• The Boxing Kings

  • When American Heavyweights Ruled the Ring
  • By: Paul Beston
  • Narrated by: Alexander Cendese
  • Length: 13 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (114 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Boxing Kings tells the story of the heavyweight title in the days when it was a defining institution in the United States. Author Paul Beston places special emphasis on those champions who held a central place in American culture beyond just in the boxing ring, including John L. Sullivan, who made the title a commercial property; Jack Johnson, who in 1908 became the first black man to claim the title; Joe Louis, whose contributions to racial tolerance and social progress transcended even his greatness in the ring; Rocky Marciano, who became an embodiment of the American dream; Muhammad Ali, who took on the US government and revolutionized professional sports with his showmanship; and Mike Tyson, a hard-punching student of boxing history who exemplified the modern celebrity.

The gallery of champions also includes comics, dandies, bookworms, divas, ex-cons, workingmen, and a tough guy turned preacher. The Boxing Kings treats these and other champions as three-dimensional human beings, flawed but sympathetic men placed on great public stages. As the title shifts from one claimant to another, their stories also open a window into the larger history of the United States.

©2017 Paul Beston (P)2017 HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Boxing Kings

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An outstanding book on heavyweight champions

For nearly a century, the title "Heavyweight Champion of the World" was not only prestigious in boxing,, but in America as well. This outstanding book on the men that have held the title makes that point and tells the story of how this title has changed, not always for the better.

While the entire history of the title in the 20th century is covered, Beston concentrates on the stories of the most influential or noteworthy boxers who held the title: Jim Jeffries, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. What these men meant not only to boxing, but to American society as well, made for excellent listening. Censes:s masterful narration only added to the enjoyment of this book. It is highly recommended for all boxing fans.

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Enjoyable and informational

This book provides a meaningful overview of the American history and evolution of the heavyweight championship through its demise. It was enjoyable throughout.

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Kings

I found this book to be a particularly very comprehensive. I truly enjoyed all the boxing Kings from the beginning of John l Sullivan. The book led up to Mike Tyson, and a very good book to the Sweet science.

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Got me in the head, then the gut

A fantastic trip through the lineage of heavyweight champs, from Sullivan to Tyson. And while the greatest fights are told, there is also a lot about the personalities and history of each champ, and how they related to, or fought against, the times they lived in.

The narrator is perfect. I wish he narrated more books as well-written as this one. His talent is wasted on all those romance books (hard abs and fainting maidens on the cover)!

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great book covering heavyweight history

loved it great historical heavyweight history recap many insights I never knew about old time champions

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Heavyweight Boxing History

Absolutely loved this heavyweight boxing book!
If you're a wanna be boxing Heavyweight historian this book is perfect. Book gives one a big bang for the buck giving so many bios of champions in one book. Personally I purchased the Audible version. Narrator was excellent. Bio on each fighter was in-depth and at the same time moved along quickly. This book was so great I emailed the author and asked him if he would consider doing a middleweights boxing champions book also. The author was very polite and said he would consider it. I hope so!!!

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Amazing collection of stories

This helped rekindle my love of Boxing, and especially the heavy weight title. It demonstrated how the sport mirrored and influenced American society. i loved all the stories about the Champions who's names we've heard.

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Best book I've read this year.

This book is a well-written and fascinating story detailing 100 years of boxing history. the author takes an almost sociological approach to boxing and key fighters explaining how they're x shape them and they shape their time. a must-read for any boxing fan. the only negative is in the audio reading, the performer clearly doesn't know all the boxers and mispronounces a couple of the names.

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Engaging Classic

The audio book tells the story of the American heavy weight division in an engaging manner, which makes it impossible to stop listening. My favorite boxing book.

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Great History Book

As an aspiring boxing historian, the breath and scope of this book had me in awe. It's a must read for anyone interested in the sweet science. The narrator was excellent.

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  • Adam williams
  • 10-24-17

Stunning

Honestly one of the best books about boxing I've read in a very long time. Interesting, thought provoking, sometimes humorous, at the end, poignant. The narration was truly top notch as well, especially when he quotes the fighters/trainers etc. The Mike Tyson chapters are enough to make you cry, so much talent gone to waste due to hangers on and a corrupt promoter. I would recommend this book to any fans of pugilism or sports in general, as well as history.

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  • jako
  • 02-18-22

a great look back at the heavyweight kings

to keep it short l, this is a brilliant listen for anybody interested in the heavyweight lineage. there is also a fantastic documentary on you tube (search king of the rings (a rare documentary) ) This has excellent footage of alot of what is discussed in the book. Not much of this information came new to me, but it is also an engaging listen if you are well up on the subject.

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  • MMM
  • 12-19-21

Spectacular Narrative of Heavyweight History

In just a few days I ploughed through it all (speed x1.40). I couldn't put it down, even at 3 in the morning, it's that good. All the back stories of the fighters, all the blow by blow accounts. It's the perfect book. I watch the key fights on YouTube. I've rarely enjoyed a book so much or been so immersed.

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  • Matthew Jones
  • 06-13-21

Fascinating, accurate, engrossing.

This put me in mind of one of my favourite books in boxing, or indeed any subject, Boxing's Greatest Prize by Peter Wilson and that is compliment indees.. A terrific, well told, unsentimental story of the heavyweight championship in the 20th Century.

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  • Jim Mooney
  • 02-22-22

The Great concerning the Greats

Superb.
the narration was tip top.
a very well written book.
well played, excellent

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-04-21

Absolutely brilliant

If you think you're even slightly interested just do it. Absolute perfect time line full of all the great boxers and fights. With parts about their lives outside of the ring also

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-07-20

In depth look in heavyweight history

Great book if you're into the history of boxing. Very in depth with each of the heavyweight champions throughout the last 130 years & very well linked up as the title & the times changed.

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  • JCM
  • 08-16-20

A must listen for any Boxing fan

A genuinely entertaining & informative history of some of heavyweight boxings great hero's & occasions. Highly recommended for any fight fan.

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  • ML
  • 05-09-20

A Fantastic Read - a must-buy

I bought this after reading the reviews and was not disappointed. An absolutely enthralling read. It traces the Heavyweights in chronologically order since the start. Not only does it provide fascinating accounts of the seminal moments in boxing history, but you also learn so much about the personalities and the world at the time they fought. Superbly narrated and highly recommended.

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  • p
  • 12-02-19

Great

Great book the narration was grease the voice really works for the book and it’s good if you want to learn about heavyweights