BOOK REVIEWTracy CallisIN THE RING WITH BOB FITZSIMMONSBy Adam J. Pollack
Adam J. Pollack’s third book, In The Ring With Bob Fitzsimmons, is his best so far, which is saying a lot. As usual, Pollack’s book is extensively researched. Focusing on Fitzsimmons’ boxing career, the book relies on local next day newspaper reports to describe and discuss each bout and exhibition. Thankfully, this also includes Fitz’s Australian bouts. The book contains many fight facts and details never before included in earlier biographies. As a result, Pollack paints a more accurate and thorough picture of Fitzsimmons than ever provided before.
What distinguishes this book is that it not only discusses the fights and opponents, but also provides rich analysis of the historical debates about Fitzsimmons’ career, as well as more background and insight into his personality. Historians have never fully understood the relevance of Jim Hall to Fitzsimmons’ career. Their fights are thoroughly analyzed, including the fight Fitz alleged that he threw. The discussion of the Tom Sharkey fight and the subsequent debate and court battle is immense and fascinating. You cannot get any more thorough than this when discussing a fixed fight. The hype behind the Corbett fight is quite fun and entertaining. Everything that you learn about Bob and his immense skills and punching power throughout his career enlivens and sets up a better understanding and perspective for the eventual Corbett fight. There are even some unexpected twists and turns to the analysis which I will not spoil.
Like Pollack’s other championship accounts, plenty of background into the era’s fight scene is provided. One can feel what it was like to be a fighter during that time. We travel with Bob on his exhibition tours between big bouts, see how big fights were built and made, and better comprehend the legal and political obstacles with which the sport had to contend.
This book is a real winner - interesting, informative, and destined to become a major source of facts regarding the clever, two-fisted boxer. It is a must read for die-hard historians and fans. As usual, as a result of this book, I will update my Fitzsimmons record on the Cyber Boxing Zone.
Adam J. Pollack is a staff writer for the Cyber Boxing Zone, chair of USA Boxing’s Judicial and Rules and Regulations Committees, a boxing coach, and an attorney living in Iowa City, Iowa.
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In The Ring With Bob Fitzsimmons
Adam J. Pollack
63 photographs/sketches, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
463 pp. hardcover (6 x 9) 2007
This is the third book in Adam J. Pollack's series on the heavyweight champions of the gloved era. It is the most thoroughly researched boxing-detailed biography on Bob Fitzsimmons' career ever written.
It reveals new dates, bouts, and facts, shedding fresh light on his experience, skills, and ability. It meticulously describes his bouts and provides multiple viewpoints by local next day newspapers, giving it unparalleled authenticity and accuracy. The exhaustive research provides an encyclopedic wealth of knowledge about Fitzsimmons' boxing career. His bouts are placed into social, legal, racial, and historic contexts, including anti-prize fighting laws and the color line. A complete record of Fitzsimmons' career is included.
Callis description --
Fitzsimmons is rated among the greatest fighters who ever lived and one of the hardest hitters; He held three World Championships during his career - Middleweight, Heavyweight, and Light Heavyweight
Some sources, including Fitzsimmons himself, claimed he had over 350 fights, but this may be an an exaggeration; In the ring, Fitzsimmons moved quickly and hit hard from all angles; He took on much larger men without hesitation
Fitzsimmons was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990
Review courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization