I never thought of myself as the sort of person would enjoy seeing people hit each other, let alone enjoy hitting people myself. And as for getting hit . . . But I guess I am that sort of person, a fact that still surprises me if I think about it hard enough. How did that happen?
The sport of boxing provokes love, loathing and sometimes lust with equal intensity. It is practised by boors and aesthetes, thugs and intellectuals. It's a ticket out of poverty, a middle-class fascination and a promoter's goldmine. It can hook people with a primal burst of adrenaline and clinch them tight-or repel them utterly from the first jab.
In On the Chin- A Boxing Education, Alex McClintock uses his own unlikely progress through the amateur ranks as a springboard to explore the history, culture and contradictions of the sweet science-with detours through some of its notable characters, including-
Benny 'The Ghetto Wizard' Leonard, who took great pride in the fact that his hair remained immaculately Brylcreemed throughout his fights; Australian middleweight champion and cafe proprietor Luigi Colluzi, dubbed 'the boxing barista'; The immaculately named Trenton Titsworth, who was once docked two points for kissing his opponent on the neck; And Joe Louis, the great African-American fighter famously described as 'A credit to his race- the human race.'
Informative, insightful and effortlessly entertaining, On the Chin is your essential guide to the art of hitting and getting hit.
About the Author
Alex McClintock grew up in Sydney, Australia, and now lives in Toronto, Canada. His sports journalist has been published by the Guardian, SMH, the Monthly, HBO and ABC RN. On the Chin- A Boxing Education is his first book.
`The sweet science of boxing has gifted us the best work of some of the finest writers in literature. And now Alex McClintock has deepened that dark, mysterious well of beautiful writing about the most brutal of sports.' * John Birmingham *
'Compelling - I was left hooked until the final bell.' * David Hunt *
'I thought I wasn't interested in boxing, and then I read this book. Completely engrossing, thoughtful and at times touching; you will learn about boxing but you will also learn a little more about the world we live in, and why we can be brought together by people hitting each other. Alex's writing is something to behold.' * Bridie Jabour *
'A beautifully written portal into a sometimes misunderstood sport. Alex McClintock's On the Chin illuminates a world that has a rich cast of heroes and villains, and his own journey into that tribe. A treat for boxing fans and non-fans alike.' * Brigid Delaney *
`On the Chin is a rare work, in that it made me enthusiastic about hitting other people. Yes, this is a book about the dance and technical beauty of boxers in the ring but McClintock's insight into the human drive - the ambition to punch and be punched - makes this sing. In reading this, we hear the echoes of race, poverty and the funeral song of great fighters who razed all before them but never ended up truly winning. Alex had me laughing and wincing reflexively. Then, most powerfully, I began wondering if maybe this fighting business was something I should try. He's that good.' * Rick Morton *
`Alex McClintock has written an evocative and engaging boxing memoir rich in the history and pathos of the fight game, filled with riveting and illuminating detail about his own attempts to become a boxer.' * Donald McRae *