Hard Road is the fifth book in the Fight Card series – and Kevin Michaels is the man behind the Jack Tunney pseudonym for this adventure.
The hero is a fighter named Roberto Varga, and he’s a pretty decent bloke, he just hasn’t had the breaks in life. His boxing career, while nothing to be ashamed of, is not going anywhere fast. As a consequence, his girlfriend, Ginny, keeps nagging him to take a job with her Uncle Manny in a butcher shop.
But Varga still has faith in his capabilities as a fighter, and dreams of the chance to show the world – maybe against a fighter the caliber of Sugar Ray Robinson. However, as the story starts he is battling Big Ray Krupa. Varga wins easily in the end, but doesn’t put Krupa away when he has the chance, which people suggest is stopping him from being noticed. His compassion, is keeping him a middle of the pack fighter.
But then he gets a break. A boxer scheduled to fight top contender, Mickey Boyle, breaks his hand only two weeks out from the scheduled bout. Varga is chosen to be his replacement for the fight. The rub is, Varga and Boyle have a history. Both of them lived in the same orphanage as children, St. Vincent’s Asylum for Boys – where they were taught the noble art by the fighting priest, Father Tim.
But as men, they went their separate ways – choosing different paths in the fight game. They fought a bout seven years previously, with Boyle winning by split decision, but Varga always suspected that Boyle had loaded his gloves on the night of the fight.
This fight is Varga’s chance to prove himself, and for a little payback too. The end fight is dynamite.
Here’s the spiel:
Professional boxers Roberto Varga and Michael Boyle were once pals growing up at St. Vincent’s Asylum for Boys in Chicago. Under the guidance of Father Tim, the fighting priest, they learned values, respect, responsibility, and how to fight fair.
But those lessons didn’t stick with Boyle. Two years after leaving St. Vincent’s, Boyle and Varga face-off in the ring with Boyle pounding out a bloody, lopsided decision, Varga swore wasn’t on the up and up.
In the seven years since, their careers have taken different paths. Guided by unscrupulous manager Tommy Domino, Boyle is positioned for a title shot against Sugar Ray Robinson. Varga, however, has struggled in a career still haunted by the bloody loss to Boyle.
When the boxer scheduled to fight Boyle in Atlantic City breaks his hand two weeks before the fight, Domino scrambles for a replacement. He finds Varga toiling in a Philadelphia gym and offers him the rematch Varga has been waiting years to get. For Varga, it’s a chance to finally even the score, a chance to get the title shot he’s always dreamed about. But Boyle is not the only formidable foe aligned against Varga.
Redemption comes at a bloody price – a price perhaps too high for Varga to pay …
The first four books in the popular Fightcard series
If you have been reading the Fight Card series (and I like to think you are), then you will have noticed that the first four books are set in 1954. I haven’t asked why this is, but I do have a theory – not a very good one, but it’s worth a shot. Here it is.
On March 19, 1954, Joey Giardello knocked out Willie Tory at Madison Square Garden, in what was the first televised boxing prize fight to be shown in color.
Boxing had long been popular, but imagine watching boxing on your television screen, in your own home – in colour. It was a whole new world! Boxing came alive.
Hard Road is set three years later, in 1957. A lot had happened in those three years – chief among them was ‘Rock ‘n Roll’. Boxing now had colour and a beat, and author Kevin Michaels serves up a hard punching tale, set to a hip swiveling soundtrack.
Next up for the Fightcard series:
Set in Outback Australia, in Birdsville, one of the most remote towns on the planet, two rival boxing tents set up shop in competition with each other. In the sweltering heat, tensions simmer, tempers flare, and a tent burns.