The sweet science book by Steve Canton is well worth the read

Cllay Moyle and Caleb Moyle for column



In May of 2014, I received a phone call from Steve Canton, a fellow member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO). He wanted to know if I’d be willing to review a new book he’d written titled ‘Steve Canton’s Tributes, Memories & Observations of the Sweet Science.’

A member of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame as a trainer and the vice president of that organization, Steve is a longtime world-class cutman and trainer so I eagerly agreed and anxiously looked forward to reading the stories he’d written.

Steve has a lifetime of memories and observations to share concerning his experiences with the sport of boxing. He told me that his longtime friend, and respected collector-historian, Hank Kaplan, had badgered him for years to write a book but that he’d always resisted.

Hank told Steve that his stories needed to be written and that many of the largely forgotten boxers’ lives and accomplishments needed to be shared. When Hank passed away, another good friend and IBRO member, Don Cogswell, picked up the torch and urged Steve to write the book and he finally relented.

The result is a piece of work that made for interesting and educational bedtime reading over the course of a couple of weeks. In fact, it was perfectly suited for me to read in that manner because I like to read for about 15 to 30 minutes before turning out the lights.

Most of what I read are biographies that contain chapters which are so long it’s difficult to get through one before I am ready to throw in the towel. But, Steve’s book is primarily filled with shorter remembrances and entertaining stories that one can digest in smaller bites.

And as the author explains in the book’s dedication, while the majority of well-known champions and contenders stories have been documented numerous times, there are countless other stories to be told concerning many lesser-known participants, the near-great fighters and/or contributors to the sport that most people have never heard about.

A prime example is the first story in the book about a welterweight fighter by the name of Rudell Stitch. Stitch, who compiled a professional record of 27-7 over the course of a four-year career, and defeated the likes of Yama Bahama, Chico Vejar, Gaspar Ortega, Ralph Dupas and Holly Mims, was on his way toward a world title shot before drowning in the Ohio River at age 27 while attempting to save the life of a friend.

I didn’t know a thing about Stitch prior to reading this book, but I have an appreciation for both the man and the fighter now. There are numerous stories like this throughout the book.

I especially enjoyed reading about Steve’s good friend Emanuel Steward and the special relationship they enjoyed between one another, as well as another about Eddie Booker. It’s hard to believe that Booker hasn’t been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

I also enjoyed reading a section near the end of the book that Steve titled ‘My Pet Peeves in Boxing’ and found myself nodding in agreement as I read through those pages.

The bottom line is that I found the book an enjoyable and educational read from a man uniquely qualified to write these stories. He’s done the subjects a real service by documenting their stories and I highly recommend it.

The book is comprised of 359 pages, hundreds of photographs and includes detailed fight records of many of the fighters that are profiled, as well as a foreword by Al Bernstein. It’s published in soft cover format and can be purchased via the author’s website for a total of $33.50, including postage by those residing in the U.S., or $50.00 including postage for those outside the U.S. If you would like to purchase a signed or inscribed copy you can also contact the author directly at