The Times Square Gym

One of my favorite books of all time is John Goodman's The Times Square Gym. There are not that many boxing photographs out there that do it for me, but, baby, these sing to me!

Pete Hamill wrote a wonderful introduction for the book in which he discusses one of my heros, Sugar Ray Robinson:

"Robinson had one other quality that the fans of the era had come to cherish and which remains essential to any good prizefighter. He had what the fighters call 'heart.' By 'heart,' they don't mean simple courage. They know that it requires a certain amount of courage simply to climb into a ring in front of strangers. The mysterious quality called 'heart' is about the willingness to endure punishment in order to inflict it. When a fighter is young, carried forward in the first great rush of his talent, knocking out everyone who faces him, his reputation still remains suspect. We won't know about him, the old timers say, until someone knocks him on his ass. And so 'heart' is about getting up. It's about seeing the cut above your brow, as Robinson did in his second fight with Randy Turpin, and calling on some secret reservoir of the self to dominate and win. The war veterans saw in Robinson the spirit of the warrior; anyone can be a hero when the other side is running away. But Robinson was never better than he was when fighting a tough opponent, never more dangerous than when he had been hurt. And when he did lose, beaten by the crazy energy of Turpin in their first fight, decisioned in a fight by Jake LaMotta, he handled defeat with grace."