Adam Heach has
written a most compelling and entertaining book about former
'60s top ranked heavyweight contender Thad Spencer who boxed in
arguably one of the most turbulent and interesting periods
of ring history. Many/most of us
around today were young fans when Spencer was active in the
ring. Like Thad, we were disappointed when he failed to
reach his potential.
Here was a prime
example of a man with outstanding talent who lost focus and
allowed destructive habits get in the way of his important
account of the life and goings-on around Spencer contains
some intriguing facts as it takes the reader back to a
period in history when heavyweight boxing reigned as the
number one spectator sport.
Many people associated with boxing had glowing opinions of
Thad and his future in the ring.
As Adam writes,
trainer Willie Ketchum once said, "I look at Thad Spencer
and I see another Joe Louis." The shuffling style and fast
hands convinced Willie that here was a fighter with a
terrific future just waiting for him.
In fact, Joe Louis
himself thought that Thad was an outstanding prospect.
The Brown Bomber, who in retirement sought for a while to
establish himself as a boxing promoter remarked, "Thad's the best looking prospect I've
seen in twenty years." Throughout his career, Thad even
compared himself favorably with Cassius Clay, the man he saw
as being highly overrated. To paraphrase a remark he once
made when speaking about Clay - I fight, I don't write
Following a brief
coverage of Spencer's youth and background, the book gets
into his boxing career, aspirations, possibilities,
experiences and successes. Interwoven with Spencer's life
are the many experiences of manager and trainer Willie Ketchum
who, in boxing's heyday, fronted for mobster Frankie Carbo.
Some very interesting
and informative data lies here.
Also included in the book are discussions - some
brief, some lengthy - of a number of people connected to
boxing in various ways such as Frankie Carbo, Eileen Eaton,
Sid Flaherty, Walter Minskoff, Hymie Caplan and Ray
Further, for informative
reading are numerous descriptions of name fighters - their
skills, personalities, likes, dislikes, habits, happenings, etc.,
Eddie Machen, Amos Lincoln, Floyd Patterson, Cassius Clay, Ernie Terrell,
Harold Johnson, Julio Mederos, Davey Moore, Tom McNeeley,
Sonny Liston, Billy Daniels, Roger Rischer and Willie
Richardson to name a few.
tangled with such talented men as Ernie Terrell, Leotis
Martin, Amos Lincoln, Jerry Quarry, Doug Jones, Brian
London, Jack Bodell, Billy Daniels, Tom McNeeley, Roger
Rischer and Chuck Leslie. After building his record up to a
32-5 mark, his career took a nosedive and he lost 8 of his
last 9 bouts.
If you were a boxing fan in the 1960s and 1970s, you will
enjoy reading this engrossing and well-written work. Many
interesting and rare tidbits of information are in store for
you. If you became a fan in years following this period,
this book will educate you in many ways as to boxing events
in those years.
The softcover book contains twenty-eight chapters, including
Prologue and Epilogue, consists of 446 pages with some rare
photos and citations for each chapter at the end.
The Name of the Game
is available domestically and internationally from
Amazon.com and all other major Internet book retailers.
446 pages, $16.00, softcover
Rare photos and citations for each chapter