Boxing Book Review: The Longest Fight: In The Ring With Joe Gans
By Antonio Santiago, Doghouse Boxing (June 20, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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The Longest Fight: In The Ring With Joe Gans
Muhammad Ali used to say “I am the Greatest!”…and he was. Likewise, me, the person who loves to quote Ali with his ‘bee-line” by saying “I too fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee, but my name is not Muhammad Ali”, will tell you, that “I am a Democrat!”. Perhaps it is fitting then that I am writing a review about a book about Joe Gans, the Barack Obama of American boxing, just as the country I live at, the United States, starts to gear up for a rematch between Obama and the Republican’ts…err…Republicans. It is also fitting that you read this review now, because the book, named “The Longest Fight: In The Ring With Joe Gans”, written by William Gildea, (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, ISBN-10: 0374280975, ISBN-13: 978-0374280970, http://us.macmillan.com, 2012) WAS OFFICIALLY RELEASED YESTERDAY!

You should then get on your car and race to the nearest bookstore in town, or take the computer off your kids’ or your parents’ hands, because if you miss this book, you will be sorry. Because it is a great book. For the longest fight that the book talks about is not necessarily as much the great, first Gans- Oscar “Battling” Nelson fight, but the fight against social injustice that many Americans had to live through for all the way until recent decades. Now, I am not saying that because I am a Hispanic and whatsoever. I love people of every race, shade and whatever in this country. But I am saying it because, unfortunately, what the book describes is what went on during the times of Gans and Nelson, at least in many people’s times. If you did not know that, then I recommend you also to buy the book and learn a part of this country’s history that is as sad as it is essential in social history books.

Gildea takes us on a clear, easy to understand narrative of Joe Gans and Oscar Nelson, and of the times in which they lived, the minds of many fans who were concerned with their bouts, and of the city of Goldfield, Nevada, itself. We also learn a bit more about American promoter Tex Richard, whose motive was not rightfulness nor social reform, but seeing that green paper stacked his pockets. In describing all that, Gildea did a phenomenal job backtracking all the way to those years in which communication systems were at their infancy and details about celebrities at a prime prize. Gildea truly made his homework.

Reading the book makes me wonder why, as the first African American world boxing champion, Gans has never been honored by the United States Postal Office with a postal stamp. He deserves that honor and more. It also makes me wonder if Nelson was really as racist as he sounded. Because, as foul-mouthed as he was, even writing words I could never call anyone with in his autobiography, Nelson actually reached out to Gans near the end. The book then explains to us things in detail, while also raising our curiosity at the same time.

The book’s cover shows Joe Gans dressed in brown, with a whitish-brown tone in the background, which makes me think about Gans walking the sandy, dusty Goldfield streets as he marches forward toward the fight and, perhaps, towards his future and his place in that future and in the history of the country on which he was walking. The cover prepares you for what the book really is. A clear view of elements of society during that era.

Trust me, after you read it, you will thank God that you live in this one instead!.

Please send all Questions and comments to Antonio at TJ69662094@aol.com.

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