Friday, January 05, 2007

Teddy Atlas From The Streets To The Ring: A Son's Struggle To Become A Man

By Teddy Atlas and Peter Alson

This is one of the better boxing books that I have read in quite a while. This is not just the story of a man’s journey through the boxing world, but of a man’s journey through life, that happens to take place in the world of boxing. You don’t have to be a fan of boxing to enjoy this book, but it probably helps to know the characters Atlas is writing about. Teddy Atlas was born into an established but dysfunctional family, headed by a father that was unable to give him (at least on the surface) the love and approval he needed.

Atlas wisely does not over dwell on his association with Mike Tyson, but gives a matter of fact and honest account of his time with Tyson, and with Cus D’Amato, his mentor and surrogate father. The most compelling areas of the book are when Atlas reveals his own dark side, particularly when describing how he was planning Donny Lalonde’s murder, which fortunately for both Atlas and Lalonde, never happened. Also intriguing is Atlas' take on the pychological aspect of boxing, which plays a large part in his coaching and method style.

Atlas is my favorite boxing trainer, simply because he puts loyalty, honor and truth above money and fame. He’s an old school trainer, and as a motivator he has no equal (with the possible exception of Angelo Dundee).The best moments of the book are saved for the last half of the book, focusing on his years with former heavyweight Champion Michael Moorer, and reaching the pinnacle of his profession and establishing himself as one of the top trainers in the world. After a career that had many ups and downs Teddy Atlas is living the life he worked hard for. He is a top color commentator for ESPN’s Friday Night Boxing, works with the poor and needy through The Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation, founded in his father’s name, and is spending time with his family,and deservedly so. This book doesn’t just go the distance, it’s a knockout! (a cliché, I know, but true)

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