Hugh McIlvanney, The Hardest Game: McIlvanney on Boxing(Edinburgh, 2001)
A collection of the highest quality boxing journalism from the great Hugh McIlvanney. Includes his delightful takes on fights as big as the Rumble in the Jungle, the Thrilla in Manila and Hagler v Hearns.
Plenty of Welsh-interest angles, including accounts of Howard Winstone v Vicente Saldivar, Don Curry v Colin Jones, and his description of Eddie Thomas‘s legendary corner work on Ken Buchanan during his fight with Ismael Laguna.
It is difficult to top McIlvanney’s heart-rending account of Johnny Owen’s tragic final fight against Lupe Pintor:
“Outside the ring he was an inaudible and almost invisible personality. Inside, he became astonishingly positive and self-assured. He seemed to be more at home there than anywhere else. It is his tragedy that he found himself articulate in such a dangerous language.”