This is a true story of sweat and sacrifice, of triumph over adversity. Professional boxer Bud Taylor became a star in the Golden Age of Sports, when Americans worshipped their sports heroes, and the popularity of boxing ranked second only to baseball. Known as "The Terre Haute Terror," Taylor hit hard and trained hard in passionate pursuit of the world bantamweight title. His obstacles were plenty: the physical, from injuries such as battered hands and broken noses; the emotional: the anguish of watching two men die from his blows; and the practical: a champion who eluded him, wanting no part of The Terror. His story is told from the ringsides, dressing rooms and gymnasiums of the boxer's travels. Meet the fight game's quirky characters, follow the money, marvel at the media frenzy and enjoy anecdotes about the people and places of the 1920s in a first-ever biography of Taylor.
The book is part biography and part history lesson of the times, written in the entertaining style of a former sportswriter who became an award-winning investigative news reporter. It is foremost a book about boxing, but it is also about the glitzy, glamorous 1920s, when Americans cherished their diversions-fashion, jazz, auto-mobiles, and above all, sports. This is a story of an underdog, who grew up poor but ideally equipped for his career with the tools of self-discipline and perseverance, who rode the backing of his beloved hometown supporters to the pinnacle of his profession. Along the way, Taylor's reputation for fighting through injuries and his never-quit attitude notched him a reputation as a great boxing ticket, and his show-stopping performances earned him a great fan following in such cities as Chicago and Los Angeles.
Taylor was a paradox in many ways:
A ferocious predator inside the ring but vulnerable and compassionate outside;
So self-focused on a career goal that he trained obsessively, yet generously giving of his time to community causes;
A model of fitness and frugality during his fight career who ultimately wound up obese and broke. Bud Taylor fought 166 pro fights in 11 years, an average of about one every three weeks.
His classic battles with Tony Canzoneri, Jimmy McLarnin, Pancho Villa and Pal Moore, among others, are recounted.
Like many success stories, Taylor surrounded himself with talent: first-rate trainers Jack Blackburn and Barney Furey; his loyal manager, Eddie Long; and the friendship and tutelage of talented boxers of the times-champions Tommy Gibbons, Sammy Mandell, and others.
A basher with either fist, Taylor's blows killed two men, ended a third man's career and left others unconscious for tense moments. He was left with the task of reconciling the deaths before he destroyed himself from self-guilt.
JOHN D. WRIGHT lives in Terre Haute, Indiana. He has a master's degree from Indiana State University and has worked on the staff of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star newspaper for more than 20 years.
As a longtime reporter, he covered news and sports in the Wabash Valley ranging from high-school basketball to murder trials. Among his awards is a state Society of Professional Journalists 1992 first-place award for investigative reporting; and a Hoosier State Press Association 1994 first place for deadline reporting after witnessing in person the execution of mass murderer John Wayne Gacy.Wright's interest in boxing dates from his childhood; his father, "Ren"Wright, boxed amateur bouts out of Sullivan, Indiana, from 1949 to 1951, and often talked about "Bud" Taylor. Wright also knows about one-on-one sports - he is a USPTA-certified tennis instructor and frequently a nationally ranked player in his age division.