Archive for December, 2010

Joe Bruno on Boxing – Book Review — The Professional by WC Heinz

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2010 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Being a boxing writer myself for many years, I can now totally appreciate it when people told me for years that “The Professional” by W.C. Heinz was the best boxing book ever written and one of the greatest novels of all time. There’s even an introduction by iconic Elmore Leonard, where he credits Heinz as being one of his mentors.

The book, written in 1958, is basically the life in the training camp of a fighter named Eddie Brown, who after a long boxing career, is finally getting a shot at a world’s title. His crusty manager Doc Carroll has been around boxing forever, but Eddie Brown is Doc’s last shot at achieving immortality in a sport Doc so obviously detests. Eddie seems to like everyone and Doc trusts no one, which makes for some interesting discourses concerning the inner workings of a sport that has been run by crooks and thieves since the start of the 20th Century.

The book is written from the third person view point of sportswriter Frank Hughes, who accompanies Eddie to training camp, trying to grasp the essence of a boxer’s life while he’s preparing for the biggest moment in his life. Frank is no more than a fly on the wall, trying to help out Eddie and Doc, but at the same time keeping a detachment that will make his magazine article impartial and true.

The professional is a must read for boxing fans, but those who don’t really care for the sport can enjoy this book too, firm in the knowledge that W.C. Heinz is right on the mark with his observations about a slimy sport that has not changed much from when this book was written 52 years ago.

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Book Review – Knockout the Sexy, Violent, Extraordinary Life of Vikki LaMotta

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2010 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Right off the bat, I must say I was prejudiced against this book being published in the first place.

In the mid 1980’s, Vikki LaMotta, who was a good friend of mine, asked me if I would write her biography. I was busy working on a novel at the time, and told her I wouldn’t be able to do it. She then asked me if I knew Tom Hauser. I replied I knew him slightly since we were both members of the Boxing Writers Association. I said, although I never read any of his writings, he had a good reputation in the business. I advised her to hire a lawyer to handle the contract to write the book. She told me she did and that she had final say as to if the book would be published.

We had dinner together a couple of times a month, and she told me she had started working with Hauser on the book, mostly in her apartment in Battery Park City in downtown Manhattan. When the first draft of the book was finished, she was not happy with how the book turned out, and she killed the project. To the best of my recollection, this was in 1987, or possibly 1988.

In 2005, Vikkie LaMotta died after undergoing heart surgery, and with the permission of her surviving relatives, the book was released in 2009. Of course I had to buy it, to see if it did justice to a woman who was a good friend of mine for a decade.

Through no fault of Hauser, who is a fine writer, to me the book falls flat. She is never as interesting in the book as she was in real life.

But like I said up top, this was probably a story that was better left untold anyway.

Just my opinion.