A Publishers Weekly Best Book
Robert Anasi took up boxing in his twenties, mainly as a way to stay in shape. He sometimes thought of entering "the Gloves"—the Gloden Gloves tournament, the "main event" of amateur boxing—but always put it off. Finally, at thirty-three (his last year of eligibility) he vowed to fight for this title, although he was an old man in a sport of teenagers and a light man who had to be even lighter (125 pounds) to fight others his size.
So begins Anasi's obsessive preparation for the Golden Gloves. He finds Milton, a wily and abusive trainer, and joins Milton's Supreme Team: a young black man who used to deal guns in Harlem, a bus driver with five kids, and a hard-hitting woman champion who becomes his sparring partner. Meanwhile, he observes the changing world of amateur boxing, in which investment bankers spar with ex-convicts and everyone dreads a fatal blow to the head. With the Supreme Team, he goes to the tournament—the outcome of which, like so much in boxing life today, seems to be rigged.
In this remarkably compelling, socially perceptive, and artfully written memoir we find, as one critic noted in The Village Voice, "a dying blood sport reincarnated as a metaphor for redemption under flawed circumstances."