What prompted you to write Boxing in America: An Autopsy? What "message" do you want to communicate?
I love the sport of boxing. I am similar to Jack Newfield who once famously wrote that “boxing is my guilty pleasure.” I’ve loved the sport since I was five years old. Additionally, ABC-CLIO is a top-notch publisher so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance.
Topically, the sport of boxing is fascinating. It has a colorful history that provided me with hours of fun researching various angles.
What was the highlight of your research? In the course of your research, what discovery surprised you the most? What surprises readers/others the most about your research?
One highlight of my research was probably learning more about the journeymen who ply their craft. In boxing, we often (rightly) focus on champions and contenders—the world-class fighters who make history in well-publicized bouts. But, I enjoyed writing a chapter on the lesser-known fighters—the ones who lost more than they won. I actually would love to do a full-scale book on that in the future.
Another highlight was learning about the color barrier erected during the late 19th and part of the 20th century. There were some truly excellent fighters who were denied a shot at the title because of the color of their skin. I found that research to be rewarding as well.
How did your research change your outlook on boxing?
I gained a greater appreciation for how rich a history the sport of boxing has. I thought I know much about boxing history, but in researching this book, I learned a lot more – that’s for sure. I think readers will learn more from reading the book too, at least I hope so.
How have people reacted to your book and/or the ideas you set forth? Is it what you hoped for, or is there more work to be done?
I have had several people say that they are looking forward to reading it. I hope it generates a positive reaction, but for me, just researching and writing the book was a positive experience; anything else is just gravy, so to speak. I do think there is more work to be done on the subject. I felt like I scratched the surface.
What's next for you?
I would love to write a book on journeymen boxers or perhaps on prison boxing programs. Another two areas, which I didn’t cover this time around, are amateur boxing and women’s boxing.