Sporting Blood is a collection of twenty-one essays by Carlos Acevedo looking, as the title suggests, at tales from the darker side of boxing. The collection covers a range of fighters offering fresh perspectives on some well known names as well telling the stories of much less well remembered pugilists.
The hardest part of reviewing this book is trying not to copy the words of the great Thomas Hauser in his excellent forward to the book which sums up the power of Acevedo’s writing better than I ever could.
Acevdo is a sensationally good writer with some brilliantly memorable turns of phrase. Each essay packs a mighty punch and resonated with me long after I read it. It is a great collection to dip in and out of, to take your time over, to re-read and savour the writing and the imagery. As Hauser says “each essay goes beyond the name of the fighter attached to it to underscore a fundamental truth about, and capture the essence of, boxing.” It’s hard to get a better endorsement.
As a whole, the collection paints a grim, sad portrait of a fighters life. While the level of success reached might vary, the stories seem to very often end in tragically similar fashions with dementia, poverty, drug abuse and often murder playing an inevitable part in many of the fighters later years.
A series of articles by Acevedo are available at https://hannibalboxing.com/author/cacevedo/ and are also well worth checking out.