One of boxing's greatest chroniclers, A.J. Liebling wrote about the sport with a brilliance and wit that may never be surpassed. In a series of essays for The New Yorker, Liebling interpreted boxing's mayhem and beauty for a wide audience. Liebling spent many an hour at ringside, but his best writing sprang from his connections behind the scenes. He knew the players and could reflect their voices with spellbinding realism. He wrote about boxing with a wry honesty that neither glamorized nor vilified its violence.
Born in New York, Liebling went to Dartmouth College before being expelled for not attending chapel. He then attended and graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism and went to work at The New York Times, which fired him for an alleged lack of attention to detail. He then worked for newspapers in Providence, Rhode Island, lived in Paris where he studied medieval history, and worked for five years for The New York World Telegram.
In 1935, Liebling began a 28-year association with The New Yorker, which lasted until his death in 1963. He wrote on a number of subjects including politics, war, food, horse racing, and the media. His essays on boxing appeared in The New Yorker from 1951 until his death and have been collected in two books, The Sweet Science and A Neutral Corner.
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Excerpted with permission from 'The Boxing Register' by James B. Roberts and Alexander G. Skutt, copyright © 1999 by McBooks Press. All rights reserved.