"The Arc of Boxing" reviewed in the 2010 edition of The British Boxing Board of Control Yearbook
"The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science", by Mike Silver
Reviewed by Philip Sharkey for The British Boxing Board of Control Yearbook,2010
My yearly reviews have been confined to books about British boxers, but a fascinating new book by former boxing promoter and New York State Athletic Commission Inspector Mike Silver is well worth mentioning. THE ARC OF BOXING: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science was not written "to add fuel to the old school vs. new school boxing debate. I wrote it to end the debate" says Mike and he has interviewed over a dozen experts, some old enough to have personally witnessed the best fighters of the last 70 years. Three of the world's most renowned current teacher-trainers, Teddy Atlas, Emanuel Steward and Freddie Roach also add their two cents worth. Roy Jones, Jnr., Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather Jnr. are some of the contemporary fighters compared with the champions from the golden era of boxing, generally recognised as stretching from the 1920s to the 1950s. Even Roberto Duran, trained by Ray Arcel is not considered by some as good enough to beat Billy Petrolle or Sid Terris (neighter of whom where champions in the 1930s). Arcel himself only has Duran scrapping into his top ten lighteweights of all time.
Although the book talks almost exclusively about fighters from the United States one can't help thinking of modern day British champions facing 'Golden Era' fighters: Jack Kid Berg vs. Ricky Hatton, Randolph Turpin vs. Joe Calzaghe or Naseem Hamid vs. Ned Tarleton, would I'm sure, provide British boxing fans with the same level of debate. It is a thought provoking book. Other sports can be measured in heights jumped or distances ran or swam, but boxing is a far subtler science, the sweet science in fact!