On the Chin: A Boxing Education
The first thing that impressed me about Fritzy was his collection of boxing maxims, which he deployed continuously and without regard to their relevance: 'Ya don't play boxing', 'Don't hook with a hooker', 'Kill the body and the head'll die', 'Move ya head or the other guy'll move it for ya.' Fritzy was Jake's trainer. I had got his mobile number from Jake, but put off dialling it for two days, afraid my voice would betray me as soft, privileged and generally unsuitable for instruction. When I did finally work up the nerve to call, I half-hoped nobody would pick up. But on the fifth ring, a voice, broad and rasping, answered: 'Fritzy here.' 'G'day,' I said, affecting the same kind of matey, flat-vowelled intonation my dad uses when talking to his mechanic. 'I was calling about getting some boxing lessons for me and a mate?'
The sport of boxing provokes love, loathing and sometimes lust with equal intensity. 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 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, 'The Boxing Barista' Luigi Coluzzi, the immaculately named Trenton Titsworth, and the great Ruben Olivares, once described as 'the undisputed champion of the bender and the cabaret'.
Informative, insightful and effortlessly entertaining, On the Chin is your essential guide to the art of hitting and getting hit.