Book Review: Muhammad Ali, The Life of a Boxing Hero
Book Review: Muhammad Ali, The Life of a Boxing Hero
By Antonio Santiago, Doghouse Boxing (Dec 20, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Muhammad Ali, The Life of a Boxing Hero
As I set to receive many boxing books and review them for you, I had only one rule of thumb for myself: do not ask for books about Muhammad Ali. I mean, we have read every word written and seen every picture taken of "The Greatest" already!......wrong.
A few days ago, I was eating at the McDonalds inside the local Walmart after having had my heart tested at the doctor (My heart came out fine, I got heart!), and, although as usual, penniless,  I decided to walk to Walmart's book section and check out to see if there were any new books on boxing or airplanes. I found a book on Muhammad Ali and was surprised to see it was like one of the old photo-novels that permeated the Hispanic world when I was little and that made famous such stars as Veronica Castro and Lucia Mendez before they even were on television. I went to a scanner to see how much the book cost, and no luck. I then asked a lady to scan it for me at the cash register, and no luck. Turns this book was located in a place that was rented to Walmart by another retailer. There were no representatives for the retailer available at the time, so I was out of my luck! When I came home, I searched for the book online and that's how I found Muhammad Ali: The Life of a Boxing Hero (ISBN:1404208569, Rosen Pub Publishing,, author Rob Shone, illustrator Nik Spender, 2006, all rights reserved). The book at Walmart, which I found out later is named Muhammad Ali: Illustrated Biography, is on it's way to my house right now.
I am overjoyed that I decided to forego my rule of thumb in this case and found Muhammad Ali: The Life of a Boxing Hero. The book is generally rated for the ages of between 10 and 13, but if you aren't that age, please overlook that. And if you are a fan of comics (unlike me, because I only read Archie, and that's only every once in a while), you would enjoy this book too. Simply put, Spender's drawings borderline on exquisite.
You could never see a more near perfect depiction of Don King, of President Mobutu Sese Soso (of Zaire, what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo), of Joe Frazier or Leon Spinks.  Spender has no pulse, and in this case, that is a good thing!! The narrative of the story is both accurate to the actual story, and understandable for anyone who reads it. Even your normal 8 year old can connect the dots between boxing's competitive side and it's business side, like in the illustration where King offers the Rumble In The Jungle fight to Sese Soso, but at the same time, it does not feel like a children's read. For that, I command Shone. The book is educational, accurate and entertaining. In short, a joy to read.
One thing that I must point out at is the lack of attention to Ali's first big fight, with Archie Moore. The writer and illustrator apparently intended to include that fight and showed Ali and Moore having differences at Moore's San Diego camp-which is what led to their fight in the first place-but, after seeing Moore seething about Ali and his behavior (Moore is read wishing to give Ali a 'lesson') you will be disappointed to discover Moore is not in the book anymore.  The fight between Moore and Ali was large enough at it's time, the winner (Ali, of course) receiving a title shot at Sonny Liston, that it should merit some space on all books about Ali.
If you like comic books and boxing books, through, this one will become one of your favorites! So if I were you, I'd go to your closest bookstore and buy it before it's gone!

Please send all Questions and comments to Antonio at

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