Recommended by Phil Weir
Boxing in the modern era does not have me hooked.
I find it as as disinteresting as horse racing.
If there’s a heavyweight world title fight on the TV, I might tune in, but as for the rest of it, well, it’s under my radar.
However, boxing reportage, especially from the past ages of the golden gloved, is another matter.
It’s moving, it’s poetic, and at its best, it’s up there with the splendid work Homer achieved when covering the moves Hector and Achilles put on each other in front of Troy.
Through 500 pages, this anthology spans the years 1910 to 2002, and its 50-odd reports wax lyrical about the bouts, pugilists, promoters, crooks and characters who inhabited the world of top professional boxing, especially in the US.
As for the writers, it’s a roster of the famous – Jack London, Paul Gallico, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, and many others.
‘The Hurt Business’ may not be everybody’s cup of mouthwash, but now and again, it brought a real tear to my eye, and, on occasion, an imaginary cauliflower to my ear.