great fighters of the era and offers perspective from fighters about Basilio and Robinson among others.

If you are a fight fan and enjoy the old-time fighters, then this book is a must read.

For myself, older fighters such as Basilio, DeMarco and Robinson were interesting characters, who helped define the sport when boxing held a much larger role in sporting society.

For more information on the book or to order a book, the address and phone number of the publisher is listed below.

Syracuse University Press
621 Skytop Road, Suite 110
Syracuse, New York 13244-5290
Phone: 315-443-5534