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Standing Eight

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About the Author

Adam Pitluk is a contributor to TIME magazine and is the author of Standing Eight. He spent most of the 1990s living along various rivers in Missouri and now lives in Dallas, Texas.


Adult/High School-Chavez, a pro with more than 40 wins and fewer than 5 losses, may not be well known to any but the most avid boxing fans, but his story is compelling. After arriving illegally in the United States at age seven, he lived in Chicago and eventually fell prey to a gang. When he was 17, he began a prison term for robbing a store with friends. Upon release, he moved to Austin, TX, but was later deported to Mexico. Once he was able to return to America, further tragedy was yet to come. While Pitluk knows boxing and his subject, the narrative is never weighed down with lengthy fight descriptions or analysis. The book ends somewhat abruptly after a bout in September 2005. Though boxing fans will enjoy it most, this book will appeal to anyone interested in triumph over adversity.-Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Standing Eight is an uncomplicated read and offers an undemanding insight into the complications of one Mexican fighter's life in the US. And if the author's prose is often adulatory, even melodramatic, it is presumably because he has a subject matter that at times verges on the unbelievable." The Independent - Sports Book of the Week"

Journalist Pitluk, a contributor to Time, charts Chavez's discovery of boxing while in the gang neighborhoods of Chicago's West Side, an apprenticeship that was interrupted by his imprisonment for armed robbery and later deportation to Mexico as an illegal alien named Gabriel Sandoval. (Chavez's nickname, El Matador, celebrates the Chicago gym where he learned the sport.) Born in 1972 in the Mexican town where Pancho Villa was killed and buried, Chavez was brought to the U.S. at age seven, after his father swam across the Rio Grande. Every one of the fistic life's clich?s is here-starting with the inspiring immigrant parents and gruff but softhearted Irish trainer who sees the boy's promise-but that doesn't mean they're untrue. Pitluk's writing is stilted but serviceable, and he thoughtfully lays out the horrors of the Illinois prison system at the time Sandoval served his sentence. Still, the work is strictly for fans of El Matador who want to share the ride and relive the battles, especially the accounts of his tough losses to Floyd Mayweather and Erik Morales. Photos. Author tour. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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