Tracy Callis
By Adam J. Pollack

Adam J. Pollack’s fourth book, In The Ring With James J. Jeffries, is an outstanding work, a monumental effort. It is thoroughly researched and focuses on Jeffries' career in the ring. Like previous books by the author, this book reports the content of local next day newspaper articles to describe and discuss each ring encounter. This latest book by Pollack reports many facts that have not come to light before.
As one reads this book, it can be seen that the young and powerful Jeffries begins as a talented but crude, unpolished slugger who commits many mistakes in the ring. But, over time, working with the outstanding trainers, Billy Delaney and Tommy Ryan, sparring with Jim Corbett, Bob Armstrong, Jack Jeffries (his brother), Ryan and others - and engaging in the ring battles of his career, he gains experience and learns the principles of sound fighting in the ring. With each bout, Jeffries learns and grows until he reaches the point at which he is virtually unbeatable.

Key facts, with extensive discourses, of each and every bout of Jeffries' career up to his retirement in 1905 are included. Both contests with Bob Fitzsimmons, Jim Corbett, Tom Sharkey, Gus Ruhlin, Jack Munroe and Hank Griffin are discussed as well as the bouts with Joe Choynski, Peter Jackson and other contests (Theo Van Buskirk, Henry Baker, Joe Goddard, "Mexican" Pete Everett, etc). In addition, there are chapters on Corbett-Sharkey II, Corbett-McCoy, Fitzsimmons-Ruhlin and Fitzsimmons-Sharkey II.

Further, there is a chapter on the controversy surrounding Munroe and chapters describing Jeffries' rigorous training regimen leading up to important fights. Numerous photos (over 100) are intermixed with the text throughout the book.

As one reads, he can "feel" the ruggedness of "Sailor" Tom Sharkey, the talent and quickness of "Gentleman" Jim Corbett, the all-around boxing skills and punching power of Bob "Ruby Robert" Fitzsimmons, the determination of Gus Ruhlin and the cleverness of Joe Choynski.

Pollack follows his highly commendable procedure of gathering, analyzing and utilizing next day newspaper accounts as data sources in order to be as accurate as possible. The book contains 688 pages and includes the text of the chapters, hundreds of footnotes, an index of topics, the career record of Jeffries and a biographical sketch of the author. This writer was amazed at the in-depth descriptions included in the text.

text contains, in remarkable detail, a very thorough coverage of most of Jeffries' ring encounters - "before and after" comments by the fighters themselves as well as the opinions of the managers, trainers, sparring partners, and past opponents; also "pre-fight and post-fight analyses" by referees, newspaper reporters and various other fighters. The actual, true weights of the fighters, ring size, glove size, round-by-round and blow-by-blow accounts, purses and interesting surrounding events associated with the bouts are also covered.

In summary, this book is well-written, detailed, thorough, extremely interesting and informative and will become the major source of facts regarding the powerful James J. Jeffries. Boxing historians and fans must obtain and read this book. Referring to it, I will update my Jeffries 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 James J. Jeffries
Adam J. Pollack

over 100 photographs, 924 footnotes and an index
688 pp. hardcover 2009

This is  Adam Pollack's 4th book in his heavyweight champion series. It describes in meticulous detail James Jeffries' bouts from the 1890s up to 1905 (including round by round accounts as well as pre- and post-fight analysis), his opponents, and his training regimen. It discusses the time's heavyweight scene, including contenders, pre-fight hype and negotiations, political and legal obstacles, and the color line. Chapters also include descriptions and analysis of Corbett-Sharkey II, Fitzsimmons-Ruhlin, Fitz-Sharkey II, and Corbett-McCoy, as well as controversies surrounding several bouts. The book is based on next-day local newspaper accounts, comparing and contrasting their descriptions and analysis in order to provide an authentic view of how heavyweight boxing was perceived at the time. The use of local primary sources gives readers a rare opportunity to relive Jeffries' career as if they were reading about it at the time he was fighting. The book also includes Jeffries' career record, $42.95.

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Table of Contents
  Preface: The Undeniable Talent  5
  1. Foundation of Strength: Establishing a Local Reputation  6
  2. Hank Griffin and the Professional Hiatus  12         
  3. It Wasn't Long  21
  4. Sparring with the Champion  27        
  5. Driving the Van Downtown  49                
  6. How the Baker Got His Goose Cooked  55                
  7. The Closer  60
  8. The Master Veteran  70                  
  9. No Show  90          
10. The Legend  99                  
11. Mexican Pete  111
12. The Shark 120
13. The Cost of High Expectations  142
14. A Strange Ending        160
15. Road to the Crown  185
16. The Championship  215          
17. Exhibition Tour  250
18. A Snag in Preparation  262
19. Reaching Deep Into the Inferno  281
20. The Impact of Film  324
21. A Thriving Sport Under Attack  335
22. The Road to Corbett  344
23. Trial of Will  363
24. The Bevy of Battles as the Horton Era Ends -
       Ruhlin, Sharkey, and Fitzsimmons  399
25. Hell Hath No Fury…  433
26. Boxing's Old Nemesis  450
27. Getting Sharp Again - Griffin and Kennedy  462
28. The Road to Ruhlin  475        
29. Ruling Ruhlin  486
30. On the Horizon  501
31. Championship Training  513
32. The War, the Bandages, and the Speaking Knockdown  524
33. Media Creation or Legitimate Performance?  557
34. Building the Intrigue  578
35. Leaving No Doubt  597
36. Justifying Challenges  619
37. Setting the Record Straight  634
38. Leaving the Game  655
Appendix: James J. Jeffries' Record  667        
Acknowledgments  680
Index  681

Callis description --

Jeffries is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time; He was not a polished boxer but was blessed with enormous strength, power, stamina, chin and determination

Due to early day reports, there is much question as to whether some bouts were exhibitions or actual wins; The knockouts in England during 1900 are not included in his statistics

Many boxing people rated him as the best heavyweight ever - Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson, Jim Corbett, Tommy Burns, Tom Sharkey, Jack Root, Willie Ritchie, Patsy Haley, Dan Morgan, Joe Woodman, DeWitt Van Court and Hugh Fullerton - to name a few

Nat Fleischer ranked Jeffries as the #2 All-Time Heavyweight; Charley Rose ranked him as the #5 All-Time Heavyweight; Jeffries 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
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