Magazine April 2, 2018, Issue

The Age of Fighters

Ingemar Johansson (left) and Floyd Patterson, 1961 (George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
The Boxing Kings: When American Heavyweights Ruled the Ring, by Paul Beston (Rowman & Littlefield, 374 pp., $36) A Ringside Affair: Boxing’s Last Golden Age, by James Lawton (Bloomsbury Sport, 304 pp., $28)

As the big fight approached last year, I was lying in bed, following the predictions on Twitter. My wife was sleeping already, and my infant son, too. In the very last ten minutes, my better judgment left me, and through a Showtime app on my tablet, I contributed my dollars to watch what was called “The Money Fight.” It was ten rounds of the two fighters’ trying to make customers like me feel as if they weren’t suckered into a gimmick.

Conor McGregor, the fun North Dublin trash-talker and mixed martial artist, turned in a slightly better-than-expected boxing performance against

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