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One Punch from the Promised Land: Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, and the Myth of the Heavyweight Title [Format Kindle]

John Florio , Ouisie Shapiro

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Présentation de l'éditeur

It was 1976 when Leon and Michael Spinks first punched their way into America’s living rooms. That year, they became the first brothers to win Olympic gold in the same Games. Shortly thereafter, they became the first brothers to win the heavyweight title: Leon toppled The Greatest, Muhammad Ali; Michael beat the unbeatable Larry Holmes. With a cast of characters that includes Ali, Holmes, Mike Tyson, Gerry Cooney, Dwight Qawi, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and dozens of friends, relatives, and boxing figures, ONE PUNCH FROM THE PROMISED LAND tells the unlikely story of the Spinks brothers. Their rise from the Pruitt-Igoe housing disaster. Their divergent paths of success. And their relationship with America. The book also uncovers stories never before made public: the big paydays, the high living, the backroom deals. It’s not afraid to tackle an issue rarely discussed: Does the heavyweight title deliver on its promise to young men in the inner city? This is the definitive story of Leon and Michael Spinks. And a cross-examination of heavyweight boxing in 20th century America.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2598 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 288 pages
  • Editeur : Lyons Press (29 août 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00MJD78K6
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  26 commentaires
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An amazing story of rags to riches and back again 1 septembre 2013
Par Steven Frank - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I've waited years for someone to come along and write the incredible (but true) story of the Spinks brothers. Leon was always my favorite athlete and it was a pleasure (and honor) when I got to promote two of his fights.
The authors have done an incredible job of research for this book and it shows in the results. I know, or have known, many of the people written about but I still discovered new information.
I would highly recommend this book for all sports fans (not just boxing fans). In fact, this is a great human interest for everyone. My only wish is that the book were longer, it's that
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating and well-researched book 6 décembre 2014
Par Battleship - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This was a fascinating tale of the Spinks brothers. Leon had a lot of trouble with discipline and self-control. He rose to tremedous heights and won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics and won the undisputed heavyweight championship against Muhammad Ali. Sadly, it was pretty much downhill from there. Leon had trouble with booze, drugs, and infidelity. Michael was a reluctant fighter who was very talented. He dominated the light heavyweight division and won the heavyweight title from legendary Larry Holmes. Sadly, he is most remembered for losing in unforgetable fashion to Mike Tyson. Tyson destroyed him in 91 seconds.

There are a lot of positive elements of the book. The authors gave a lot of interviews with people who knew the Spinks brothers the best. There were a number of interviews with childhood friends from the brutal Pruitt-Igoe projects of St. Louis. Trainers, promoters, famous opponents, television analysts, and family members were interviewed. The facts about the fights were accurate and there were quotes from knowledgeable sportswriters of the day, such as Wally Matthews, Jerry Izenberg, and others.

The coverage on Leon's problems was extensive. I thought the focus painted an accurate picture overall, but the litany of indiscretions listed was a bit much. Leon was immature and couldn't handle fame and wealth. He was involved with a lot of extra-marital affairs and constantly battled substance abuse problems. I think the authors could have focused more on the acts of kindness that Leon was capable of on a regular basis. He was a generous man who shared with everyone when he could. He was a man of the people.

The authors contrasted Leon with the larger-than-life Ali. This was something that should have been a part of the book, but I think Leon was portrayed as being an especially stupid and barely literate guy. I think the authors lacked a little sensitivity at times. They criticized the poor educational system in St. Louis, but they should have given Leon more of a pass for not being a statesman in the order of a guy like Arthur Ashe. Leon received praise from Mike Tyson as a guy who was just lucky to survive the brutality and went farther than anyone could have expected.

The coverage on Michael was more charitable. He was presented as a deeply religious man and a hard worker. He did not savor the sport of boxing and saw it as the best way to get out of the dead-end ghetto. The analysis of his boxing ability was strong. He was an elusive boxer and could bang. He was a dominant light-heavyweight, but he wanted to money and security that came with taking on the heavyweights. He was accomplished, but he was way over his head facing a prime Tyson. Sadly, this image is indelibly forged in people's memories and tends to overshadow his Hall of Fame career.

Overall, I thought the book was a good one. The perspective of the authors was a little different than that of boxing insiders. I think they got most of the main facts correct, but I thought the emphasis of the text was a bit off in spots. I think they were looking to show that boxing is a corrupt sport to its core and fails to deliver on the promises to provide a good life for its participants. This is often true, but many seize the opportunity and are able to get out of the crime and poverty infested areas. The Spinks brothers deserve kudos for beating the odds and achieving fame and a place in the record books.

The Spinks brothers were the first boxing brothers to win gold medals and to win the heavyweight title. I would have liked to see coverage of Cory Spinks winning the undisputed welterweight title from tough Ricardo Mayorga. I saw the fight with my father on live televison. Cory was Leon's son, but he boxed like Michael. He was awkward and elusive and countered Mayorga effectively all night. He won a close decision and we were on pins and needles. The judges gave the well-earned decision to Cory. Leon and Michael held his arms up and were in tears. I looked over at my dad and he was getting misty-eyed. This was one of the most exciting things I've seen as a boxing fan. I kept saying "The Spinks Jinx is back."

The Spinks brothers were iconic figures in the 1976 Olympics. My dad told stories about the brothers again and again. He told about how dominant Leon was in the Olympics. He told me that Leon knocked Sixto Soria halfway across the ring with power punches. I got to see the fight for myself on YouTube years later and my father was right. It was most impressive. I watched Michael beat Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Larry Holmes on live televison. I remember being a young kid and I fell asleep during the undercard for the Holmes fight. I woke up and saw the main event. Michael outboxed the great Holmes and definitely won the first bout. I was thrilled to see Michael make history as the first light heavyweight to win the heavyweight belt. My dad fell in love with the Spinks brothers during the 1976 Olympics and I became a fan as well.

This was a good book, but the tragedy was emphasized a bit too much. There was mostly bad moments for Leon, but he had some good times too. Michael has been largely successful, but he had to overcome some big obstacles too. I choose to remember the positive moments. My dad was thrilled when Leon won the gold medal and beat the great Ali. I was thrilled when Michael beat Qawi and Holmes. We were both moved seeing Cory win the belt and his proud papa Leon in tears in the ring. It was unlikely that all these great moments could happen in one boxing family. Michael and Leon beat the odds and achieved lasting fame. Unfortunately, it came at a heavy price especially for Leon.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 WOW!!! 24 janvier 2014
Par Mark Easter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I almost gave this book four stars because it does not include the ring records of either boxer and I do not agree with the Myth part of the book title. Having said that this book is so good that I still need to call it a five star book. The authors compleatly capture the storys of the Spinks brothers and the boxing scene of their time. I do not agree with the angle that the Heavyweight title is not all that it is cracked up to be, there have been Champions that were not ruined by it. Overall this is an excellent book. I do believe that all boxing biographies should include the ring records of the fighter or fighters, but in this case the book is good enough to overcome this.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A book with fifteen-round stamina that carries all of its power into the late rounds. 8 juillet 2014
Par Cameron McCaffrey - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
A while back, I purchased a book called "Rocky Lives: Heavyweight Upsets of the 90s" which was chronologically ordered by year (starting in 1990 and ending in 1999) and detailed some of the most shocking underdog victories of that era. One of the shock wins listed for '94 was John Carlo's TKO1 victory over former world heavyweight champ Leon Spinks. Insight was provided into just what a devastating downward spiral Leon went on during the twilight of his career, but I wanted to learn more about the Carlo bout (seeing as how it was not only the only stoppage loss of his second ['91-'95] comeback, but it came against a fighter with no pro experience [despite a fabricated record of 11-2 created by Carlo's handlers in order to get the fight sanctioned]). Searching for it on Google led to my discovery of the existence of THIS book, parts of which could be read for free on Google Books. After reading portions of the section which went into detail on his second comeback, I was hugely impressed with just how much effort went into making it as enlightening as possible. Selecting and reading other sections at random only increased the extent to which I was impressed with the quality of Mr. Florio and Mrs. Shapiro's storytelling styles--they paid just as much attention and put just as much love into everything leading up to that point. Indeed, less than a week after previewing several of the book's pages on Google Books, I purchased it from this very website. Needless to say, this is probably one of the most informative/insightful/interesting books I've ever read in my life, and one that I would recommend not only to boxing enthusiasts but to anyone who enjoys high-quality writing in general. I had always found the Spinks brothers intriguing figures in the annals of boxing history but could never find a whole lot about them. This book represents the greatest effort I've ever seen anyone make towards telling the story of their respective careers as accurately and figuratively as possible, and it helped my respect for Leon and Michael to increase a thousandfold compared to the level at which it was prior to reading it. Though many great heavyweight champions managed to escape poverty and punch their way out of rags into immense riches, Leon and Michael were perhaps history's greatest long-shots (apart from James "Buster" Douglas and Hasim Rahman) to get their names in the family tree whose branches supported the champs that they looked up to, which makes their career accomplishments all the more incredible. It's an injustice to both men that they are remembered more immediately and frequently for their losses than their victories. A 91-second knockout loss to Mike Tyson has caused many people to forget that Michael was not only the first light-heavyweight champion to leave the division as an unbeaten champ (with huge wins over Marvin Johnson [KO4], Eddie Mustafa Muhammad [UD15], and Dwight Muhammad Qawi [UD15] to boot)--though Michael Moorer would later join him as the second in 1991, he was merely the WBO champ (at a time when the WBO was not recognized as one of the major world governing bodies) whereas Spinks held the lineal championship at the time of his leave--but also the first to successfully dethrone the undisputed world heavyweight champion (though Tony Tubbs held the WBA belt and Pinklon Thomas was recognized as champion by the WBC, Holmes had universal recognition as the legitimate champion which stemmed back to a brutal ten-round drubbing in October 1980 of Muhammad Ali, a terrible beating which stripped Ali of his only remaining claim to the HW crown). Likewise, poor training habits, overindulgence in the 'good' life, and an abundance of humiliating losses near the end of his career to journeymen who seemed over-matched on paper tend to cause people to forget that there was a time when Leon was regarded as one of the better heavyweights in the world, and rightly so (though his win over Ali is the most commonly cited example for obvious reasons, overlooked wins over Alfio Righetti, Alfredo Evangelista, and Bernardo Mercado also serve as testaments to Leon's immense natural talent). It would be difficult, if not next to impossible, to make anyone forget about how it took Mike Tyson less than two minutes to change the '0' in Michael's 31-0 record to a '1' or how a TKO6 loss to Rocky Sekorski (the first time Leon had ever been beaten by an opponent that was not a current or former world champion) sent Leon on the fast track to journeyman status, a demotion that the fallen champ never recovered from. However, it's my sincere hope that those who read this book will start to remember the Spinks brothers not for the heartbreaking moments of their respective careers but for how they believed in themselves when very few people gave them even a remote chance of winning, shocked the world by emerging victorious over two of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time, and made all the critics eat their words. Not bad for a couple of kids from Pruitt-Igoe!
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One-Two Punch 14 septembre 2013
Par Pugwash - Publié sur Amazon.com
As an "Only In America" sports Odyssey, this was a story that was begging to be told. In short, two brothers, having grown up in in one of direst poverty and crime ridden projects in the country, ascend through the Olympic trials to win Gold Medals in the 1976 Montreal Summer Games.

Even more bizarre, both end up fighting aging legends for the Heavyweight Title of the world and pull off dramatic upsets.

The book details the interwoven, and yet very different turns the brothers' careers take. Leon, who ended Muhammad Ali's legendary reign, was undisciplined, childlike and unrestrained. Michael, who upset Larry Holmes' attempt to tie Rocky Marciano's record was quiet, inward, and self-directed. Michael went on to have one of the greatest careers in boxing history. Leon, though loved for his sweet temperament by those who knew him, became a laughingstock of late night television hosts.

this is an excellent book about the world of sports celebrity, and two uneducated brothers climbing their way out of inner-city poverty and despair. The one item I find fault with is the title, which prefaces the "Myth of the Heavyweight Title". It does not elaborate on this myth. Both were lineal Heavyweight Champions,and though both came to the title in opportune times, they both profited handsomely from the title.

The fights are not described in much detail, but the breakdown of the personalities of both is complete. The most interesting question raised is about Leon. Would he have been better off never having won the title?

My hat is off to John Florio for a long awaited book and a thorough job of researching and writing it.
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