BOOK REVIEWTracy CallisIN THE RING WITH JAMES J. JEFFRIESBy 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.
The 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.
To order this very detailed book, e-mail email@example.com
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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
DescriptionThis 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.
To order, contact firstname.lastname@example.orgTable of ContentsPreface: The Undeniable Talent 51. Foundation of Strength: Establishing a Local Reputation 62. Hank Griffin and the Professional Hiatus 123. It Wasn't Long 214. Sparring with the Champion 275. Driving the Van Downtown 496. How the Baker Got His Goose Cooked 557. The Closer 608. The Master Veteran 709. No Show 9010. The Legend 9911. Mexican Pete 11112. The Shark 12013. The Cost of High Expectations 14214. A Strange Ending 16015. Road to the Crown 18516. The Championship 21517. Exhibition Tour 25018. A Snag in Preparation 26219. Reaching Deep Into the Inferno 28120. The Impact of Film 32421. A Thriving Sport Under Attack 33522. The Road to Corbett 34423. Trial of Will 36324. The Bevy of Battles as the Horton Era Ends -
Ruhlin, Sharkey, and Fitzsimmons 39925. Hell Hath No Fury… 43326. Boxing's Old Nemesis 45027. Getting Sharp Again - Griffin and Kennedy 46228. The Road to Ruhlin 47529. Ruling Ruhlin 48630. On the Horizon 50131. Championship Training 51332. The War, the Bandages, and the Speaking Knockdown 52433. Media Creation or Legitimate Performance? 55734. Building the Intrigue 57835. Leaving No Doubt 59736. Justifying Challenges 61937. Setting the Record Straight 63438. Leaving the Game 655Appendix: James J. Jeffries' Record 667Acknowledgments 680Index 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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