BOOK REVIEWTracy CallisUNCROWNED CHAMPIONS By J.J. Johnston and D.S. Cogswell
This book is loaded - loaded with facts, photos, well-written essays and numerous tidbits of boxing. In addition, it contains some very nice art work - portraits of fighters. It focuses on ten men who deserve recognition as being champions, fighters who never won the title - through no fault of their own. These outstanding boxers were victims of manipulation and avoidance - downright fear. They were too good for the reigning titleholders to meet in the ring with the crown at stake. The champs knew this and those responsible for selecting their challengers knew this too.
These men were Peter Jackson, Sam Langford, Mike Gibbons, Packey McFarland, Charley Burley, Harry Wills, Jimmy Bivins, George Godfrey, Holman Williams and Lloyd Marshall - brilliant fighters, each one - talented, able, manly - proud, but not loud ! Each deserved a chance at the top prize of the ring - but never received it.
Informative chapters are included for each of these men. And, that's not all. There is other information galore ! The numerous essays on a wide variety of topics enhance the discussions that are presented. Even the titles of the essays spark interest - for example, A Rite of Passage, The White Man's Burden, The Great War and Boxing, Over There, The Law of Unintended Consequences, Another Man Done Gone and The King Must Die to name seven. To quote co-author Don Cogswell, "I'm particularly proud of the way the Great War and 2nd World War essays came out. Read as a series they shape the conflicts' multiple effects on boxing. In both, boxing came out the stronger and was arguably saved as a legitimate sport by the Great War."
The format of the book is quite different too. It is unique in its design. Pages are numbered, true, and the table of contents lists topics in sequential order but with no numerical identification. When reading - it just flows - from one interesting topic to another and the transition from one major discussion to the next is filled with tidbits of interesting facts.
Here is what some readers are saying --
This magnificent book should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in boxing’s rich history. J.J. Johnston and Don Cogswell do an excellent job covering the careers of ten great fighters who plied their trade against the best of their generation but were denied a title shot. Woven in between each fighter’s biography are excellent essays describing boxing’s evolving landscape from the 1880s through the 1950s. I highly recommend this book. (Dan Cuoco, Director of the International Boxing Research Organization)
Of all the hundreds of boxing books in my studio, Don Cogswell’s book on the uncrowned champions deserves a special place on the shelf, next to Liebling and W.C. Heinz. Cogswell’s work is well researched, entertaining and a must read for any serious student of pugilism or experienced historian (Enrique Encinosa, the authority on Cuban boxing history)
DON, The book arrived yesterday & I am half way thru it. Its a great book, you guys did a great job. I am going upstairs now & finish it. (Sean Curtin, longtime referee, author and former chairman of the Illinois Boxing Commission)
Should be a WINNER………. (Hap Navarro, former matchmaker at the legendary Hollywood Legion Stadium and California’s #1 boxing historian.)
“Thoroughly researched, entertaining and insightful. Uncrowned Champions is filled with a treasure trove of heretofore unknown facts, photos and details concerning some of the greatest fighters of all time. –Mike Silver, author of The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science
The book is interesting and informative, written well and a treasure chest of facts. It is a must read for historians and boxing fans !!!
J.J. Johnston is the co-author of Chicago Boxing, Chicago Amateur Boxing and Babyface and Pop. D.S. Cogswell is a regular contributor to the IBRO Journal, among other boxing publications. The late Robert "Bob" Carson, boxing's premier illustrator, painted ten portraits specifically for UnCrowned Champions.
To purchase this book, visit the website amazon
To purchase an autographed copy, contact Don Cogswell at email@example.com
321 pages. softcover (6 x 9 inches), $38.00
Publisher: Blurb; 1ST edition (2011)
Numerous photos, Bob Carson Artwork, ring career records, essays
Review courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization
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