A thrilling sport both worshipped and scorned for its violence, boxing has long called out to young men, dragging them down with what one observer calls its powerful undertow of testosterone. Chris Jones is the latest in a line of talents -- Norman Mailer, David Remnick, Jonathan Rendall -- to be drawn toward boxing's dark lights.
In Falling Hard: A Rookie's Year in Boxing, Jones recounts his first year at ringside. He gets dressed down by Don King, gambles his way through Vegas, finds the troubled guy who found Evander Holyfield's ear, goes to Muhammad Ali's birthday party, and witnesses Prince Naseem Hamed explode while Mike Tyson implodes. Like boxing itself, Falling Hard is equal measures of victory and defeat -- an intoxicating combination that leaves Jones down for the count more than once. He becomes addicted to boxing's special brand of pain, however, and what begins as a simple curiosity soon escalates to an unhealthy obsession.
Jones writes with the rhythm of the sport he covers: hard and fast, with the drama of fiction but the truth of journalism.
Chris Jones was named Canada's outstanding young journalist while working at the National Post. His first book, Falling Hard: A Rookie's Year in Boxing (Anansi), was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award. In 2005, he won the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing for the Esquire story that became the basis for his book Out of Orbit. Chris Jones lives in Ottawa and is a contributing editor of Esquire magazine.