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CBZ Book Review:
Going the Distance
By Ken Norton
Reviewed by Jim Amato
If you grew up in the 70's and enjoyed the "Golden Era" of the heavyweight division, you will love the book "Going The Distance" by Ken Norton. Really any boxing buff who has read about the exploits of Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes and even Norton will appreciate this book. For the most part Norton keeps his ego in check as he travels through his childhood, his years as a Marine and into his professional boxing career.
He breaks down his progress through the pro ranks highlighting certain key fights. He writes of his devastating loss to Jose Luis Garcia. Then how he put the loss behind him to battle his way into contention. He then covers his gym wars and friendship with "Smokin" Joe Frazier that helped him on his way toward his destiny.
Ken then goes into detail about the "Jaw Breaker" battle with Ali that moved Ken into the heavyweight elite. The disappointing razor close loss to Ali in the rematch and then how he was brutalized by the haulking George Foreman in his first title shot.
Ken praises former trainer Eddie Futch and discusses the reasons that led to their eventual break up. He also has kind words for Bill Slayton who took over after Futch exited. Ken's career then heads toward the tear inducing loss in his third fight with Ali at Yankee Stadium. Ken openly sobbed after Ali was awarded a dubious decision. We then follow Norton on his march to becoming the proclaimed W.B.C. heavyweight champion and the politics behind it.
Norton goes on to describe his classic war with Larry Holmes in which he lost his portion of the crown. As his career winds down, Ken relieves his near fatal car accident. How his son, Ken Jr. literally helped his father get back on his feet. Then the circumstances that drove a wedge between father and son that lasted for years.
In the end everything worked out well for Norton and this book is a crowning achievement for his storied life. It's a good read and it will bring back a lot of fond fistic memories.
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