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Pound for Pound

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  251 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
"Pound for Pound" is a big novel in the truest sense of the word, a story of family, honor, perseverance, and forgiveness. Set in towns where violence is the norm and success stories take on an almost mythic importance, it tells of grand-fathers and grandsons -- older men for whom life has not been easy and the young men who look to them for guidance -- and reveals the tra ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2006)
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Reads like it was written by that crusty Irish codger who hangs around the boxing gym talking shit with other old timers, which is what makes this book kind of terrible but also what makes it pretty damn great. I bought it in an airport and when I started reading on the plane was like, "Oh no, I just can't believe how crappy this is." But then for some reason I couldn't set it down, and I ended up getting sucked in and loving it way more than I've loved anything in awhile. You could say Pound fo ...more
Debbie Zapata
Oct 14, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saturday
Before this book, I knew about F.X. Toole from reading his short story collection originally published as Rope Burns; better known as Million Dollar Baby: Stories from the Corner from the story in it that became an Academy Award-winning movie.

He was seventy when that collection was published. He did not live to see the movie. He did not live to see this book in print. He had a bad heart. He carried his 900 page manuscript of Pound For Pound to the hospital when he went in for emergency surgery,
"La boxe tenta gli scrittori. Ci vanno per il pathos e il dramma, ma poi passano ad altro. F.X. Toole era un'eccezione. Ha lavorato come allenatore e cucitagli. Ha sostenuto brocchi, purosangue, mezze tacche e contendenti di serie C. Non ha mai tirato su un campione o uno stallone da tv via cavo. Lui amava la boxe. E' arrivato da non scrittore e se ne è andato che era il miglior scrittore di boxe della sua era."
James Ellroy

Se un libro riceve un così sentito elogio da parte di Ellroy è difficil
Apr 20, 2015 Garrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First and foremost, thanks to David O'Flaherty for not simply recommending that I read this, but insisting upon it and giving me the book as a gift. It is muchl appreciated.

Excellent, a great American novel, and something to be revered as a classic in coming years. If they don't already, classes should teach this book alongside Steinbeck and do a compare/contrast sort of thing. Nostalgic for those with ties to boxing, but also deeply rooted in Texas and L.A. life, with a truly epic scope and int
This book is like an episode of Grey's Anatomy or any other soapy show that aspires to be something better but more often than not falls into cliche. It's cheesy and clunky at points, but you read it compulsively without really understanding the attraction. Perhaps it would have been better if FX Toole had lived to see it finished, as it is it's an imperfect work with some very memorable characters.
Mar 04, 2017 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this book down. The author is perhaps better known for the short story that became the film "Million Dollar Baby," and like that story, Pound for Pound is a story centered in the world of boxing. F. X. Toole created a fascinating tapestry of characters with interwoven lives. It's a great read, even if, like me, you are not a fan of fighting!
Oct 30, 2013 Yanfi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Je me suis battu pour aller au bout.

Voilà tout ce qui me vient au moment d'écrire deux ou trois mots sur ce livre. Il m'est tombé dessus tout auréolé de discours tapageurs. "Un livre sur la boxe écrit par un professionnel de la boxe, celui-là même qui a donné les grandes lignes de Million Dollar Baby".

Effectivement le livre a cette même veine, ses personnages rappellent ceux du film de Clint Eastwood, les techniques de boxe, celles du combat, celles de l'organisation des matchs... tout est préc
Bookmarks Magazine

With unexpected twists and even more unexpected emotional largesse, this unfinished novel stands toe-to-toe with some of the best writing on boxing. Pound for Pound reaches bookshelves four years after its author's death. Better known in the boxing world by his given name, Jerry Boyd, F. X. Toole came to the attention of most folks for his collection of short stories Rope Burns (2000). Published when Toole was in his 70s, a longer piece in the collection served as screenplay grist for Clint East

Sep 09, 2007 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a brilliant first and (sadly) last novel by F.X. Toole. In addition to having published a collection of short stories that included "Million Dollar Baby" he left this manuscript behind. I can't say that I would have picked this up on my own but I am really glad that I read it. It has all the elements of a good boxing novel.

Underdogs, shady promoters, and fixed fights have left gifted boxer Eduardo "Chicky" Garza y Duffy ready to give up on his Olympic dreams to return home to the family
Phu Truong
Dec 27, 2013 Phu Truong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nicely written book from somebody who's obviously familiar with the business of boxing. The book paints a depressing reality of boxing and its affiliation of violence, drug use, gambling, and shady characters. Cheating and back-stabbing seemed to run rampant. There're good guys, stand-up guys who are the main characters but for one reason or another (just like in the real world), these guys always get the short end of the stick.
Pound for Pound can certain inspire you from chapters to chapters, b
Apr 27, 2009 Chad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, boxing
This is not quite a finished work. You can't blame the author. He literally died trying to write it. Some respectful editors turned FX Toole's raw manuscript into a posthumous novel. So there are holes and rough edges, and Toole might have cut out some of the overlapping story lines had he lived long enough to read a finished draft. The result is less clean, less Hemingway than Tales from the Corner (aka Million Dollar Baby), but has some amazing scenes and stories of the boxing life that made i ...more
Bruce Collett
Oct 14, 2008 Bruce Collett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any adult looking for a redemption tale and boxing fans
This is a great story that thoroughly describes the life of amatuer and professional boxing. From some business acquaintances I was aware of the sordid world of boxing. F.X. Toole (who has a life story that is intriguing) gives the flavor, emotion, smell, and pain of the life. All of this revealed in a tale of heart-warming and very human interaction. The movie, "Million Dollar Baby" which was inspired by F.X. Toole's story portrays the noble and loving nature of people involved in a nefarious g ...more
Troy Vistro
Aug 14, 2007 Troy Vistro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. Jerry Boyd (F.X. Toole) had spent years in the Southern California boxing scene and it shows. His characters are spot on, it feels like I have met many of them in the dank boxing clubs in California. In fact, Dub Huntley, who loosely inspired the Morgan Freeman character in Million Dollar baby trains his light heavyweight contender in the boxing gym I go to. This book gives gives a sense of the tradition and noir drama that has drawn me to boxing instead of mma with it's drunke ...more
Dec 09, 2008 Steph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, I suppose this was fine. I don't want to speak ill of the dead, and since this was a posthumous publication I can't really fault the author for not having a hand in the final edit, but he had a really annoying habit of typing things both in Spanish and in English directly thereafter. For example: "Mi tiempo es mas precioso que este, My time is more precious than this." Maddening. I guess we all have our battles.
Gareth Price
Aug 12, 2011 Gareth Price rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this back on release in 2006 and it blew me away. It's a boxing story with legs & stamina, relentless & heartbreaking. FX Toole passed away before publication & the book has been criticized for being a bit rough round the edges but that didn't stop my enjoyment & it shouldn't stop yours. Almost a lost classic, already
Feb 23, 2007 cam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cool people
The writing in parts is just, completely lovely. If I explain the plot to you, it will sound so, so, cheesy and bad. It even has a loveable dog who helps save the protaganist from himself, à la Disney movie. But it's just really well done, and has such great dialogue and development that it doesn't feel forceably cheesed out. It's a nice cheesy. Like fondue!
Deborah Sheldon

There are flashes of brilliance here but some parts of the novel read like a first draft - because that's exactly what it is. The author died before he could finish it. Other people edited and prepared the manuscript for publication. Regardless, 'Pound for pound' is well worth reading for the wonderful characters, gritty writing style and pathos.
Jul 10, 2010 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sports
What makes this book is the love and knowledge of boxing the author shows on every page, elevating the story from the banal. If you do not like boxing than would give this book a miss. If you do it is a must read.
Sep 08, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you don't mind some swearing and graphic violence, this book is a great ready - it took turns thoughout and took me until 2/3 of the way through to figure out just where it was going to end up. Definitely will reread.
Kate S
Jul 10, 2016 Kate S rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, snow-leopard
Boxing books are not on the top of my interest level. This was an OK read though and certainly touched on more than just boxing. Loss and addiction played significant roles in the story. I thought the prose and characters could both use more polishing.
Mar 06, 2007 Ethan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006
Two intertwined boxing stories that begin in tragedy and end when a trainer who loses everything meets the fighter who may not take him to the top, but gets him out of his funk. Cheesy and melodramatic, but an okay story with great voice.
Sep 09, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book. I'm not a boxing fan at all, but this story was phenomenal.
Deb Stransky
Did not read -- hit wrong title.
Jan 20, 2017 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to see into a world I don't know - boxing - in all its aspects. Published posthumously, and sometimes you can tell.
Mar 11, 2008 Niceguyeddie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great tale about lives crisscrossed through the love the sport of boxing and how it affects their lives.
harsh narrative is very reminiscent of Steinbeck. great writing and characters.
Chris K
Oct 15, 2010 Chris K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, too bad Toole never got the chance to finish it. I'd be interested to see how it would have changed.
Denise Schon
Mar 26, 2015 Denise Schon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Matt McNabb
An interesting down-on-his-luck tale, with two characters who you know will cross paths, yet you are still reading briskly to find out how, when, where, and what will come of it.
Jul 13, 2008 Stan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed learning about the workings of the boxing world, and the authenticity of the boxing-related content cannot be denied. The writing often struck me as clumsy or tedious.
Alan Matsumoto
Jan 28, 2008 Alan Matsumoto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sports fans
"I truly enjoyed reading this book. Toole's attention to detail in the boxing world is amazing. This book would make a great movie just as his "Million Dollar Baby" was."
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F. X. Toole was the pseudonym of Jerry Boyd (1930–2002), a boxing trainer and author whose work inspired the award-winning film Million Dollar Baby. In 1988, Boyd began writing about boxing, using the pseudonym F. X. Toole to keep his hobby secret from his colleagues in the boxing world. One of his stories caught the eye of a literary agent, who sold Rope Burns, a collection of Boyd’s stories, in ...more
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