Box: The Face of Boxing is a collection of black and white photographic portraits taken by Holger Keifel, and I must say they are an amazing collection of photos. Even if you don’t like boxing, and are interested in portraiture, this is a great book – because they are not action sport shots. They are thoughtful studio shots, that capture the character – and possibly even trace the careers – of the men in front of the lens.
Boxers by profession, will be scarred and battered, and the vestiges of their sport remain etched into their faces, even long after they have given the fight game away. The simplest example of this, is the cover shot, which is a side on profile of a black boxer’s ear. If you look at the ear carefully, you will notice a portion of the lobe is missing… and how many fighters can you recall lost a portion of their ear in the ring? Yes, it is Evander Holyfield.
Complimenting the photos are some short paragraphs by Thomas Hauser, usually highlighting a ‘punchy’ quote by the boxer concerned. On their own, without the images, the quotes themselves are create the ‘Tao of Boxing’. They could be repeated as a mantra. Everything from, ‘Let’s Get Ready to Rumble’ – Michael Buffer, to ‘If You’re Good, That’s Good. But if You’re Good and Mean, That’s Better’ – Roberto Duran.
It is almost impossible to describe a coffee table book on a blog, short of scanning all the pictures – which, I am sure would infringe of copyright. Besides, if you like black and white photography, I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the book anyway.
Box: the Face of Boxing, is a celebration of the fistic arts and the men, both inside and out of the ring, who make up the sport.
May sees the launch of King of the Outback, the sixth book in the popular Fightcard series – and my literary debut (writing as Jack Tunney). Accordingly, in a month long celebration, Permission to Kill will be looking back and some of the highlights – and lowlights – of boxing in film and literature – and in music too.