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The Big If: The Life and Death of Johnny Owen

4.69  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Johnny Owen, the Matchstick Man from Wales, and Lupe Pintor, El Indio from Mexico, met for less than 60 minutes on September 19, 1980. It was Owen's chance to become the world bantamweight champion, but the Matchstick Man was knocked out in the 12th round, spending 46 days in a coma before he died. The parallel lives of Owen and Pintor form the heart of this incredible sto ...more
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Macmillan UK
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Average rating 4.69  · 
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Andrew
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biog-autobiog, sport
I was ten when the ill fated fight took place that took johnny owen away but I can recall his name and the incident due to the fact it featured on the news a lot at the time plus opened or rather reopened the debate on safety within boxing.
That said you don't really read this book and think it's a sad nor wasteful tale in fact there's lots to celebrate here too...Johnnys apparent good nature and pride in his local are and just the fact that he was well on the way to achieving a dream and in many
...more
Nick
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Absolutely fantastic book. Would have given it 5 Stars but for the author over flowering the dialogue on occasions however the book moved me to tears so well done.
Joseph Hirsch
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
No one has to be told that boxing is a brutal sport, nor do they need it reiterated exactly how dangerous it can be. That said, sometimes it helps to remember the life and death of a particular warrior in the ring, since while the broad outlines in most boxing tales are the same, the details themselves vary from man to man. That Rick Broadbent is a great writer and demonstrates an uncommon insight into fight culture and psychology doesn't hurt, either. Aside from maybe Don McRae's "A Man's World ...more
Gareth Jones
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
On September 19 1980 Johnny Owen from Merthyr Tydfil in wales challenged Lupe pintor of Mexico for the bantamweight championship of the world in Las Vegas.
It would be the last fight Owen would ever have.
The book tells the story of the likeable young man who tried to look after his family and chase his dreams it also tells the story of Lupe pintor from a hard upbringing at the hands of an abusive father along his journey to that I’ll fated night.
It also tells the story of dick Owens Johnny’s fath
...more
Darren Gormley
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If not one of the best books about boxing. It's one of the best sport books you read ...more
Rob Goldie
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Like all of his books this is fantastic. It does real justice to Johnny Owen and his family.
Adrian
Apr 27, 2014 added it
The story of what led to the tragic bantamweight title fight in September 1980 in LA between Johnny Owen of Wales and Lupe Pintor of Mexico. Owen died after being KOed in the 12th round. I saw the fight the next day on tv. Author Broadbent expands this book to include the rough and tumble life of Pintor which shows how similar the two fighters were. He interviews trainers, promoters and the referee for the fight, Marty Denkin, which broadens the picture of what happened. Very nicely handled. It ...more
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Rick Broadbent is a sports writer for the Times, for whom he covers MotoGP, among other things. He has previously witten books on football, boxing and athletics as well as, most recently, collaborating with motorcycle legend Ron Haslam on his autobiography Rocket Men, published by Bantam Press in July 2008.

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