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Synopsis

Carlo Rotella, an award-winning writer and ringside veteran, unearths the hard wisdom in any kind of fight, from barroom dustup to HBO extravaganza. He vividly describes the tough choices and subtle pleasures that come the way of every fighter, from perennial underdogs on the tank-town circuit to the one-time heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, who still spars to retching exhaustion daily.
Rotella uncovers the often startling light that boxing sheds on the world beyond the ring. A college student's brief fistic career pinpoints the moment when adulthood arrives. The serenity of a fellow fan shows Rotella how to process the trauma of a car crash. The persistence of a wizened ex-champion reminds him of his grandmother and helps him accept her death. Throughout, Rotella achieves moving resonances between the worlds inside and outside the ropes.
He also tackles fascinating questions that have gone largely unexplored until now: How do boxers endure the brutal punishment that is the sport's essence? And why do they come back for more, again and again? As Rotella traces his immersion in the fight world, he achieves what few other writers in that world have: he makes it relevant to us, whether we're fans or not.

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