Cover image for Falling hard : a rookie's year in boxing
Falling hard : a rookie's year in boxing
Jones, Chris, 1973-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Arcade Pub., 2002.

Physical Description:
xiii, 190 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Toronto : Anansi, 2001.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1121 .J58 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Rookie reporter Chris Jones had no idea what he was getting himself into when he decided boxing would be his sports beat. In his first year ringside, the sport crept inside him, setting his heart pumping one minute and breaking it the next, making him stare at the violence -- in himself and others-and daring him not to flinch. Jones gets dressed down by Don King, interviews the troubled guy who found Holyfield's ear, crashes Ali's birthday party, and watches Prince Naseem explode while Tyson implodes. Equal parts victory and defeat, "Falling Hard" is an intoxicating mix of boxing distilled to its essence.
-- Both moving and frightening, "Falling Hard" depicts the charlatans and petty heroes, the sad-sacks and con men of boxing's carnival.

Author Notes

Chris Jones was born in London's East End in 1973. He has been a sports writer since 1998 and won the Edward Goff Penny Memorial Prize for outstanding young journalists. He lives in Toronto

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In 1998, Jones was about to receive a degree in urban planning when he landed a gig as a boxing writer for Canada's National Post.After immersing himself in the literature of the sport, Jones set out to follow in the footsteps of Liebling, Cannon, Mailer, and the other great boxing writers. As this account of his first year on the beat attests, however, Jones quickly found that boxing wasn't what he imagined it to be, nor was the sport going to provide a fast track to fame. He learns, as have so many others who write about the so-called sweet science, that for every act of shimmering grace and leonine courage in the ring, there are a dozen cynical double-crosses and a score of self-serving jackals lurking in the sport's smoky back rooms. Jones is fearless, though. He asks Don King, boxing's Darth Vader, if he paid off a judge to win a fight for his boxer. He finds himself in reach of Mike Tyson--a definite danger zone--and circling a post-fight dispute between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield. He covers a tragedy in progress as former heavyweight champion Trevor Berbick bumbles his way ever deeper into boxing dementia. This is an extraordinary, very personal journey through a world that continues to both fascinate and repel the sporting public. The Jones who survives the journey is a very different person from the naive young man who embarked on it. Falling Hard ranks with Jonathan Rendall's This Bloody Mary Is the Last Thing I Own (1998) as one of the great boxing journals. Wes Lukowsky.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a mixed effort, Toronto-based Jones chronicles a year of professional fights and learning the ropes as a neophyte ringside newspaper reporter for the newly formed National Post. In what is always a dicey move, he places himself squarely in the focus of his story. Rather than yielding interesting results, the exercise becomes a distraction that strays into a nuisance. Covering his first fight, Jones quotes a promoter saying that no matter what happens, the event will make his boxer "a bigger player." Jones adds, "Yes, I agree. Me too." Add to this photos of Jones's press credentials at the beginnings of chapters, a prevalent sense of awe at actually being a boxing writer and even a scene where Jones scolds Eddie Murphy for interrupting him and the self-absorption becomes tiresome. Jones's strength lies in his reporting skills, and he uses them aptly to paint vivid character portraits of the boxers, giving readers a vested interest in his descriptions of their bouts. But those descriptions themselves often lack solidity, as if Jones is still feeling the pinch of column inches instead of using the opportunity of a book to explore and elaborate. He writes, "The action is desperate. Both fighters consent to furious exchanges. Lefts and rights batter heads and bellies." At other times, the writing is much more effective, particularly when Jones ruminates on his first trip to Las Vegas and the sorry decline of Mike Tyson. Despite its flaws, the book offers enough flourishes of this kind and behind-the-scenes details to entice a fan of the sport to go the distance. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Having fallen into an unplanned career in journalism with the newly created Toronto National Post and then been placed in the sports department, Jones decided to hitch his young star to boxing and ride it to his destiny. Not unlike a legion of boxers who "coulda been contendahs," in his year covering the sport he discovered that while it has the ability to enthrall, even to uplift, it has a more than equal capacity to bring down, to break dreams and lives. Jones discovered in that short time that not only doesn't the good guy always win but often the right guy doesn't even win when judges' decisions are involved. Unlike many a boxer who hangs on for one fight too many, he left the boxing beat after a memorable year that included encounters with, in addition to some famous champions and promoters, the man who found part of Evander Holyfield's ear. This is not intended to be an expos of the sport, just a very personal and often entertaining account of boxing's power to seduce and betray. Recommended for all medium to large public libraries. Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. IX
Author's Notep. XIII
1 All Wishes Granted But One: Otis Grant v. Roy Jones Jr.p. 1
2 The Winner and Still Has-Been: Francois Botha v. Mike Tysonp. 21
3 Going the Distance from Reality: Trevor Berbick v. Shane Sutcliffep. 61
4 Boxing Takes One on the Chin: Lennox Lewis v. Evander Holyfieldp. 83
5 The Illustrated Boxer: Stephane Ouellet v. Davey Hilton Jr.p. 119
6 Prince Harming: Prince Naseem Hamed v. Cesar Sotop. 141
7 A Reversal of Travesty: Lennox Lewis v. Evander Holyfield IIp. 165
Epiloguep. 185
Postscriptp. 189
Acknowledgementsp. 191