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Publisher's Summary

"I can lick any son of a bitch in the world."

So boasted John L. Sullivan, the first modern heavyweight boxing champion of the world, a man who was the gold standard of American sports for more than a decade and the first athlete to earn more than a million dollars. He had a big ego, a big mouth, and even bigger appetites. His womanizing, drunken escapades, and chronic police-blotter presence were godsends to a burgeoning newspaper industry. The larger-than-life boxer embodied the American dream for late 19th-century immigrants as he rose from Boston's Irish working class to become the most recognizable man in the nation. In the process the "Boston Strong Boy" transformed boxing from outlawed bare-knuckle fighting into the gloved spectacle we know today.

Strong Boy tells the story of America's first sports superstar, a self-made man who personified the power and excesses of the Gilded Age. Everywhere John L. Sullivan went, his fists backed up his bravado. Sullivan's epic brawls, such as his 75-round bout against Jake Kilrain, and his cross-country barnstorming tour in which he literally challenged all of America to a fight are recounted in vivid detail, as are his battles outside the ring with a troubled marriage, wild weight and fitness fluctuations, and raging alcoholism. Strong Boy gives listeners ringside seats to the colorful tale of one of the country's first Irish American heroes and the birth of the American sports media and the country's celebrity obsession with athletes.

©2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2015 Christopher Klein

What listeners say about Strong Boy

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Such an interesting life

I never knew such a colorful character pioneered American sports celebrity, and the author writes with such colorful description you’ll feel like you’re in the boxing ring trading blows with the champ. Outstanding book!

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Worth a listen

This is an interesting tale about a natural fighter, his family fights, life his demons and his redemption. There's nothing superfluous in this book. The main character and his actions are the story. Think of Babe Ruth's skill and exploits off the field. Such was the life of this fighter.

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an icon of american history. well perforned

what a crazy time and what an absolute lunatic john L. was.
tragedy victory tragedy

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Great book!

As a boxing fan I truly enjoyed this book. What a fascinating character in boxing history. Truly entertaining!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-20-21

Strong Boy

Very well written and researched biography. Highly recommended for those interested in the history of boxing or just a larger than life personality.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-21

Fairly boring but great content for free

The book for me was quite boring. It follows his life in a timeline like fashion fight by fight
But in all honesty it’s pretty boring. That said I had it for free and learnt a bit of history so I can’t complain .