BOOK REVIEWTracy CallisIN THE RING WITH TOMMY BURNSBy Adam J. Pollack
Adam J. Pollack’s sixth book, In The Ring With Tommy Burns, is a masterpiece of research and is loaded with many, hitherto unknown facts. The book focuses on Burns’ boxing career with information gathered by careful examination of local next day newspaper reports that describe each bout along with circumstances surrounding the contest. The book contains many fight facts and details not included in earlier biographies. As with his other books, Pollack paints a more detailed, accurate and thorough picture of the boxer, in this case Tommy Burns, than ever before.
To quote Adam Pollack --
"The fact is ... Tommy Burns was a very good boxer and an underrated fighter, who could both stick and move on the outside and attack and fight on the inside. He was quick, strong, durable, and well-conditioned. He had knockout power in both hands, a very good chin, fast feet, and was quite skilled. He was a versatile ring general who could do it all, and deserves more respect than that which history has afforded him."
In discussing Burns' fights and opponents, the championship defenses are covered in excellent style. Pollack presents a view of the times in which Tommy fought and, like Marvin Hart, brings out the difficulty each man had in measuring up to the lasting image of Jim Jeffries as heavyweight champion. Each had his skills downplayed due to the comparison with Jeffries, yet each could hit with stinging power. In addition, Burns possessed splendid boxing talent.
Not only does the reader get a feel for the day in which Burns performed, but the splendid skills and capability of Tommy along with those of a number of other less well-known fighters becomes apparent. Discussions of "Philadelphia" Jack O'Brien, Jack "Twin" Sullivan, Hugo Kelly, Mike Schreck, Marvin Hart, Bill Squires, Billy Woods, Dave Barry, Tommy Ryan and Jack Johnson are interesting and informative.
Burns' career is traced from its beginnings and successes (disappointments too) up to his winning of the championship. His determination, as well as his improvement in fighting skills from fight to fight, shines through all the occurrences.
Leaning primarily on newspaper accounts, the book is interesting and informative and - will become a major source of facts regarding Tommy. It is a must read for historians and boxing fans. As usual, as a result of this book, I will update my Burns record on The Cyber Boxing Zone.
Adam J. Pollack is a staff writer for The Cyber Boxing Zone, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, and an attorney living in Iowa City, Iowa.
To order this book or other books by Adam Pollack, visit the website --
In The Ring With Tommy Burns
Adam J. Pollack
Over 100 photographs/sketches, more than 650 footnotes, index, Burns' record
378 pp. hardcover (6 x 9) 2011
This is the sixth book in Adam J. Pollack's heavyweight boxing champion series.
It thoroughly and meticulously describes Tommy Burns' boxing career, using multiple local next-day primary sources to give the book an unparalleled accuracy and authenticity that has been the hallmark of the series. As always, Pollack offers round by round descriptions, pre- and post-fight analysis, bout preparation and negotiations, and provides context for the period, discussing opponents and what other contenders were doing at the time. By reviewing and experiencing Burns' career from the perspective of those who saw him box, one obtains far greater appreciation and respect for the skills and accomplishments
of this underrated champion.
Callis description --
Burns was a short, squat battler who was quick and bouncy and carried a stinging, sharp punch - especially his right hand blow; Tommy was
an early-day Rocky Marciano who is not included among the greats but is perhaps very much under-ratedBurns was elected to the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1960 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996
Review courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization
[Return to Top] [Boxing News] [Tracy Callis Archive] [Return to Cyber] [CBZ Message Board] [Mike Casey Archive]