Book review: “Reelin’ In The Years: Boxing And More,” by Theodore R. (Ted) Sares

Reelin In The YearsBy John Howard: A sophomore jinx is a term that refers to a second (sophomore) effort that fails to live up to the first effort. This can happen in ones sophomore year in college, a second year of playing professional sports, or a second attempt at writing a book. With his second book, “Reelin’ In The Years: Boxing And More,” Sares has landed a solid left hook to the body.

Sares has lived and breathed boxing his entire life. Therefore, it’s an impossible task to adequately review and do this collection the justice it deserves. Sares has a deep love for — and encyclopedic knowledge of — the fight game dating back some 60 years.

We are taken along on a historical journey though America starting with the authors humble beginnings as a young boy from the northwest side of Chicago. The reader is taken back to a time in the 1950s when boys and men bonded without knowing they were bonding. It was a time of innocence in America.

With a cult-like following on East Side Boxing, where he is respectfully known by the moniker of “Ted the Bull,” Sares, a private investor by trade and former parks district amateur boxer, describes in microscopic detail the countless fights he’s attended in person or first witnessed through the screen of a nine-inch black and white Admiral TV. With his straight-shooting, highly opinionated style of writing, the reader is taken along at full-tilt boogie through an incredible and sometimes bloody and brutal journey.

With graduate degrees in both economics and business administration, Sares still maintains his roots which are firmly planted in blue-collar America. The author revisits the Golden Age of Boxing Heavyweights that included Ali, Foreman, Frazier, Norton, Quarry, Chuvalo, Lyle, Shavers and Patterson. He continues on through the era of the late 1970s with the WBC and WBA recognizing multiple champions and mandatory challengers which produced a general corruption throughout the sport.

Along with Sares, the reader feels the effects of riding the pendulum from love to hate when revisiting the dark side of boxing with the tragic bout involving Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and Duk Koo Kim. You'll relive the nightmarish bout from 1962 between Benny “Kid” Paret and Emile Griffith. The reader will feel first-hand the dreaded onset of dementia pugilistica.

The author revisits the careers of the successes in the sport, yet doesn't fail to mention the fighters that aren't exactly household names. Fighters like Reggie Strickland (66-276-17) and Donnie Penelton (13-164-5) ... noble and courageous fighters that have risked their lives to entertain the fans.

“Reelin’ In The Years: Boxing And More,” is a chronological sequence of countless fights set to the pulse of America during both turbulent and tranquil times throughout our countries history. What makes the book so special is the author’s sharp memory and his ability to translate these memories so eloquently to the reader. If you're a fight fan, it’s a tremendously satisfying journey you won't want to miss.

John Howard is a lifelong resident of Ventura County, Calif., and his work has been published in the Ventura County Star

Article posted on 09.12.2008

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