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Roberto Duran, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns all formed the pantheon of boxing greats during the late 1970s and early 1980sbefore the pay-per-view model, when prize fights were telecast on network television and still captured the nation's attention. Championship bouts during this era were replete with revenge and fury, often pitting one of these storied fighters against another. From training camps to locker rooms, author George Kimball was there to cover every body shot, uppercut, and TKO. Inside stories full of drama, sacrifice, fear, and pain make up this treasury of boxing tales brought to life by one of the sport's greatest writers.

Their names are legendary: Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hit Man Hearns, and Roberto Duran. They were exceptional boxers with unique combinations of power and speed. In another era, with few rivals of equal caliber, each might have held championship belts for years on end. But as it was, they matured together in the 1980s and fought each other as middleweights. With unforgettable courage and skill, they ruled the ring and ushered in the last Golden Age of boxing.

George Kimball takes an authoritative look at the rivalries that fueled this great era in sports history. Veteran sports journalist Kimball reported on every one of the Four Kings’ nine internecine fights. Here his eye-witness coverage is enhanced by recent interviews with each of the boxers and other seasoned analysts. The result is a fast-paced, blow-by-blow account of four extraordinary adversaries and a remarkable boxing epoch.

Published: McBooks Press an imprint of Independent Publishers Group on Oct 1, 2008
ISBN: 9781590132777
List price: $9.99
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Boxing as a sport is at an ebb in the US. It has been chased from popular culture by such things as MMA and Professional (?) Wrestling. However there were times that boxing was a major draw in America. Starting at the turn of the twentieth century boxing grew to be the pre-eminent sport by the time that Jack Dempsey fought Gene Tunney to break the one million dollar threshold.Boxing continued to be popular through the 1960s but in the late 70’s with the retirement of Muhammad Ali interest fell and the title holders that followed were known only to a few. But in 1980 the sport once again jumped to public view. Four Kings by George Kimball chronicles the events that made up what has been called the last great era of Boxing. With a foreword by Pete Hamill Kimball tells the stories of Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hit Man Hearns, and Roberto Duran.Ray Lenard – who unretired himself for a split decisionMarvin Hagler who lost one of the most disputed fights in boxing Thomas Hearns who may have had a fight taken away by the referee but still shared in the largest split in sports history at that time.And finally Roberto Duran who may or may not have said one of the most disputed statements in boxing.And all the stories are tied together as the kings are matched and rematches against each other in nine of the best fights in US boxing history. If you ever loved boxing or have even wondered about boxing you will love this book.A copy of this book was provided free by the publisher for the purposes of this review.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Four Kings is the story of Roberto Duran, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. They were the preeminent boxers of the 1980's whose paths crossed in nine fights between the members of the group. The author worked for 25 years as a sports columnist for the Boston Herald and has begun his retirement with the writing of this book. He shows a great love of boxing and a thorough knowledge of the sport and the four fighters. His afterword and acknowledgment show that he was thorough in his research for the book. The book is a biography of the four men told through a chronological account of the nine fights that made the 80's a decade of glamor and big money in the boxing world. The author covers all aspects of boxing and the people involved in these events. The promotion, training regimen and the constant hype that went into each fight are thoroughly covered.As the author relates the stories of the fights themselves we get literally a blow by blow description of the events. There is a thorough examination of the famous "no mas" fight and an attempt to answer the question of what really happened. The author's conclusion is that Duran quit out of frustration because Leonard danced and boxed and refused to fight.At the conclusion of the narrative of the fights there is a where are they now chapter on the fighters and the author's thoughts on why boxing has virtually disappeared as a sport in America.The author blames the demise of boxing on the epidemic of the use of crack cocaine. Users of crack end up on a one way street to oblivion that eliminates the path of hard work and discipline required to become a fighter. The crack dealers have found a quicker and easier way to make a good living than getting beat up for a living. I think the author misses the fact that the violence of boxing has also contributed to its demise. Other sports, primarily basketball and football, find plenty of participants, but boxing has lost its audience. No longer do many Americans enjoy a sport where the primary goal is to inflict a physical beating on your opponent.This book does succeed as an interesting biography of the four individuals. Roberto Duran was a tough street kid from Panama with no education. In his prime he lived up to the image of a barely civilized man of violence. That is also the way he fought, little style but tough and strong. Now he lives quietly in Miami enjoying what is left of the money he made. Sugar Ray Leonard was probably the most intelligent of the fighters. He was able to adapt his style to what was required to win a fight more effectively than the other fighters. He was a natural celebrity and as the book points out saved his money from the beginning of his career. Thomas Hearns was at 6"1" the tallest of the four. That gave him a consistent advantage in the ring but he did not show the intelligence of Leonard in making use of it. He now lives the life of a rich man enjoying his money. Marvin Hagler was an old fashioned warrior in the ring. He always trained and fought hard. He could fight from both the right and left side making him a difficult opponent. He now lives in Italy and has appeared in a number of films. This book was well written and edited. The author's journalistic background is evident in his writing style. I would recommend it for anyone who is a fan of boxing. A copy of this book was provided free by the publisher for the purposes of this review.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I grew up during this era and reading about it brought it all back. I remember being able to see a great fight on network television on a regular basis. Leonard was the best fighter I've ever seen, but Hagler was my favorite.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Boxing as a sport is at an ebb in the US. It has been chased from popular culture by such things as MMA and Professional (?) Wrestling. However there were times that boxing was a major draw in America. Starting at the turn of the twentieth century boxing grew to be the pre-eminent sport by the time that Jack Dempsey fought Gene Tunney to break the one million dollar threshold.Boxing continued to be popular through the 1960s but in the late 70’s with the retirement of Muhammad Ali interest fell and the title holders that followed were known only to a few. But in 1980 the sport once again jumped to public view. Four Kings by George Kimball chronicles the events that made up what has been called the last great era of Boxing. With a foreword by Pete Hamill Kimball tells the stories of Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hit Man Hearns, and Roberto Duran.Ray Lenard – who unretired himself for a split decisionMarvin Hagler who lost one of the most disputed fights in boxing Thomas Hearns who may have had a fight taken away by the referee but still shared in the largest split in sports history at that time.And finally Roberto Duran who may or may not have said one of the most disputed statements in boxing.And all the stories are tied together as the kings are matched and rematches against each other in nine of the best fights in US boxing history. If you ever loved boxing or have even wondered about boxing you will love this book.A copy of this book was provided free by the publisher for the purposes of this review.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Four Kings is the story of Roberto Duran, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. They were the preeminent boxers of the 1980's whose paths crossed in nine fights between the members of the group. The author worked for 25 years as a sports columnist for the Boston Herald and has begun his retirement with the writing of this book. He shows a great love of boxing and a thorough knowledge of the sport and the four fighters. His afterword and acknowledgment show that he was thorough in his research for the book. The book is a biography of the four men told through a chronological account of the nine fights that made the 80's a decade of glamor and big money in the boxing world. The author covers all aspects of boxing and the people involved in these events. The promotion, training regimen and the constant hype that went into each fight are thoroughly covered.As the author relates the stories of the fights themselves we get literally a blow by blow description of the events. There is a thorough examination of the famous "no mas" fight and an attempt to answer the question of what really happened. The author's conclusion is that Duran quit out of frustration because Leonard danced and boxed and refused to fight.At the conclusion of the narrative of the fights there is a where are they now chapter on the fighters and the author's thoughts on why boxing has virtually disappeared as a sport in America.The author blames the demise of boxing on the epidemic of the use of crack cocaine. Users of crack end up on a one way street to oblivion that eliminates the path of hard work and discipline required to become a fighter. The crack dealers have found a quicker and easier way to make a good living than getting beat up for a living. I think the author misses the fact that the violence of boxing has also contributed to its demise. Other sports, primarily basketball and football, find plenty of participants, but boxing has lost its audience. No longer do many Americans enjoy a sport where the primary goal is to inflict a physical beating on your opponent.This book does succeed as an interesting biography of the four individuals. Roberto Duran was a tough street kid from Panama with no education. In his prime he lived up to the image of a barely civilized man of violence. That is also the way he fought, little style but tough and strong. Now he lives quietly in Miami enjoying what is left of the money he made. Sugar Ray Leonard was probably the most intelligent of the fighters. He was able to adapt his style to what was required to win a fight more effectively than the other fighters. He was a natural celebrity and as the book points out saved his money from the beginning of his career. Thomas Hearns was at 6"1" the tallest of the four. That gave him a consistent advantage in the ring but he did not show the intelligence of Leonard in making use of it. He now lives the life of a rich man enjoying his money. Marvin Hagler was an old fashioned warrior in the ring. He always trained and fought hard. He could fight from both the right and left side making him a difficult opponent. He now lives in Italy and has appeared in a number of films. This book was well written and edited. The author's journalistic background is evident in his writing style. I would recommend it for anyone who is a fan of boxing. A copy of this book was provided free by the publisher for the purposes of this review.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I grew up during this era and reading about it brought it all back. I remember being able to see a great fight on network television on a regular basis. Leonard was the best fighter I've ever seen, but Hagler was my favorite.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
George Kimball's Four Kings fruitfully conveys the story of "the last great era of boxing" as it could only be told by an eyewitness. By centering his book on the nine fights between members of the four kings- Duran, Hagler, Hearns and Leonard- Kimball captures the excitement of the bouts which attracted millions to follow the sport. In addition, the author does a great job in telling the story of each boxer's career, training and dealings with managers and promoters. Kimball uses his vantage point as a reporter covering boxing to great effect, giving the reader a ringside seat to the fights that electrified the world.
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In the late 60's and 70's I grew up in a boxing town. My grandfather was a great fan and often took me to the fights on a Saturday night. And on Saturday afternoons we would watch Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Jerry Quarry, etc pummel whichever unlucky sap happened to be in the ring with them... and on rare occasions watch them fight each other. Then boxing went into a decline, both nationally and in my own interest. The story of how the "Four Kings" brought it back into the national spotlight is a good one. These were classic fights and fighters. And I thank Mr. Kimball for bringing them back to life for me. I recommend this book for anyone who loves boxing and those who wnat to know more about the sports world through the 80's. Good stuff.
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"Four Kings" was an enjoyable read. The information given on political figures such as Ted Kennedy,Kirk Douglas from the entertainment world and Joe Louis, from the boxing world, and you have a fascinating book. There are some great quotes from each of the four kings themselves, and attention is given to what happened to each all-time great after some of the most famous rivalries in all of boxing had come to an end. But among other things Kimball does a great job of making more human the boxing greats, and depicting the complex relationships among all four boxers. Hearns’ trainer Emmanuel Steward comes off as a very warm and tender character. The boxing world has plenty of unique characters, in and out of the ring, and Kimball brings you into the mix for every one of these classic fights. It’s an era the boxing world may never see again, but thanks to Kimball it’s one we’ll never forget.
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