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Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing (Anglais) Broché – 3 juillet 2008

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"An epic poem of a book . . . a book that lifts the heart" (Frank McCourt)

"A distinguished and entertaining addition to our library of classic boxing literature" (Budd Schulberg)

"Kimball writes with insight and humour. The bigger the fight, the better he tells it" (Tom Hauser,

"Thrilling, insightful and often humourous . . . [Kimball] captures the contests, the fighters and the period with a wonderful perception" (The Independent)

"An intoxicating, captivating tale of great boxers in a fatally flawed environment" (The Herald)

Présentation de l'éditeur

By the late 1970s, boxing had lapsed into a moribund state and interest in it was on the wane. In 1980, however, the sport was resuscitated by a riveting series of bouts involving an improbably dissimilar quartet: Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran. The 'Four Kings of the Ring' would fight one another nine times throughout the decade and win sixteen world titles between them.

Like Ali and Frazier, Dempsey and Tunney, Robinson and LaMotta, these four boxers brought out the best in each other, producing unprecedented multi-million-dollar gates along the way. Each of the nine bouts between the four men was memorable in its own way and at least two of them - Leonard-Hearns I in 1981 and Hagler-Hearns in 1985 - are commonly included on any list of the greatest fights of all time. The controversial outcome of another - the 1987 Leonard-Hagler fight - remains the subject of heated debates amongst fans to this day.

Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran didn't set out to save boxing from itself in the post-Ali era, but somehow they managed to do so. In Four Kings, award-winning journalist George Kimball documents the remarkable effect they had on the sport and argues that we will never see their likes again.

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 44 commentaires
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fantastic Book covering a Fantastic Era in Boxing 10 octobre 2008
Par Hawk - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
George Kimball absolutely nails one out of the park with this well researched book covering a time in Boxing that he lived through covering the sport.

Each fighter: Duran, Leonard, Hagler and Hearns are each given equal coverage and there is absolutely no bias or spin from the author. Given Kimball covered the Sport in Boston for the Herald, Hagler's backyard, this is VERY refreshing.

The book does what you hope it does, cover the nine fights that each of these four greats had against each other, but George adds so much more insight and background and PERSONAL perspective about the fighters and fights, that you are never bored or disappointed.

All Sports books should strive to be this great.

George Kimball has set the bar very high here. I don't anticipate it being reached any time soon.

12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Workmanlike effort to cover boxing's last golden age 15 octobre 2008
Par Joseph C. Sweeney - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
"Four Kings" is a solid effort by veteran Boston Herald sportswriter George Kimball in his efforts to describe the nine fights fought against each other by Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, and Roberto Duran in the 1980's. Younger sports fan may not recall that boxing was once considered the fifth major sport, since today it is very much a fringe affair not covered at all by most daily papers.

Kimball attended all nine of the fights and works hard to bring the reader back to these important and usually memorable bouts. For anyone who watched all the fights, or at least some of them, "Four Kings" brings back some wonderful memories.

As a Boston sports fan, I can recall when Hagler was as important to the local sports scene as the Bruins or Patriots. He was massively popular in the late 70's and 80's, his heyday. And his greatness is given full credit herein.

So read this book if you recall these fights, as Kimball does a solid job recapturing a lost era.

One note: a free pass is given the heinous boxing promoter Bob Arum. Apparently, Kimball and he are on good relations. Arum is almost as bad as Don King, and in my view is almost as responsible for boxing's demise.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Four King Run 13 octobre 2009
Par Bret Dougherty - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
While we're growing long-in-the-teeth for the great rivalries of the '80s to return to the ring, I picked up George Kimball's `Four Kings: Leonard, Hearns, Hagler, Duran, and the Last Great Era of Boxing.'

Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran are among the major colonnades of the '70s and '80s for boxing. A lot of fight fans can argue what era and class remains the golden age of boxing. Yet, when you observe the careers of these four fighters, you would be hard-pressed to argue against the tenure of their time.

In fact, if HBO and their mesmerizing 24/7 series portrayals of boxers today would have been available in the mid-80s, boxing would have remained one of the most popular sports today. I just wish that someone could turn the classic footage from the HBO Boxing preludes for each fight into a mini 24-7 series...HBO's Greatest Fights are close, but we need more.

Yes, it's true. The stories of Leonard, Duran, Hearns, and Hagler and how they intertwined haven't been highly described or investigated in detail. Fortunately, Kimball had the inside look at each fighter's climb with his job writing at the Boston Herald.

Throughout the book, he details the camp, pre-lim fights, and although Kimball interjects a lot of his own personal recollections and `I was there' descriptions that can stall the stroies, he provides sharp detail in each fighter's career. He also gives the chewy analysis upon how each fighter intertwined with one another for each fight.

Yet, the treats are found in the details provided by his notes and hanging with the great men who were in the corners. For example, due to his proximity to Brockton, Massachusetts as a Boston Herald reporter, Kimball pulls scintillating details from the rise of Hagler and through his conversations with Hagler's trainers, Goody and Pat Petronelli.

From Kimball's insights, you're not only able to see what drove Hagler for his fights, but also feel the loyalty, trust, and close bonds that Hagler had instilled throughout his career. Throughout the read, I grew to be a huge Hagler fan just alone upon the close circle that he kept throughout his career.

The sincere frustration that Hagler and the Petrocellis must have felt waiting for the big fights to come with Leonard and Hearns is symbolic of Hagler's final fight with Ray Leonard...He was robbed. The saving grace is that we saw him dominate the middleweight division for the time that we had. The bottom line here says that Hagler is the statue of this era, and I wish that we could grab more details upon him and his management team. He is what boxing is about and how fighters should handle their business.

Gems are also found in the conversations and details that Kimball gleams from Emmanuel Steward with his experience with Thomas Hearns. Kimball takes great care to compile all of the tidbits to determine who was the greatest talent of them all, and if not for the drama often found in Hearns's camps and pre-fight preparations, we may not even be questioning who the greatest fighter of all-time was.

Just for fun, take a look back at the Hearns-Duran fight via YouTube...What a master display of three minutes. The talent is incredible.

As for Leonard, Kimball eases through the events and depiction of Leonard. During the read, you definitely get to see the gloss that followed Leonard throughout his career and how the shine shielded a lot of his shortcomings in both in and out of the ring. After Leonard's rise from the `76 Olympics to the mainstream, you almost want to snicker at his results after the `No Mas' decision.

Kimball also finds nice details surrounding the rise of Duran and his camps throughout the book. If there is a fighter who seems to be neglected for his legendary career, it's `El Cholo', Roberto Duran, and Kimball fits the bill with great anecdotes and inside details.

Although the read provides great details, I would have liked to have seen more details and insights upon Roberto Duran, Kimball touches upon a lot of strong theories into Duran's strategies, his famed `No Mas' call, and his rise to the top of the heap. Yet, I would have liked to have heard more details from "Los Manos de Piedras" himself.

As a side note, unfortunately, with the passing of Duran's long-time trainer and boxing legend, Ray Arcel, we're not able to hear Arcel's voice as often as any boxing aficionado would hope to have from the legendary cornerman...(Check out Dave Anderson's "In The Corner" if you're looking for more Arcel nuggets and other tips from boxing great trainers. Kimball used Anderson's book as a reference. (In fact, I'll have another review for you shortly...I'm still reading the chapters on Eddie Futch, Kevin Rooney, and George Benson for a second go-around...Yes, that much fun.)

This reader would also like to see more answers of why Aaron Pryor couldn't have been included into rotation...Now, the neglection of Aaron Pryor for the great welterweight division runs, that's an overlooked story...Talk about a travesty for fight fans. (Note of bias: Pryor is this reviewer's favorite all-time fighting talent...Bar-none.)

In a lot of ways, I found that the read is more like the diving into the footnotes of the great depictions that were found in SIs and Ring Magazines. Lots of facts and interview snippets without a lot of gloss. The read also explores the great question:

Where are the big rivalries in the sport of boxing today...?

The book offers the mainstream opinions surrounding the topic.

First, the separation of divisions absolutely killed the rivalries. Second, the networks of HBO, Showtime, and other cable outlets dividing the fighters for their own promotions and not allowing them to have bouts within their divisions in order to protect their own promotional interests for their boxing schedules.

Kimball adds another theory from Gil Clancy that is a simple one to add to the answer the puzzle for the fall of boxing in the late '80s and '90s...Crack. According to Clancy, you had a whole generation that was skipped because of the inner-city drug wars, and the result is that boxing lost it's hold in the great urban cities.

From this blogga's point of view, after watching the fall of USA Boxing over the past decade from our dominance in the Olympics, we need to know more. I wish that we could see rivalries nurture and grow like the `Four Kings.' Yet, I think we'll have to turn to tennis or even ...Yeeech, the UFC in 40 years, to ever see a time like this one again.

Here's to Brockton, Mass, Washington, D.C., Guarere, Panama, and Detroit, Michigan...Thanks to George Kimball, and enjoy this read.
17 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Four Kings. One of whom is a Legend. 9 octobre 2008
Par Springs Toledo - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Kimball is a boxing insider, and that alone qualifies him to write a book that is long overdue. I've been reading his articles covering the Sweet Science for three decades and his command of the lingo, recollection of details, and his ability to turn a phrase well, make "Four Kings" well worth reading.

Duran, Leonard, Hearns, and Hagler are modern day Greek Heroes. They're more than that. Neither Achilles, nor Odysseus, nor Arthur, nor Beowulf have anything on these four warriors, shrouded in myth and exaggeration as they are. The four kings' conquests, by contrast, can be seen on film.

Roberto Duran was the greatest among them. He came out of the barrios of Panama where he experienced the kind of poverty no American has tasted to become probably the greatest lightweight who ever lived. His reign of terror in his natural division lasted 7 years. He defied history and probability by stepping up a full division to challenge one of the greatest welterweights (that's 12 lbs north of the lightweight division) who ever lived in Sugar Ray Leonard -defeating him over 15 rounds. This hadn't been done in 50 years. Lightweights don't beat welterweights due to the difference in size. For Duran, pushing 30 and in his 70th fight, to defeat Leonard, who was younger, bigger, faster, and in his prime, was a considerable feat that confirmed the greatness of Duran.

Then came the fall. Duran quit in the rematch.

Three years later, he rises from the ashes of his disgrace and takes a 3rd title, once again from a younger, faster, and this time far stronger champion in Davey Moore. He then does the unthinkable. He steps up to the middleweight division and faces a man who is considered among the greatest of the 160 pounders ever -Brockton's own Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Duran becomes the first man to go the distance with Hagler. Only crazy lightweights would challenge middleweights, particularly as dominant a middleweight as Hagler was. And Duran was right there at the last bell, still scowling with those Manson lamps at the shaven-headed champion.

Uninspired and unready, Duran's next bout was with the fearsome punching Thomas Hearns. Duran is carried out on his shield inside of two rounds. But just when you thought it was over for Beowulf, he steps into the ring against another, larger, dragon. Iran Barkley had just knocked out Hearns (!) and decides that he is going to "finish off these legends." A friend of Davey Moore (who had died in an unrelated accident some time after the beating Duran gave him), Barkley had a vendetta to settle. He wants to destroy Duran. It's 1989. For perspective, know that Duran turned professional in 1968. He became lightweight champion in 1972. The champion is 6'1 and in his prime. Duran is 5'7, 25 pounds out of his natural division, and a decade past his prime. Summoning the kind of skill and courage that is rarely seen in the civilized world, Duran knocks down the giant and stands triumphant at the end of 12 rounds -a fourth title is his. Duran is Beowulf. He is Odysseus.


Duran is the greatest among the kings. There is little doubt about this among analysts and historians of the sport, and Kimball surprises me by failing to fully recognize this. He disappoints as well because he seems to take for granted that Duran was a man who fought as a 135 pounder during his prime, and who nevertheless had the intestinal fortitude to challenge all-time elites in the 147 (Leonard), 154 (Hearns), and 160 (Hagler) pound divisions when each and every one of them were in their primes.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Memories 23 novembre 2008
Par D. Diaz - Publié sur
Format: Relié
If you are no longer interested in boxing; If Don King's world of Pay Per View and the lack of personalities in the sport have killed your interest; Please allow George Kimball to take you back to another era. If you're under 40 you probably won't believe me. Once upon a time, boxing was bigger than football.
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