Pollack Profiles Sullivan in New Book
McFarland & Co. recently published Adam J. Pollack’s biography of John L. Sullivan: John L. Sullivan: The Career of the First Gloved Heavyweight Champion.
KO Corner had a chance to ask Pollack why he has an interest in Sullivan, a champion of over a century ago. His answer:
I’m a boxing history nut in general. Sullivan was the first gloved heavyweight champion, the guy that made gloved boxing popular. He was the first American sports hero. His career was so important for the legitimacy of Queensberry rules boxing as we know it today. To understand where boxig is today, we must understand from where it came. But more importantly, ever since I was young, I have never been satisfied with boxing biographies, for I felt they lacked details regarding the boxing, always left me with a number of unanswered questions, and seemed more focussed on the boxers’ personal lives and sociology rather than the fine details of the champion’s career. I think this book fills a much needed void and will have timeless appeal. For anyone who ever needs to answer a question about one of Sullivan’s fights, he need look no further than this book.
From the publisher:
Essentially the last of the bare-knuckle heavyweight champions, John L. Sullivan was instrumental in the acceptance of gloved fighting. His charisma and popular appeal during this transitional period contributed greatly to making boxing a nationally popular, “legitimate” sport. Sullivan became boxing’s first superstar and arguably the first of any sport.
From his first match in the late 1870s through his final championship fight in 1892, this biography contains a thoroughly researched, detailed accounting of John L. Sullivan’s boxing career. With special attention to the 1880s, the decade during which Sullivan came to prominence, it follows Sullivan’s skill development and discusses his opponents and fights in detail, providing various viewpoints of a single event. Beginning with a discussion of early boxing practices, the sport itself is placed within sociological, legal and historical contexts including anti–prize fighting laws and the so-called “color line.” A complete record of Sullivan’s career is also included.
Adam J. Pollack is a staff writer for Cyberboxingzone.com (CBZ), is vice chair of USA Boxing’s National Board of Review, and a member of the Women’s Subcommittee. He is also a boxing coach and attorney living in Iowa City, Iowa.
Update: You can also download the preface of the book here.