At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing

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David Remnick, washed-out corporate leftist and editor for The New Yorker, writes a detailed, and what he feels, intimate analysis of the decline of Mike Tyson's boxing career in the Library of America’s publication At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing, a collection of works written by this country’s finest authors that reaches to detail the social and historical importance of the world’s most handsome and virile sport. Typical of anyone involved with The New Yorker, Remnick gets up-close-and-personal with Tyson’s career without getting his hands too dirty (e.g. following Tyson’s posse into a Versace store and going so far as gloating to himself about how one of Tyson’s tattooed body guards puts some respect on his name), and, ends up talking about himself more than Tyson.

Remnick attempts to explain the groundbreaking, glorious fight, Tyson vs. Holyfield, in which Tyson revolutionized boxing in America, and triumphed, through civil disobedience, toward the ultimate win: the glorification of the self. Remnick approaches Tyson without attempting to understand him, and writes that he feels like he “had been witness to a spectacle -- to the unraveling of Mike Tyson,” but fails to understand that Tyson’s reluctance to honor the rules of the sport was more of a primordial critique of cultural standards in regards to boxing, rather than a thoughtless act of reactionary violence. Remnick also fails to mention that, despite Tyson’s disqualifying move, he became instantly sensational and is a commonplace name in the American household.

Now actor, business owner, music producer, and multi-billionaire, Tyson stands legendarily amidst Roberto Clemente, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and many others. Mike Tyson critically challenged the way America understands violence in sports and media, and dignified the notion that, “Boxing is a blood sport. Now there was blood." I highly recommend reading At the Fights in order to understand the most important sport in American history, and once you’ve finished it, indulge in some classic fights.

On "Kid Dynamite Blows Up: Mike Tyson"by David Remnick, chosen by bookseller Alexander

Named a best book of 2011 by the "San Francisco Chronicle," this gritty and glittering anthology highlights the very best writing about boxing.
Publication Date: 
August 30, 2012