John L. Sullivan

The Career of the First Gloved Heavyweight Champion


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SKU: 9780786425587 Categories: ,

About the Book

Essentially the last of the bare-knuckle heavyweight champions, John L. Sullivan was instrumental in the acceptance of gloved fighting. His charisma and popular appeal during this transitional period contributed greatly to making boxing a nationally popular, “legitimate” sport. Sullivan became boxing’s first superstar and arguably the first of any sport.
From his first match in the late 1870s through his final championship fight in 1892, this biography contains a thoroughly researched, detailed accounting of John L. Sullivan’s boxing career. With special attention to the 1880s, the decade during which Sullivan came to prominence, it follows Sullivan’s skill development and discusses his opponents and fights in detail, providing various viewpoints of a single event. Beginning with a discussion of early boxing practices, the sport itself is placed within sociological, legal and historical contexts including anti–prize fighting laws and the so-called “color line.” A complete record of Sullivan’s career is also included.

About the Author(s)

Adam J. Pollack is a staff writer for (CBZ), is vice chair of USA Boxing’s National Board of Review, and a member of the Women’s Subcommittee. He is also a boxing coach and attorney living in Iowa City, Iowa.

Bibliographic Details

Adam J. Pollack
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 254
Bibliographic Info: 41 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2558-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1834-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface     1

1. Understanding the System Under Which They Fought      5

2. Sullivan’s World      10

3. The Local Rise of the Boston Strongboy      13

4. The World’s Best … but with Gloves      17

5. A “Real” Fight      34

6. Now They’ll Have to Do It My Fashion      43

7. The Game Little Englishman and the Maori      59

8. The Tour: 1883      70

9. The Tour Continues: 1884      82

10. Unfinished Business and Prelude to a Grudge Match      99

11. Accepted, but Not Quite      103

12. Mystery of the Seven-Round Decision      115

13. The Plateau and the Break      129

14. The European Tour      146

15. The Color Line      157

16. End of an Era      170

17. Retired?      199

18. Changing His Tune      209

19. The Legacy      215

Appendix: John L. Sullivan’s Record      221

Notes      231

Bibliography      241

Index      243

Book Reviews & Awards

“splendid…thoroughly impressed…well researched and provides great detail…truly unique…a must read…excellent work”—Tracy Callis, International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) and Cyber Boxing Zone; “a wealth of information…detailed…superb”—East Side Boxing; “everything you ever wanted to know about the great John L. Sullivan and early gloved boxing lies within the covers of this work…if you are a devotee of the manly art, you will enjoy this biography”—Jack McCormack, Irish Edition; “comprehensive…most welcome…a definitive story…succeeds admirably”—Evening Herald; “a must have…definitive account”—The Des Moines Register; “this book fills a much needed void…most detailed and thoroughly researched”—; “a detailed look”—Press-Citizen (Iowa City).