New Books by Bernard Fernandez and Thomas Hauser are Must-Haves for True Boxing Fans


By Arne K. Lang

No sport has attracted as many great writers as boxing and Philadelphia has produced more than its share. Seven writers with Philadelphia connections have won the Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism and another, Larry Merchant, was the 2008 recipient of the A.J. Liebling Award for outstanding writing by the Boxing Writers Association of America. (Best known as Jim Lampley’s sidekick on HBO boxing telecasts, Merchant was named the sports editor of the Philadelphia Daily News at age 26 in 1964 and spent a decade in the City of Brotherly Love before moving on to other places.)

The seven “Fleischer” recipients include frequent TSS contributor Bernard Fernandez. During his 43 years as a sportswriter, the last 28 with the Philadelphia Daily News, Fernandez produced a wealth of material – stories too good to stay buried in newspaper archives and too much of the good stuff to be shoe-horned into a single anthology. There are now four compilations, all of which bear the over-arching title “Championship Rounds,” and one could acquire the complete set for less than a c-note.

The most recent release is the meatiest. “Round 4” consists of 74 stories grouped into six sections spread across 305 pages. Chronologically they range from a 1983 piece in the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger to a 2021 piece for The Ring magazine. Most of the stories originally appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News although TSS is well-represented. There are also two stories that appeared in the New Orleans Advocate, one of which appears to have been fashioned on a day when Mr. Fernandez snuck away to New Orleans’ historic Fairgrounds racetrack during one of his many sojourns to the city where he was born and raised.

The piece in question, a 2015 story cobbled from a long conversation with the famous jockey Julie Krone, appears in the final section of the book, a collection of 13 non-boxing articles. It’s a reminder that although Fernandez will always be identified with boxing, he can’t be pigeon-holed as strictly a boxing writer. On occasion, he prowled other spheres of the sports cosmos and, on these assignments, his writing shined with the same sparkle as when he was working his regular beat.

There is some fresh material in the anthology as many of the entries commanded an epilogue. The book is available in paperback ($19.95) or hardback ($29.95) and can be ordered from Amazon (

The Universal Sport

Thomas Hauser needs no introduction. The former New York attorney authored 13 books, including the critically-acclaimed “The Black Lights: Inside the World of Professional Boxing,” before Simon & Schuster released the book with which he is most closely identified, “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times,” an oral history that would be nominated for a National Book Award while winning the 1991 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award in Great Britain.

Of late, the prolific Hauser has been hanging his hat mostly at the University of Arkansas Press which publishes books under 64 subject headings. Perusing the list, one finds the usual categories – American history, political science, religion, sociology, travel, etc. – plus Thomas Hauser. At this publishing house, Thomas is both an author and a subject unto himself. We would call him the “writer in residence” save for the fact that we suspect he has never set foot in the Ozarks.

A Thomas Hauser book about boxing from the University of Arkansas Press has become an annual tradition. The latest arrival, “The Universal Sport,” comes with a bonus. As indicated in the sub-title, this anthology covers two years of boxing (2021 and 2022) rather than the customary one. Chock full of insightful articles, it clocks in at a robust 436 pages. The UAP currently has a sale going on ( and one can steal the book for less than the $29.99 list price.

The last entry in Hauser’s book is a first-person account of Induction Weekend at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY, a chronicle that weaves seamlessly into reflections on the craft of writing. A four-part essay, it originally appeared in “The Ring,” but TSS is well-represented in the 60 stories that comprise this volume.

Thomas Hauser and Bernard Fernandez were both inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame with the Class of 2020. We are privileged to carry their bylines.