BOOK REVIEWChristopher LaForceIN THE RING WITH JAMES J. JEFFRIESBy Adam J. Pollack
This is the fourth book by Adam J. Pollack in his terrific series of the heavyweight boxing champions, and in my humble opinion, it is his best yet! The work comprises close to 700 pages and is jam-packed with little-known facts, anecdotes and fresh perspective on perhaps the greatest champion of them all, James J. Jeffries, "The California Grizzly." I believe it to be the most concise, comprehensive and simply the best account of this magnificent fighter's career in the ring. It is an absolutely indispensable addition to the boxing library of every historian and boxing fan alike. To say that I highly recommend it is a definite understatement! I just hope he continues his series on the heavyweights.
Had Jeffries not made his ill-advised one-fight, 1910 "comeback" after a six-year layoff, and lost to reigning champion, Jack Johnson, the general boxing aficionado would today have a much greater appreciation of this great champion, who had retired undefeated with the heavyweight title in 1904. Adam's account, however, illustrates just how incredible a fighter and athlete Jeffries, "The Boilermaker," truly was. The volume is meticulously researched, drawing from hundreds of contemporary newspaper accounts. It also delineates "Jeff's" strengths, weaknesses and fighting style, as well as those of his opponents. Thorough and descriptive background is given, not only of the fighters involved, but also of the other participants, the arenas and cities. It is a nice slice of that era that is dished out, making one feel a part of the proceedings. Although as a fellow boxing historian I am a keen student of that same era, the "Victorian Age" and "Gaslight Era," I learned many new facts about Jim Jeffries that I had not known previously, but can say I was never bored in reading the book. All in all, this book, in my opinion, is a masterwork!
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.
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
Review courtesy of Chrisopher LaForce, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization