Hitting and Stopping: Book review

Boxing historian Lawrence Davies has done an admirable job in delivering this new edition of Jimmy Wilde‘s book, first published in 1914 when the great champion was aged 22.

As well as now being easily accessible, the new edition features extra written material, commentary and photographs.

The book gives Wilde’s insights into his remarkable, unique talent, describing how he would always stay in range, using slight movements and sways to make his opponent miss and to expose his unfortunate foe to the Welshman’s concussive blows.

Those seeking to use the work as a guidebook to take them to boxing greatness should, however, take note of Davies’s warning:

“It seems unlikely that a reading of ‘Hitting and Stopping’ will provide a blueprint to replicate Jimmy Wilde’s genius in the ring, without the attributes that made him unique… The root of his genius continues to defy explanation.”

Jimmy Wilde on his punch power:

“I scarcely fancy that I need to point out that my ability to punch hard has taken me further than any other ability I may possess. I do not know whether I am so superlatively skilful, I suppose I am cleverer than the ordinary run of boxers. But I really believe that my success has been chiefly due to the fact that I can punch harder than many lightweights, despite my damaged hands.” (p. 47)

Jimmy Wilde on ‘boxers v punchers’:

“Quick, rapid hitting and smart defence will enable a man to gain points and may win him success over the average run of competitors, but sooner or later every boxer will run up against an opponent who will not mind being outpointed so long as he can punch in return. Given strength, stamina, and a real wallop, this type of man will in time nearly always be able to wear the other fellow down, especially if that other is merely a gentle tapper, whose blows are incapable of shaking or hurting the man on whom they land.” (p. 42)

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